Federal Employees: Please see our fact sheet on Federal Sector Equal Employment Opportunity Complaint Processing.
If you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer, labor union or employment agency when applying for a job or while on the job because of your race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, or believe that you have been discriminated against because of opposing a prohibited practice or participating in an equal employment opportunity matter, you may file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Charges may be filed in person, by mail or by telephone by contacting the nearest EEOC office. If there is not an EEOC office in the immediate area, call toll free 800-669-4000 or 800-669-6820 (TDD) for more information. To avoid delay, call or write beforehand if you need special assistance, such as an interpreter, to file a charge.
There are strict time frames in which charges of employment discrimination must be filed. To preserve the ability of EEOC to act on your behalf and to protect your right to file a private lawsuit, should you ultimately need to, adhere to the following guidelines when filing a charge.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) charges must be filed with EEOC within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. However, in states or localities where there is an antidiscrimination law and an agency authorized to grant or seek relief, a charge must be presented to that state or local agency. Furthermore, in such jurisdictions, you may file charges with EEOC within 300 days of the discriminatory act, or 30 days after receiving notice that the state or local agency has terminated its processing of the charge, whichever is earlier. It is best to contact EEOC promptly when discrimination is suspected. When charges or complaints are filed beyond these time frames, you may not be able to obtain any remedy.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - The time requirements for filing a charge are the same as those for Title VII charges.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) - The time requirements for filing a charge are the same as those for Title VII and the ADA.
Equal Pay Act (EPA) - Individuals are not required to file an EPA charge with EEOC before filing a private lawsuit. However, charges may be filed with EEOC and some cases of wage discrimination also may be violations of Title VII. If an EPA charge is filed with EEOC, the procedure for filing is the same as for charges brought under Title VII. However, the time limits for filing in court are different under the EPA, thus, it is advisable to file a charge as soon as you become aware the EPA may have been violated.
For more detailed information, please contact the EEOC office nearest to you.
This page was last modified on June 10, 1997.