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Filing An EEOC Complaint in Tennessee

For most federal discrimination and harassment claims, your first step in fighting back is filing an EEOC complaint.

Our Nashville EEOC lawyers represent employees who have been wrongfully discharged or retaliated against by their employers.

You can contact us at the number above or online for a free online case review. We accept many cases on a contingency fee basis, so you do not owe any legal fees unless we win. Keep in mind that you may have 300 days or less to file and preserve your claims, so do not wait to act.

The EEOC Process in Tennessee

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC) have a work-sharing agreement in which the two agencies cooperate and coordinate efforts to enforce anti-discrimination laws. This is good news for workers because filing your complaint with one agency automatically files it with the other. But you should not wait to file your complaint.

For many claims in Tennessee you have as little as 300 days to file a complaint with the EEOC (mandatory) or 180 days to file with the THRC (optional, but claims are subject to a one-year filing deadline). The applicable laws and statute of limitations depend on your unique circumstances and should be discussed with an experienced employment lawyer.

Before you file a charge on your own, read the Top 5 Reasons to Have an Attorney File Your EEOC Complaint. What you do not know can legally harm you.

Filing an EEOC complaint (aka a “Charge of Discrimination”) is a mandatory prerequisite to filing a lawsuit under the following federal laws:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (including The Pregnancy Discrimination Act)
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
  • Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

The Fair Labor Standards Act, The Family and Medical Leave Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and several other federal laws are not enforced by the EEOC, meaning your lawyer can immediately take your case to court. Although the EEOC enforces the Equal Pay Act of 1963, filing a charge is optional. Filing a charge is also optional under the Tennessee Human Rights Act, but you must file your lawsuit in court within the one year statute of limitation.

After investigating your charge, the EEOC will likely issue what is informally known as a Right to Sue letter. You then have 90 days to file your lawsuit or you waive your right to sue. If the exact date of your receipt of the letter is not known, then you should speak with an experienced Nashville EEOC attorney about your specific deadline because it may be shorter based on your particular circumstances.

Where Do I File My Discrimination Complaint?

Where to file a complaint depends on the size of the employer.

i. Less Than 8 Employees

Unfortunately, if your workplace has less than 8 employees, then you have somewhat limited legal options. You should contact a Tennessee employment lawyer to determine if any state laws or retaliation claims apply to your particular circumstances.

ii. 8-14 Employees

The Tennessee Human Rights Commission enforces Tennessee’s anti-discrimination statute called the Tennessee Human Rights Act. It protects employees from discrimination based on protected characteristics such as age, race, and sex for employers with between 8-14 employees.

If your workplace has between 8 and 14 employees, you may file a complaint with the THRC (unless your attorney decides to go directly to court). The THRC complaint process is optional under state law, but you must file your claims within the one-year statute of limitation.

iii. 15 or More Employees

If your workplace has 15 or more employees, filing with the EEOC is your best bet. The EEOC only enforces federal law that covers employers with 15 or more employees. As stated above, the EEOC charge process is mandatory under several federal anti-discrimination laws.

Contact Our EEOC Lawyers Today

Your employer has a small army of lawyers working to deny you your day in court. Level the playing field by hiring a team of experienced employment lawyers.

If you believe your legal rights have been violated and want to pursue a charge, contact our Nashville-based EEOC lawyers at the number above or online.

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