Many individuals are reluctant to file a complaint with the EEOC or even their employer as they are worried about things like retaliation.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that enforces civil rights, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace as it is a form of discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to employers with 15 or more employees and therefore, the EEOC generally only investigates complaints that comply with the criteria.
How many sexual harassment complaints does the EEOC receive on average?
In 2020, the year for which the most recent data is available, the EEOC received roughly 6,587 sexual harassment claims, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). This number does not include complaints filed with other agencies or those that are filed with employers. Therefore, the number is presumed to be much higher.
In 2019, the EEOC received 7,514 complaints and 7,609 the year prior. Once the EEOC receives a complaint stemming from a sexual harassment incident, an investigation will likely follow. In order to recognize an employer, coworker, or another staff member for sexual harassment, you’ll need to file what is called a charge of discrimination.
Filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC for sexual harassment
Most people are given 180 days to file a charge of discrimination, though the deadline is extended to 300 days “if your state or local agency enforces a state or local law that prohibits employment discrimination on the same basis,” according to the EEOC.
Seal of the EEOC; image courtesy of U.S. Government via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.orgThe EEOC also states that the complaint process differs for federal employees and applicants for federal jobs. Once you submit an inquiry online, an intake interview will then be scheduled. If the agency believes you have a valid reasoning for filing a complaint, an investigation will ensue as explained above.
Should I file a sexual harassment complaint with the EEOC first?
If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment, there are a few ways you can address the issue. While some employees try and resolve the matter privately by keeping it within the walls of their place of employment, others find they aren’t able to get their issue settled this way.
If you’re uncomfortable with reporting the sexual harassment to someone at work or feel your human resources (HR) department isn’t taking your matter seriously, then the EEOC or even a Georgia sexual harassment law firm might be the next place to turn to.
Need more information on your legal rights?
Many individuals are reluctant to file a complaint with the EEOC or even their employer as they are worried about things like retaliation. If you’d like to discuss your questions and concerns with someone outside of your place of employment, USAttorneys.com can get you connected with a Georgia sexual harassment lawyer who can help.
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