A precursor to filing a discrimination case in court is the state administrative agency to accept charges of discrimination. But Alabama does not have this regulatory agency, unlike a majority of other states. To be able to file a discrimination claim in Alabama, the petitioner will need to file a sworn charge of discrimination with their local EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) office.
However, certain discrimination cases do not warrant the filing of a discrimination charge. For instance, the filing of an EEOC charge is not necessary when filing a claim under the Alabama age discrimination law. It can be filed in court directly.
What is the Time Limit to File a Claim?
It is essential to contact the EEOC to file a claim as soon as possible. Employment discrimination claims have stringent time limits within which the charge must be filed. You must reach out to your local EEOC branch office within 180 days of the act of discrimination against you to file a sworn charge of discrimination.
At times, if the discriminatory act is in a continuum, acts beyond 180 days may be included as long as one of those acts took place within 180 days. It is not recommended to wait to file charges until the eleventh hour. You may lose a claim due to your inability to file within 180 days.
Before filing your claim, it is a good idea to contact an experienced legal professional. The EEOC does help you file a charge of discrimination, but this does not imply that it will help you meet all legal requirements. The EEOC staff usually does not comprise attorneys, and they will likely not be able to cover all the legal intricacies that your claim may involve.
Besides, crucial legal strategy decisions usually need to be made before filing a charge for discrimination. While it is not necessary to work with an attorney to file a claim with the Commission, it certainly is something to consider.
For filing a case under the Alabama age discrimination law, you must file a claim within a period of 180 days of the act of discrimination. Furthermore, if you have filed an EEOC claim, you need to file a suit within 90 days of receiving a notice of your right to file a claim from the Commission.
How can My Lawyer or I Pursue a Claim in an Alabama Court?
If the Commission is unable to resolve your case and you choose to pursue the issue, you will need to file a claim in court. Besides an age discrimination law, Alabama does not have state laws on anti-discrimination. Therefore, many lawyers in the state decide to file employment discrimination claims in federal court based on federal law.
However, a lawsuit filed in state court under federal law may be transferred or “removed” to federal court by the defendant as it involves a federal statute, such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act or Title VII.
In general, the EEOC must initially issue a document called “Notice of Right to Sue” (Form 161) or “Dismissal and Notice of Rights” before you can file your claim in court. After you receive the notice, a case must be filed in state or federal court within a period of 90 days of the receipt. When it comes to identifying a skilled attorney and filing a lawsuit, 90 days is a short period. It is best to consult a lawyer prior to receiving the notice.
In case your lawsuit is not filed by this 90-day deadline (also known as a “statute of limitations”), then you may be unable to pursue a discrimination claim. Upon receiving an EEOC letter, it is best to have a knowledgeable attorney by your side as soon as possible.
In certain types of employment discrimination matters, you can file in court without reporting to the Commission. “Exhaustion” of your administrative remedy is the term given to the process of filing with the EEOC.
For certain discrimination charges, including claims filed under Alabama age discrimination, exhaustion is not necessary. An EEOC charge is not required in such cases, but the plaintiff should still file in court before their statutes of limitations expire.
Cases filed under the Alabama age discrimination law must be filed within a period of 180 days of the discriminatory act, or in case an EEOC charge is filed, a suit should be filed within 90 days of receiving the notice of right to sue from the EEOC.
In the case of charges of discrimination that do not necessitate exhaustion, a claim must typically be filed with a span of two to four years. The “statutes of limitation” is a complex tenet of law. You should contact an experienced lawyer with deep insights into employment law prior to arriving at any assumptions regarding your deadlines.
Legal Advice from a Dedicated Employment Law Attorney
If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination or retaliation at the workplace, consult a skilled employment lawyer at the law offices of Kira Fonteneau. For a no-charge consultation, message us online or call us today at (205) 564-9005.