Worker rights violations are serious infringements that deserve legal action. Workplace discrimination or harassment can cost an employee personal and financial loss, including lost income and damage to reputation. If you believe you have grounds to file a workplace violation in Florida, discuss your case with an attorney who can explain the implications and exceptions to the state’s time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing. Knowing your deadline is the first step toward obtaining a settlement or verdict for your damages.
Floridian workers have two main options when filing workplace violation claims: filing with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The first is a state agency while the second is federal. Both participate in a work-sharing agreement, meaning they work together to process violation claims. You do not need to file with both since they communicate with one another. If you’d like to cross-file your claim with both agencies, simply say so in your claim.
Both types of claims come with strict deadlines by which employees absolutely must file to reserve the right to seek damage recovery. Missing your deadline to file can impede your ability to qualify for restitution. Your deadline will vary depending on whether you wish to file with the FCHR or the EEOC. Check with a lawyer to understand whether your employer has violated a state or federal code of conduct. File with the appropriate agency accordingly. Some attorneys suggest filing with the EEOC if you aren’t sure which to choose.
Pinpoint the exact date the workplace discrimination or harassment occurred, if possible. Then, calculate your deadline based on the agency you wish to file with. You have one year from the date of the incident in question to file a claim with the FCHR. You have slightly less time to file with the EEOC. The EEOC will not take a claim filed later than 300 days from the date of the incident. Do not risk the future of your case by waiting until the end of your deadline to file. File as soon as possible to be safe.
After you submit your violation claim with the FCHR and/or the EEOC, you will receive a copy of your claim with a unique claim (or “charge”) number. The EEOC claims process will then move to an investigation phase. The EEOC will send a notice to your employer informing it of the charge within 10 days of filing.
The EEOC may then choose to either engage in a mediation program between you and your employer to try to resolve the issue or dismiss the claim. The EEOC may dismiss your claim if you miss a deadline, the agency does not have jurisdiction over the matter, or if an investigation shows no evidence of misconduct. You might then have the opportunity to file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer instead.
Once you file a claim with the FCHR, the agency will review your complaint and may take steps to get more information about the situation. The FCHR will either dismiss your case if there isn’t enough information, refer it to the EEOC, or proceed with an investigation of your workplace and employer. Like the EEOC, the FCHR will first attempt mediation. If this is not successful, the FCHR will move to conciliation, at which point you will have the option to take civil action.
If mediation through the FCHR and/or the EEOC does not successfully resolve your workplace violation claim and you’re facing an employment law trial, hire an attorney. A lawyer can stand by your side during litigation, help you present evidence of discrimination or harassment, and get the results you want for your case. A lawyer can also help you with the pre-trial claims processes in Florida, including meeting the deadline for your initial agency claim.
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