What Do I Have to do Before Bringing a Discrimination or Harassment Lawsuit?
Requirements for Filing a Discrimination or Harassment Claim
If you want to sue an employer for discrimination, sexual harassment, or retaliation for reporting discrimination or harassment, you must first file a claim either in the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ("MCAD") or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). A civil court will not hear your case later unless you have done this, which is sometimes called "exhausting your administrative remedies."
The two most important things you need to know are: (i) you must bring this claim within 300 days of the events that trigger your claim (approximately ten months); and (ii) you can later to choose to either litigate the case at MCAD or EEOC, or withdraw it and file a civil lawsuit in state or federal court.
It is a good idea for many reasons to consult an attorney well before you reach the 300 day time limit. If you are close to the deadline, however, and do not yet have counsel, both the MCAD and EEOC have staff who can help you file the initial complaint without an attorney, to at least protect your rights while you find someone who can help you.
Learn more here about bringing a discrimination or harassment claim.
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