EEOC Seal

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



What You Can Expect After You File a Charge

Note: Federal employees and applicants for federal employment have a different complaint process.

Access Your Charge Information through the EEOC Public Portal

You can access your charge through the EEOC Public Portal once you have registered. If you submitted an online inquiry, you're already registered and can log in to the EEOC Public Portal as a "Returning User." If you have a charge that was filed after January 1, 2016, that is in investigation and you haven't registered in the EEOC Public Portal, you can register by:

  1. Going to https://publicportal.eeoc.gov/portal/
  2. Select My EEOC Cases.
  3. Click Sign-Up Now under New Users.
    • Enter your contact information and create a password.
    • When you create your account, you'll be automatically logged into the Public Portal.
  4. Once you're logged-in, you'll be taken directly to your charge.

EEOC's Public Portal allows you to:

  • Update your contact information - It's important that your contact information is current and accurate.
  • Upload a letter of representation from your attorney if you have one
  • Upload documents supporting your charge
  • Request the Respondent's Position Statement if it submits one, and upload your response
  • Check the status of your charge

Within 10 days of the filing date of your charge, we will send a notice of the charge to the employer. In some cases, we will ask both you and the employer to take part in our mediation program.  If the laws the EEOC enforces do not apply to your claims or if your charge is untimely, or we decide that we probably will not be able to determine if the law was violated, we will close the investigation of your charge and notify you.

Mediation

If you and the employer agree to mediation, a mediator will try to help you both reach a voluntary settlement. Mediation allows you and the employer to talk about your concerns. Mediators don't decide who is right or wrong, but they are very good at suggesting ways to solve problems and disagreements.

Investigation

If the charge is not sent to mediation, or if mediation doesn't resolve the charge, we usually ask the employer to give us a written answer to your charge (called "Respondent's Position Statement"). You may request the Respondent's Position Statement to review and provide EEOC with your response to it in the EEOC Public Portal. We ask that you provide a response within 20 days from the date you receive it. For more information, see EEOC Procedures for Respondent Position Statements. We may also ask the employer to answer questions we have about the claims in your charge.

How we investigate a charge depends on its facts and the kinds of information we need to gather. In some instances, we visit the employer to hold interviews and gather documents. In other instances, we interview witnesses and ask for documents. After we finish our investigation, we will let you and the employer know the result.

How long the investigation takes depends on many factors, including the amount of information that needs to be gathered and analyzed. On average, we take approximately 10 months to investigate a charge. We are often able to settle a charge faster through mediation (usually in less than 3 months). You can check the status of your charge by using EEOC's Online Charge Status System.

Adding to Your Charge

If new events take place after you file your charge that you believe are discriminatory, we can add these new events to your charge and investigate them. This is called "amending" a charge. In some cases, we may decide it is better for you to file a new charge of discrimination. If new events are added to your charge or a new charge is filed, we will send the new or amended charge to the employer and investigate the new events along with the rest. Keep in mind that the strict deadlines for filing a charge also apply when you want to amend a charge. The fact that you filed an earlier charge may not extend the deadline. For this reason, you should contact your investigator immediately if you think other discriminatory events have taken place.

Subpoena

If an employer refuses to cooperate with an EEOC investigation, EEOC can issue an administrative subpoena to obtain documents, testimony or gain access to facilities.

Requesting a Notice of Right to Sue

You may request a Notice of Right to Sue in the EEOC Public Portal once the position statement has been received. Once we receive the position statement, a box will be available for you click to indicate your desire to see a copy of the position statement.

If you filed your charge under Title VII (discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin), or under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) based on disability, you must have a Notice of Right to Sue from EEOC before you can file a lawsuit in federal court. Generally, you must allow the EEOC 180 days to resolve your charge. Although, in some cases, the EEOC may agree to issue a Notice of Right to Sue before the 180 days.

If you filed your charge under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (discrimination based on age 40 and above), you do not need a Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC. You may file a lawsuit in federal court 60 days after your charge was filed with the EEOC.

If you filed your charge under the Equal Pay Act (wage discrimination based on sex), you do not need a Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC. You may file a lawsuit in federal court within two years from the day you received the last discriminatory paycheck.

Possible Action After Investigation Completed

If we aren't able to determine that the law was violated, we will send you a Notice of Right to Sue. This notice gives you permission to file a lawsuit in court. If we determine the law may have been violated, we will try to reach a voluntary settlement with the employer. If we cannot reach a settlement, your case will be referred to our legal staff (or the Department of Justice in certain cases), who will decide whether the agency should file a lawsuit. If we decide not to file a lawsuit, we will give you a Notice of Right to Sue.