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How to File an IBS Discrimination Claim

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Updated March 22, 2012

Do you believe that you have been discriminated against by an employer due to your IBS? It may be reassuring to learn that you have the right to file a discrimination claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Such a claim may be filed against an employer, a labor union, or an employment agency. Claims of discrimination due to a disability can be made for both discrimination during the process of applying for a job, as well as discrimination during existing employment.

Before You File a Complaint:

Keep good written records of dates, times, and details of any incidents or practices that you feel constitute discrimination due to your IBS. Paper records will help to substantiate your claim, and will carry more weight in an investigation than your personal recall.

Don't be afraid to file a complaint if you truly believe that your rights have been violated. Employers are forbidden by law to retaliate against you due to a discrimination claim.

How Do I File a Complaint?:

You will need to contact the EEOC so as to file a claim of employment disability discrimination. This can be done at any EEOC field office. A listing of offices can be found by clicking here or by calling 1-(800)-669-4000 (TTY: 1-(800)-669-6820). In some cases, the EEOC may refer you to a local or State agency who has jurisdiction over your case.

When Must the Claim Be Filed?:

You must file your complaint 180 days (approximately six months) from the date that you feel you were discriminated against. If you initiate a file with a State or local agency first, you are then allowed up to 300 days to file your complaint with the EEOC, or 30 days after the local agency has completed their processing of your claim. In general, it is better to file sooner as opposed to later.

What Happens After I File a Claim?:

Within ten days of filing a claim, your employer will be notified. At that point, it is likely that mediation will be recommended. In the process of medation, you and your employer will meet with a mediator to try to resolve your complaint.

If mediation is not indicated, or is not successful, your claim will be sent for investigation. Over the course of investigation, information will be gathered through interviews and through the gathering or pertinent documentation. The EEOC has the power to subpoena information if your employer is not cooperating with the investigation.

If a violation is found, the EEOC will work on your behalf to try to reach a settlement with your employer.

Am I Entitled to Sue?:

If a voluntary settlement cannot be reached with your employer, the EEOC will refer your case to their own legal department, or in some cases, the U.S. Department of Justice, to evaluate whether or not a lawsuit should be initiated. If they believe that a lawsuit is warranted, these agencies will handle the litigation.

Should the EEOC decline to pursue litigation, you will be given a "Notice-of-Right-to-Sue", at which point you could pursue your own personal lawsuit. In order to file a lawsuit in federal court, you must have already made a claim with the EEOC and received the "right-to-sue" notice.

Note: Discrimination claims against federal agencies follow a different process. See Overview Of Federal Sector EEO Complaint Process

Sources:

A Guide to Disability Rights Laws Accessed January 3, 2011.

"Filing a Charge" The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Accessed January 12,2011.

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