Employment Discrimination and Filing a Charge
Each state has a protection and advocacy agency that provides legal and advocacy services for people who are deaf or have other disabilities. In Texas, the official protection and advocacy agency is Disability Rights Texas. While some of this information is the same everywhere in the U.S., some information may be specific to Texas.
If you live in Texas, we may be able to help you. If you do not live in Texas, go to your state’s protection and advocacy agency to find out if they can help. The list of state protection and advocacy agencies can be found at www.ndrn.org.
Please be aware this is information only, not legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult one of our attorneys or another attorney.
Discrimination in the workplace because you are deaf is often illegal. Now we will explain how you can file a complaint or a “charge” of employment discrimination.
Deadlines for filing a complaint must be strictly followed. If you cannot file a complaint on time, you may lose the chance to move forward. It is important to contact us quickly if want our help.
What Is Employment Disability Discrimination?
Here are some examples:
- hearing a coworker gets a promotion instead of you even though you are more qualified for the job and satisfy all other requirements;
- your employer does not provide you with the sign language interpreter you need in order to be able to communicate during an important work meeting even though you requested one in advance;
- your boss or coworkers repeatedly harass or make fun of you because you are deaf even though you have talked to them or their supervisors to ask them to stop this inappropriate behavior;
- you are not hired for a job because the company did not want to deal with your deafness;
- you filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and when your boss found out, you got suspended from your job; or
- management changed at your company and your new boss fired you because you are deaf.
If you want to talk to someone at our agency to find out if what happened to you at work is illegal discrimination, please contact us at (800) 252-9108. [This is Voice and TTY.]
What to Do If You Have Experienced Discrimination
First, try to talk to your employer about the problem and a possible solution. If this does not work, then contact us or another lawyer to help you file a complaint with the proper federal or state agency.
The federal agency is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The state agency is the Texas Workforce Commission’s Civil Rights Division. You must file with either one of these agencies before you can sue your employer. If you file yourself or if you have an attorney representing you, there is no cost for filing. However, if you have your own private attorney, it will be your responsibility to pay for the attorney.
There are strict deadlines for filing a charge. If you are discriminated against, in some cases you may have to file within 180 days after the first incident. If you work for the federal government, you might have to file within 45 days of the first incident.
The complaint must be in writing and can be written by you or an attorney, or a person at the EEOC office can help.
You must sign the complaint under oath with a notary.
You should keep a copy of your complaint.
How to File a Charge
Contact EEOC at www.eeoc.gov.
What Happens When you File with the EEOC or the State Agency?
After you file with the EEOC, your complaint will go to an EEOC worker.
The EEOC worker might:
- investigate to get more information about what happened and contact your
employer to fix the problem if they believe your employer broke the law. And, will give you a “Right to Sue” letter.
- Will investigate to get more information and not contact your employer. And give
you a “Right to Sue” letter.
- Will not investigate but will give you a “Right to Sue” letter.
Once you receive the “Right to Sue” letter you should talk to an attorney immediately.