If you have been subjected to racial bias in your workplace, your best option is to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Your first step should be to call the EEOC’s general number.  While you cannot file a claim over the phone, the EEOC’s counselors will give you general advice as to whether or not you have a valid claim. You will then be referred to your local EEOC field office, where you can file your claim. You generally only have 180 days from the date of the incident of racial bias to file with the EEOC.

What Happens After I File my Claim with the EEOC?

Once your claim is filed, an EEOC representative will then discuss with you your claim’s strengths and weaknesses. The decision on whether or not to proceed with the claim is up to you. If you decide to continue, the EEOC will continue its investigation.

Generally, the EEOC will order your employer to stop bias acting in a racial discriminatory manner, and will start mediations between you and your employer. This mediation approach is generally successful.

Can I File a Lawsuit against my Employer?

If mediation is unsuccessful and the EEOC finds that there was racial discrimination, the next step to consider is a lawsuit. The EEOC might possibly file a racial bias lawsuit against your employer on your behalf if they deem that your case has an extremely good chance of succeeding. Most likely, the EEOC will close its investigations and give you a "Notice of Right to Sue," which will allow you to file a lawsuit against your employer within 90 days. You must file in 90 days if you want to sue your employer, if you do not the court will most likely dismiss your claim for failing to sue within the time limit.

If the EEOC instead finds that there was no racial bias, your claim will be dismissed. You have the right to appeal this decision, but you need to either show additional evidence of discrimination, or be able to explain why the EEOC’s decision is flawed.

Do I Need an Attorney?

It is important to consult with a lawyer if you decide to file a lawsuit. An experienced employment lawyer will be able to walk you through the filing process and will be able to advise of all your options.