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Filing a Complaint against Harassment

If an employee believes that he/she has been harassed because of belonging to a protected category, he/she has the full right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Harassment based on sex or race violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

However, before filing a complaint with the EEOC, the victim should ask the victimizing party to stop the unlawful behavior immediately. If it continues, the victim should approach a higher authority and put forward the complaint to them. If the situation persists with no change, the employee should file a complaint with the EEOC.

Charges may be filed in person, by mail, or by telephone…by contacting the nearest EEOC office (look in a telephone directory under “Federal Government: Health and Human Services, Dept. of”). In case an EEOC office is not located nearby, the employee can call toll-free 800-669-4000 or, if hearing- or speech-impaired, 800-669-6820 (TDD) for more information. To avoid delay if you need special assistance (e.g., an interpreter)in order to file a charge, call or write beforehand.

Time frame: Charges must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. However, in states or localities where there is an anti-discrimination law and an agency authorized to grant or seek relief, a charge must be presented to that agency instead of to the EEOC. Furthermore, in such jurisdictions, you may file charges with the EEOC within 300 days of the discriminatory act, or within 30 days after receiving notice that the state or local agency has terminated its processing of your charge—whichever is earlier. It is best to contact the EEOC promptly when discrimination is suspected. When charges or complaints are filed beyond these time frames, you may not be able to obtain any remedy.

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