If you believe that you were unlawfully discriminated against at work, you can file a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Here are the three first steps to take to file an EEOC complaint in Pennsylvania:
Step 1: Watch the Clock
You typically have 180 days to file a charge with the EEOC. Pennsylvania extends this deadline to:
- 300 days, against employers with 15 or more employees, for claims based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and/or disability.
- 300 days, against employers with 20 or more employees, for claims based on age.
All others must meet the 180-day deadline.
Step 2: Complete an Intake Questionnaire
Get screened by an EEOC representative or use the EEOC's online assessment to determine whether your employment experiences are covered by the laws EEOC enforces.
Once completed, print it out and either bring or mail it to the selected EEOC field office to begin the process of filing a charge.
Step 3: Prepare for Filing a Charge
Be prepared to provide the EEOC representative with the following information:
- Your contact information;
- The contact information of the employer (or employment agency or union) you want to file your charge against;
- The number of employees employed there (if known);
- A short description of the events you believe were discriminatory (for example, you were fired, demoted, harassed);
- Any supporting documentation (for example, performance evaluations, emails, and contact information of people who know what happened);
- When the events took place;
- Why you believe you were discriminated against (for example, your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information);
- Whether you've filed the same or similar charge with a state or local fair employment practice agency; and
- The contact information of any witnesses.
Step 4: File a Charge in Person or via Mail
Allow one to two hours for an office visit and notify the EEOC office ahead of time if you need special assistance, such as an interpreter.
Alternatively, you can also mail a letter with the above information. But don't forget to sign it! If you don't, the EEOC can't investigate it.
Office Contact Information
- 801 Market Street, Suite 1300 Philadelphia, PA 19107-3127
- Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
- Walk-in hours: 8:30 to 3:30 each day.
- Phone: 1-800-669-4000/1-866-408-8075
- Free Legal Aid in Philadelphia (FindLaw's State Laws)
- Filing an EEOC Complaint: The Basics (FindLaw's Philadelphia Employment Law News)
- EEOC: Top Five Employment Claims Sued Over in Pennsylvania (FindLaw's Philadelphia Employment News)
- Find a Philadelphia Employment Discrimination Lawyer (FindLaw)