| Read Time: 3 minutes | Federal EEOC

Understanding EEOC Class Action Complaints

An EEOC class action complaint is a special kind of complaint brought collectively by a group of people against one entity. When most people think of class action complaint, they think of lawsuits against large pharmaceutical corporations, petroleum companies, tobacco producers, vehicle manufacturers, and financial companies. However, federal employees can bring a class action lawsuit against the federal government as well. There are many reasons that injured federal employees might want to start a federal class action complaint, but the most common relates to employment discrimination. Take a moment to learn more about the fundamentals of federal class action lawsuits. Afterward, consider consulting an EEOC class action attorney.  The Basics of EEOC Class Action Lawsuits In traditional lawsuits, each party has to represent itself. This means that each plaintiff has to be present in court, hire an attorney, and participate in all aspects of litigation. Few federal employees have the time or money to go through all of this on their own. With class actions, multiple plaintiffs can bring a lawsuit against one defendant as a group. The term for the group of people initiating the class action is, as you might imagine, a class. There are multiple advantages for plaintiffs who decide to sue the federal government as a class. For one, the court can resolve all of the plaintiffs’ claims against the federal government at one time, saving them time. Second, the plaintiffs can share the costs of litigation rather than having to shoulder all of the costs on their own. Third, only a few class members need to actively participate in the federal class action lawsuit. The others simply wait for the lawsuit to resolve. If the suit is successful, all plaintiffs receive a share of the final award. Requirements for Initiating EEOC Class Action Lawsuits Although there are advantages to bringing an EEO complaint as a class action lawsuit, but there are unique requirements as well. To become a class agent, the employee must consult with an EEO counselor within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory incident and request a class certification. A complainant may move for class certification at any reasonable point in the process where it becomes apparent that there are class implications to the claim raised in an individual complaint. If a complainant moves for class certification after completing counseling, no further counseling is required and an EEOC AJ makes a determination on the class certification. Then a formal class complaint must be signed by the class agent and filed within the regular 15-day timeframe, and must state the policy or practice adversely affecting the class as well as the specific action or matter affecting the class agent.   In order to be certified as a class complaint, the complaint must meet the requirements of numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation. These requirements can be difficult to establish, and there are often other requirements that a class must demonstrate. Truth be told, class action lawsuits are quite difficult to navigate. Therefore, your best choice is to consider hiring a federal class action lawsuit attorney to represent you effectively. Let Us Represent You in a Federal Class Action Lawsuit If you are considering filing an EEOC class action complaint against your federal agency, then it is essential you find the right attorney. Many attorneys do not have the specialized experience needed to represent you in a class action lawsuit. Others may not have the best client reviews. Here at the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing, PLLC, we genuinely care about helping our clients defend their rights. We are also passionate that they obtain the compensation that they rightfully deserve. On top of that, we have many years of experience assisting federal employees with all kinds of employment issues.  Together, we can work to ensure that your federal class action lawsuit has the best chance of success. Don’t wait. Schedule a free consultation with us right away. 

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Federal EEOC

An EEOC Lawyer Explains the Process of Filing an EEO Complaint of Discrimination

Discrimination in the federal workplace is an unfortunate reality of employment. Yet discrimination based on personal characteristics like sex, gender, race, color, age, and religion is against the law. Illegal discrimination encompasses actions that affect all aspects of federal employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, benefits, workplace treatment, and discipline.  If you’ve been the victim of unlawful discrimination as the result of management’s actions or inactions, you have the right to file a complaint with your agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office.  Read on to learn about the process of filing a charge of discrimination from an EEOC attorney who frequently takes on discrimination cases.    Initial Research  A good first step as a federal employee filing an EEO complaint of discrimination is to search for “federal employee EEO attorney” or similar online. Select a labor lawyer who is familiar with federal-sector EEO discrimination law and knows how to practice in front of the EEOC. Most employment attorneys do not handle federal-sector EEO complaints. It often makes sense to look for attorneys in your area. However, modern technology and federal employment make it easy to choose attorneys who are based in other states. In fact, there are so few attorneys focusing in this small niche that odds are you would not find one locally. Meeting with an EEOC Attorney Next comes the initial consultation. During this meeting, the EEO attorney will ask questions about your case. The EEO lawyer will also discuss their fees and what you might stand to gain if you are successful in a lawsuit. Settlement is a big topic of conversation as well, to determine what your ideal remedies may be.  The Financial Picture The initial consultation should include a discussion of your potential damages. The EEOC awards several forms of damages to successful plaintiffs. One type is called compensatory damages. An EEOC administrative judge awards compensatory damages in an attempt to make a plaintiff who has faced discrimination whole. For example, the EEOC recently awarded $165,000 in compensatory damages to a United States Postal Service (USPS) employee who dealt with illegal discrimination. The USPS was also recently involved in an EEOC-approved settlement with another one of their employees.  In especially egregious cases of discrimination, the EEOC may award even higher damages. As you can imagine, these damages serve to dissuade an agency from continuing their discriminatory behavior, and may even lead to the removal or disciplining of responsible management officials (RMOs).   What Happens After You File a Charge of Discrimination  After you have retained an attorney and contacted your agency’s EEO office, the EEO office will initiate the informal EEO complaint stage to try to resolve the case at the lowest level. If unsuccessful, you can then go on to file a formal complaint with your agency. This formal complaint includes an investigation into the claims in the complaint, and involves the giving of sworn testimony to an investigator. At the end of this formal stage, you will get a Report of Investigation (ROI) and a notice of a right to request an EEOC hearing or Final Agency Decision (FAD). Once you file for a hearing, the case will move out of your agency and into the jurisdiction of the EEOC and an administrative judge (AJ). The AJ will, among other things, set a date for a hearing. Sometimes, your attorney can draft a special pleading which may result in winning your case without even going to a hearing. At other times, your attorney will negotiate a settlement with your employer to resolve the case.  If neither of these outcomes occurs, your case will go to a hearing. There, an EEOC administrative judge will hear evidence from you and your employer to decide whether you suffered discrimination. If you are successful at the hearing, the EEOC judge may choose to award you compensatory damages and other relief. Even if you are not successful at your hearing, however, you can petition the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) with a request for appeal. This request for appeal essentially asks a panel of judges to give your case a second review and overturn a negative decision. It is generally filed if you suspect that the judge improperly evaluated the facts of the case or the law. If the OFO appeal is unsuccessful, you may be able to appeal your case further.  Do You Need a Lawyer Who Is Familiar with the EEOC and Discrimination Cases? Now that you know more about the process of filing a charge of discrimination, you can begin your search for a qualified federal-sector EEOC attorney. Keep in mind that not all attorneys are the same. Some are experienced and others are fresh out of law school. Even many experienced attorneys may not understand or be very familiar with the EEOC and federal employment discrimination. Consequently, you need to pick a law firm which has practiced many times in front of the EEOC.  At the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing,  PLLC., we focus exclusively on representing federal employees and helping them stand up for their rights. We have represented and won countless cases of discrimination for our clients over the years so contact us, your initial consultation is free. You have nothing to lose by reaching out and letting us review your case. Let us fight for you today!

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Federal EEOC

Overview of Federal EEOC Complaint Process

No matter what your job is, you may encounter discrimination in the workplace during your career. There are several laws the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces that protect federal employees from discrimination. But what is the federal EEOC complaint process? If you find yourself the victim of discrimination in the federal workplace, it’s important to understand your rights and how to enforce them with an EEOC complaint. For immediate assistance, please don’t hesitate to send a message or call us at (833) 833-3529 today. Here is a breakdown of the 6-Step Federal EEOC Complaint Process. The 6 Steps in the EEOC Complaints Process 1. Contact Your EEO Counselor Each agency has an equal employment opportunity counselor. Before filing a formal complaint with the EEOC, the first step of the federal EEO complaint process is to contact your agency’s EEO counselor within 45 days of the discrimination. Note that some agencies will use different terms for this office, such as the Office of Resolution Management (ORM) at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The EEO counselor will provide information about how a federal EEO complaint works. At this step, your counselor will provide details about the EEO process, including approximate timelines and your appeal rights. They will usually ask for information about your claims and bases too. Where applicable, you may also have the option to go through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). This step is also when you must choose whether to file your complaint through the EEO, negotiated grievance, or the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) processes, if applicable. Not all cases have this choice, but when you do, federal employees may choose only one of these two paths and the option first chosen is generally considered to be your election. If you’re unsure where you should file your federal EEOC complaint, consider consulting a federal EEOC lawyer. Understanding Which Laws the EEOC Enforces The EEOC enforces four federal anti-discrimination laws: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Equal Pay Act of 1963, The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Together, these laws protect against discrimination based on a number of characteristics, including race, color, sex and sexual orientation, religion or national origin, age, and disability. Additionally, the EEOC works to protect employees from retaliation by their superiors or agency. 2. Filing a Formal Complaint If you can’t resolve the issue through counseling or ADR, your counselor will provide you with a written Notice of Right to File Formal Complaint, and provide a final Interview. This notice gives you the right to file a formal complaint with your Agency’s EEO office within 15 days. Read the Notice carefully for instructions on where to send your complaint. Generally you can file your Formal EEO complaint by mail or email. Each complaint must be properly drafted to include at least: Contact information for you or your representative; Contact information for the person the claim is against; and A signed statement describing the events you believe resulted in discrimination, including when they occurred. After you submit your complaint, will review it to decide whether to conduct an investigation. 3. Your Agency Conducts an Investigation If your Agency accepts your claims, your agency will have to conduct an investigation into the alleged discrimination. Once the investigation is complete, you may request a hearing before an administrative judge, or you can request an immediate final decision for your EEOC complaint from your agency. 4. Hearing Before an Administrative Judge Like other court proceedings, an EEOC hearing involves presenting your case to an administrative judge. Each party also has the opportunity to conduct discovery to obtain additional information. At the end of the hearing, the judge will review the record and issue a decision about whether there was discrimination. In some cases, a federal employee may not need to request a hearing. Accordingly, hearings do not always happen as part of the federal EEOC complaint process. 5. Your Agency Issues a Final Decision Whether you choose a hearing or not, the final main step is your agency’s final decision. The agency will review the judge’s final order or the evidence from the investigation and notify you whether it found any discrimination. If there was discrimination, the agency may implement the judge’s orders or its own remedy. Because final decisions may not be in the employee’s favor, federal employees have the right to appeal a final agency action to the EEOC’s appellate division, the Office of Federal Operations (OFO). 6. Appealing to the EEOC You may appeal your agency’s decision to the OFO within 30 days of that decision. During the appeal process, the OFO will review the entire history of your complaint and the evidence in the record. The OFO will then issue its own determination of whether there was any discrimination. Having a federal EEOC lawyer is the best way to make sure your arguments are properly presented in this case. Contact a Federal EEOC Lawyer The federal EEOC complaint process looks long and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. The attorneys at the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC have years of experience representing federal employees in a variety of employment matters. If you’ve suffered discrimination and need help with your EEOC complaint, we can help. Contact us today online or at (833) 833-3529 for a free consultation.

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