I've heard from multiple different clients and potential clients that they've contacted Miami EEOC and were either turned away or were unable to get an appointment. Some were told on the phone that EEOC is not taking new cases. Others filled out the form online and the next step is to set an appointment. But when they click on the next step they are unable to get an appointment.
Filing a charge of discrimination is required before filing a charge of discrimination. In Florida, it must be filed within 300 days from the date of discrimination. In other states it's either 180 or 300 days. If EEOC is refusing to allow folks to file charges, that means workers who were subjected to discrimination may not be allowed to file a discrimination lawsuit.
Sure, the Supreme Court recently ruled that filing a charge with EEOC is not jurisdictional, meaning that the lack of a charge doesn't automatically mean the courts can't hear the case. But the Supremes also said, "EEOC charge-filing is still a mandatory prerequisite to filing suit and remains a procedural step that a court must enforce if the issue is timely raised . . . ."
I'm sure hoping that the folks telling me that EEOC is refusing to allow them to file charges of discrimination have somehow misunderstood, but I've heard it enough in the past couple weeks to think a pattern is developing.
If filing a charge of discrimination is still a "mandatory prerequisite to filing suit," then EEOC needs to take all charges that workers want to file. Otherwise, it is preventing people from pursuing their legal remedies for race, age, sex, national origin, pregnancy, disability, color, religious, and other discrimination cases.
I hope this is not a new anti-employee policy implemented by this administration to prevent workers from exercising their rights. Say it ain't so EEOC!
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