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Trap for the Unwary: Answering an EEOC Questionnaire Is NOT Filing A Charge

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EEOC – Employees who have been subject to unlawful discrimination in the workplace often call our firm thinking that they have filed a claim with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights (HRC) when actually they have not.

EEOC Intake Questionnaire

When an employee initially contacts the EEOC or the HRC to grieve workplace discrimination, the agency will often send the employee an “intake questionnaire” to complete.  An employee’s act of completing the intake questionnaire, and returning it to the HRC or the EEOC, does NOT mean that the employee has filed a claim or that the employee has met applicable deadlines.  The employee has NOT done either of these things by providing the administrative agency the completed intake questionnaire.  The purpose of the intake questionnaire is only to help agency personnel prepare a Charge of Discrimination on the employee’s behalf.  The Charge of Discrimination is the document that begins the employee’s case—a document in which the employee states under oath the facts underlying the employment discrimination claim.

Charge of Discrimination

Only when the employee files with the HRC and/or the EEOC a Charge of Discrimination executed under oath has the employee filed a claim with the agency.  The employee must file the Charge within 180 days of the last discriminatory act at the HRC and within 300 days of the last discriminatory act at the EEOC.

The employment lawyers at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey prefer to work with our employment discrimination clients to draft their Charges of Discrimination, in order to ensure that all the facts underlying their claims are properly alleged and to ensure all potential theories of liability are asserted.

If you would like to consult with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer, please contact an attorney such as Benjamin King, Esquire, here at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey.  Attorney King can be reached at (603) 288-1403 or fill out our online contact form.