The Ultimate Guide to Right to Sue Letters

What is a Right to Sue Letter

This guide is for anyone who has received a right to sue letter or wants to know more about them.

You will learn what you need to do when you get a right to sue letter, and you will understand the big picture.

This guide will also help you decide what steps to take next and help you find a good employment lawyer if you decide to file a lawsuit.

If you have questions about right to sue letters, please contact the experienced employment attorneys at Ottinger Employment Lawyers today.

What is a Right to Sue Letter?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issues “right to sue letters” when they are finished working on a case.

When the EEOC issues a right to sue letter, they are saying “we have done all we can do, now you can file a lawsuit if you want to.”

A right to sue letter gives you permission to file suit in federal court. In fact, you need a right to sue letter in order to file most kinds of employment discrimination cases. A right to sue letter is not needed to file age discrimination or equal pay act cases.

Your Right to Sue Letter and Time Limits

If you received a right to sue letter, the clock is now ticking.  You have 90 days to file your case.   If you don’t file it within 90 days, you could be forever barred from filing your employment discrimination case in federal court.

Click here for helpful information from the EEOC about right to sue letters and filing discrimination lawsuits.

What to Do After You get a Right to Sue Letter

After you get a right to sue letter, you must decide if you want to file an employment discrimination lawsuit.  Remember, you only have 90 days. That’s not a lot of time to make this decision, find a lawyer and file suit.

Note: To summarize, a right to sue letter means that you now have the right to sue your employer in federal court. It also means that the EEOC is no longer working on your case and it’s up to you to pursue your case. To do this, you will probably need a law firm and we get into that in chapter 4 below.

What Does the EEOC Do?

The EEOC is the federal agency that investigates employment discrimination.  Employment discrimination occurs when someone is mistreated at work because of a personal trait. 

As you might imagine, the EEOC gets a lot of complaints, and they often don’t have enough staff to handle it all, so things can move slowly.

What is the EEOC?

The EEOC investigates employment discrimination. Employment discrimination occurs whenever an employee suffers an adverse employment action (such as getting fired or demoted) due to their race, disability, gender, religion, pregnancy, age or other traits. The EEOC also investigates sexual harassment cases.

After you file an employment discrimination complaint with the EEOC, the investigation process starts.  The first step is the appointment of an EEOC investigator. 

The investigator may interview witnesses, review employment documents such as personal files, visit the work site or engage in other efforts to find out what happened.

EEOC Mediation

After completing its investigation, the EEOC often tries to resolve disputes through mediation. Mediation is a non-binding process where a mediator tries to get everyone to agree upon a settlement. 

At an EEOC mediation, the parties meet with a mediator to try to negotiate a resolution. It doesn’t always work because sometimes the parties are unable to reach an agreement.

Dismissal or Determination

If the EEOC is unable to resolve the case through mediation, they typically issue one of two letters:  (A) a Dismissal and Notice of Rights or (B) a Letter of Determination.

A Dismissal and Notice of Rights is issued when the EEOC is unable to find any solid evidence of discrimination.

This does not mean that the case lacks merit.  It means that the EEOC, with its limited resources, is unable to find enough evidence to prove that discrimination occurred. A right to sue letter is included which gives you the right to pursue your case in court.

A Letter of Determination is issued in those rare cases where the EEOC finds compelling evidence of discrimination. A right to sue letter is included.

Note: A Dismissal and Notice of Rights letter does not mean that the case lacks merit. It means that the EEOC, with its limited resources, is unable to find enough evidence to prove that discrimination occurred.

See If You Have An Employment Case

Talk with one of our experienced attorneys to determine if you have a case or not.

Contact Us Schedule your consultation today. Schedule your consultation today.

Employment Discrimination Lawsuits

Employment discrimination lawsuits are nasty, expensive, slow, and often ineffective.  Most people do not enjoy the process.  So you might want to give careful consideration before filing a case.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Do you have solid evidence to prove your case? For example, if you believe that you were fired due to your age, you will need to back this up with compelling proof. Do you have evidence such as emails, texts, or videos showing that your age was the reason for your termination?  The burden of proof is on you, so make sure you have it.
  • Did something seriously bad happen to you? Discrimination happens in the workplace every day. People all over the country are exposed daily to discriminatory comments, lost opportunities, and other setbacks and indignities. But it’s usually not worth suing over this kind of thing unless you are seriously harmed. Typically, the only thing that will justify a lawsuit is getting fired from a good job due to discrimination.

Note: A Right to Sue Letter Gives you the Right to Sue Your Employer.  Deciding if you should sue is a very personal decision. You should understand that employment discrimination cases are huge investments of time, energy, and resources, so make sure the cause is one you feel strongly about. You might want to discuss your case with an employment lawyer before making a decision.

Studies show that employees rarely win at trial.  That may sound discouraging, but it’s really not as bad as it sounds because most employment discrimination cases never go to trial.   

In fact, at our law firm, we try to settle cases before we file them. This way people get a faster resolution, avoid the unpleasantries of litigation, and move on with their lives.

Employment Law Firms

If you have decided that you want to bring a case, you need to find a good employment lawyer to represent you.  If you are in New York or California, please give us a call to see if we can help. 

If you are in another state, please click link below for NELA’s state by state directory of employment lawyers.

There are lawyers who specialize in representing employees in employment discrimination cases. Make sure you hire one of these instead of someone who handles other kinds of cases. 

A good place to find these lawyers is the National Employment Lawyers Association. This is a national organization made up of lawyers who focus on representing employees and executives. They have a “Find a Lawyer” directory.

Employment Lawyer Legal Fees

Lawyers typically have two or three billing options. But if you have lost your job and need a lawyer, then you probably want a contingency fee arrangement. 

With a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer gets paid out of the money they recover for you. 

If they don’t recover any money for you, they typically don’t get paid. In employment discrimination cases, contingency fees range from 33.3% to 50%

Contact Ottinger Employment lawyers

Our law firm focuses on helping employees and executives. If you have received a right to sue letter and have questions about your case, please feel free to contact us. 

We may be able to help you. We have been handling employment cases since 1999. We have offices in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.   

You can call us at (800) 668-7984 to schedule a consultation today.

We handle many of these cases on a contingency fee where there is no fee unless we recover money for you.

Author Photo

Robert Ottinger, Esq.

Robert Ottinger is an employment attorney who focuses on representing executives and employees in employment disputes. Before starting his firm, Robert slugged it out in courtrooms trying cases for the government. Robert served as a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice in Los Angeles and then as Assistant Attorney General for the New York Attorney General’s Office in Manhattan.

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