Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

What is a 'right to sue' letter in a sexual harassment case?

When discussing options available to New York employees sexually harassed in the workplace, last week's post discussed filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This week's post will outline the progression of a cause of action with the EEOC.

An action must be filed within 180 days of the harassment. Once received, the EEOC has 10 days to send a notice to the employer, informing them that a charge has been filed against them. After this, the EEOC begins their investigation into the matter. Depending on the result of the investigation, the EEOC can find that there is cause or there is no cause. In case there is no cause, the victim can ask for a review within 14 days of the determination and if the EEOC affirms their hearing, they will issue a 'right to sue letter'.

If the EEOC does find cause to the action, they begin conciliation to try to resolve the matter between the employer and employee and if this fails, they issue a 'right to sue letter'. So what is this document?

When a 'right to sue' letter is issued by the EEOC, this gives the filer the right to sue in a court of law. The filer has 90 days to file their case in court and this deadline can only be extended in very limited circumstances, so if it is not filed on time, the filer may be prevented form continuing with the case.

Employment law is often complex and making sure all the paperwork is complete and filed on time is an essential part of many lawsuits. Having employee representation from the onset can be helpful when filing a sexual harassment claim and New York residents facing sexual harassment may want to consider consulting an experienced attorney to discuss their options.

Source: EEOC, "Filing a lawsuit," Accessed on Oct. 13, 2015

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