How Long Does It Take to Settle a Discrimination Lawsuit?
The progress of a discrimination lawsuit can feel slow at times. If you’re curious about how long the average case takes, this article is for you!
No one escapes the long arm of the law. But it can take a while for the law to reach you.
More than 26,000 people filed a discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2019. Less than 2,000 of those cases resulted in a settlement.
One reason for the low number is how long it takes to resolve the process. Many people are not prepared for the timeline of a discrimination lawsuit and they drop their cases to move on with their lives.
Get the facts so you can prepare your lawsuit and get the remedy you deserve. Here is a quick guide.
Preparing a Discrimination Lawsuit
You will need to take some steps before filing a discrimination lawsuit. Some steps are optional, but all of them help you build your case.
You should gather evidence from your employer and co-workers. Interview them and take down their contact information. Your lawyers can depose them later.
Look through your contract and other important documents. Make an inventory of them that you and your lawyers can access.
You should also hire an attorney. Though it costs money, a lawyer will navigate through red tape and regulations.
Review a few attorneys before picking one. Many attorneys say they specialize in discrimination law, but find an attorney that specializes in the discrimination you experienced. An attorney with experience in gender-based discrimination may not be ideal for a race-based discrimination case.
You can get funding for a discrimination lawsuit. But keep in mind that it will take time to get your funding request approved.
Read federal and state law. The two may vary, especially for LGBTQ discrimination.
EEOC laws cover most companies with at least 15 employees. EEOC protections also extend to labor unions and employment agencies. To pursue a discrimination lawsuit, you must file with the EEOC first.
Many people think EEOC laws are for hiring, promotions, and firing. But they also apply to discrimination, harassment, and payments. You can file a discrimination lawsuit for conduct during training or for disparate wages.
Settling a Discrimination Lawsuit With the EEOC
You must file a lawsuit within 180 calendar days of the discrimination. If your state prohibits discrimination on the same basis, your deadline goes to 300 days. You should file a lawsuit as soon as possible.
The deadline applies to multiple discriminatory events. You must file charges for each of them to receive settlements for each. You must file a lawsuit for ongoing harassment within 180 days of the last incident, but the EEOC will investigate all incidents.
Within ten days of your filing for a lawsuit, the EEOC will notify your employer. The EEOC may ask you and your employer to participate in mediation. They may close the investigation if they conclude the law was not violated.
Mediation is informal. A mediator assists two parties in reaching a resolution to the discrimination charge. Most mediations last one day, but some can take longer if charges are extensive.
The EEOC will investigate if mediation fails or is not necessary. They may interview witnesses and gather documents. An average investigation lasts 10 months, but some may last longer.
If the EEOC determines your employer violated the law, they will attempt a settlement with them. In the event that no settlement is reached, your case is referred to the EEOC legal staff.
If they decide not to file a lawsuit, they issue a Notice of Right to Sue. This gives you the right to file a lawsuit in court.
Equal Pay Act and Title VII
The Equal Pay Act prohibits sex discrimination in earnings and benefits. The timeline for a lawsuit is a little different.
With other forms of discrimination, you need to file with the EEOC. But under the Equal Pay Act, you can head straight to court.
The deadline is two years from your last discriminatory paycheck. The deadline extends to three years if the discrimination was willful.
Title VII also prohibits sex discrimination in wages. You can file claims under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act.
But you must go through the EEOC for a Title VII claim. If you want to decrease the timeline for your lawsuit, you can avoid filing such a claim.
What Happens in Court
When you choose to file a lawsuit in court, a new process starts. Several factors influence the timeline.
Employment discrimination can involve punitive and compensatory damages. An employee who files under the Americans with Disabilities Act can receive additional payments for discrimination. But other types of discrimination only allow settlements for lost wages and opportunities.
The more money involved, the more likely that the case will take a while. Your employer will put up a fight if they have to pay a lot.
If people are filing a lot of lawsuits at once, you can expect delays. Your lawyers will schedule hearings for the earliest possible times. But there’s no guarantee of speed.
The EEOC conducts a thorough investigation. But your lawyers may need to conduct discovery. They will perform further investigations and depositions, which will take time.
The case itself will only take a few days. Deliberations can vary, but they are not long.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Discrimination Lawsuit?
When people prepare a discrimination lawsuit, they often ask, “How much time should a discrimination lawsuit take?” The answer to that question varies.
You should take time finding a good lawyer and securing funding. You then must file with the EEOC. You have 180 days from the day of the discrimination to file.
The EEOC will notify your employer, then offer mediation. That takes time. Their investigation to determine charges takes several months, if not a year.
You can then go to the courts. A court case can take several months on discovery alone. Considering all things together, your discrimination case can take years to reach a settlement.
But don’t worry. The Lawsuit Settlement Funding Company can offer funding and support for your discrimination case. Contact us today.