In order to maximize the recovery you can get from an employment discrimination case you must file a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) within 300 days of suffering workplace discrimination. If you fail to do so you are almost entirely precluded from getting money damages for the wrong you have suffered. The 300 days starts running from the time the discrimination results in an adverse employment action against you – a drop in pay, a demotion, a cut in hours or a termination are all adverse employment action. So if you experience discrimination at work you will want to contact an attorney right away.
Filing A Workplace Discrimination Complaint
An experienced workplace discrimination attorney can assist you in drafting a complaint to file with the MHRC. The complaint should be a clear and concise statement of what happened to you and why your employer’s actions were motivation by a discriminatory animus.
Once MHRC receives the complaint they will review it and send it you your employer. Your employer will be given a deadline to respond. You will receive a copy of the employer’s response and be asked to give any and all reply to the response. In other words, you will be asked to get all of the information you have -statements, documents, etc. -to the MHRC for their consideration.
An attorney will help you make sure that you put forward the best factual information and legal arguments to support your claims. At this time the MHRC will also offer you the opportunity to mediate your claim through a neutral third party, usually an attorney experienced in discrimination, who is hired by the MHRC.
The Investigation Process
MHRC then assigns an investigator to the case who will review the paperwork and determine how the case should proceed. The Investigator may ask for further information, schedule a conference, or merely write a decision. The process of assigning an investigator can take a very long time – the better part of a year in some cases.
If your claim is pending at the MHRC for 180 days and you do not have a final resolution from MHRC you can ask for a Right to Sue letter. This letter will confirm that you field your claim at MHRC and have waited the required amount of times without a resolution and are free to file a lawsuit in court.
Once the Investigator has finished his or her work they write a report that either finds “reasonable grounds” to believe you have been discriminated against or “no reasonable grounds” to believe that you have been discriminated against. This is only a recommendation for a finding for the full Commission to vote on.
You will have an opportunity to object to these findings and present an argument to the MHRC when they formally take up and vote on the case. Once the MHRC votes on the matter one of two things will occur.
- If they find “no reasonable grounds” you are free to file a lawsuit against your employer in court and none of the findings will be used against you.
- If the MHRC finds “reasonable grounds” they will force a process of mediation on the parties to try to resolve the case.
Workplace discrimination is a complicated process and the right attorney can help you navigate this system obtaining the best possible result for you case. If you have been discriminated against at work please call Sarah A. Churchill, Esq. – the experienced attorney who can help you get control over your employment matter – at (207) 879-4000 or at www.nicholschurchill.com.