There do exist claims you can advance without the help of a lawyer. This article will explore seeking redress for discrimination at work in Georgia, and why it’s helpful to have a lawyer by your side. Keep reading to learn more about anti-discrimination efforts in Georgia, and if you’d like further information or guidance on filing an EEOC claim, please contact an Atlanta employment discrimination attorney.
Georgia & Anti-Discrimination: Run-Up to Filing an EEOC Claim
To begin, what kinds of anti-discrimination protections can you find in Georgia? Employment-wise, Georgia is an at-will state, and employers have the right to fire someone for any or no reason at all, but only so long as the reason is not discriminatory against a group protected under federal or state law.
The majority of Georgia discrimination cases are actually brought in federal court, because Georgia lacks a general anti-discrimination statute as well as a dedicated state administrative agency.
This does not mean that you as the harmed party do not have a chance at redress in Georgia. There are several options available at the federal, state, and local levels. At the local level, cities like Savannah and counties like Augusta-Richmond have their own agencies for anti-discrimination work. You should be sure to check your geographic location to see if there are similar paths open to you.
Georgia state law, while not robust in anti-discrimination work, does have statutes against unequal pay as well as disability-, age-, and religion-based discrimination. Most of these, unfortunately, award limited damages even if successful, and sometimes the law does not permit individuals to bring up this cause of action. Some of Georgia’s anti-discrimination laws include the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act and a more recent whistle-blower protection law.
How Do I File an EEOC Claim in Georgia Court?
First of all, depending on the circumstances, you may not need a lawyer. However, you may still want a lawyer because of the complexity of the process. We’ll explain that now.
To file a claim, you would start by contacting your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office. In Georgia, the EEOC has two offices, in Atlanta and in Savannah.
As stated, you can file with or without a lawyer, and you may do so either in person at the EEOC office, by email, or by fax. If in person, it would be a good idea to ask staff for a copy of your questionnaire, in case intake personnel didn’t include all your claims. In addition, to resolve your case, you may need to sign a release of all your legal claims.
And you won’t be able to file a federal employment discrimination suit for sex, age, or disability without exhausting your administrative remedies, meaning going through the EEOC and being denied first. Exhausting your remedies isn’t required for state claims, since Georgia doesn’t have an anti-discrimination state agency.
Given all there is to do, you can see why best practices include seeking the guidance and experience of a skilled employment discrimination attorney.