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How Do You File a Complaint Against Your Employer?

Many federal and state laws are in place to protect the rights of American workers, and some employees find themselves in situations requiring legal action against an employer. If you suffered an injury due to a negligent employer or need to report a compliance violation or workplace misconduct, it’s essential to know how to navigate these processes.

If an employer’s negligence results in an injury, you can file for workers’ compensation and collect benefits for your medical expenses and lost income during recovery, but such a claim may not fully cover your losses. You may need to pursue a personal injury claim against your employer. Many possible situations would constitute grounds for legal action against an employer, or you may need to involve a government oversight agency. An experienced Tampa employment attorney can help you understand your situation better.

Are You Facing Workplace Discrimination?

One of the most common reasons to file a complaint against an employer is workplace discrimination. This term applies to any employment-related decisions an employer makes based on age, sex, race, religion, or other protected individual statuses. If an employer has made you uncomfortable, threatened your job, or otherwise created a hostile work environment due to your protected status, you can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Navigating the EEOC Claims Process

The EEOC handles claims for various types of workplace discrimination. You will need to submit your complaint and then wait for the EEOC to notify your employer and complete its investigation before taking legal action. If an EEOC investigation determines you have grounds for a workplace discrimination lawsuit, you will receive a Right to Sue notice that allows you to take legal action against the employer in your claim. The longest an EEOC investigation may take is 180 days, at which time the EEOC will issue a Right to Sue notice if the investigation hasn’t concluded.

An attorney can help you compile the evidence and documentation you will need for your initial complaint, and while you wait for an investigation to conclude, your attorney can advise you of your legal options after you receive a Right to Sue notice.

Other Types of Complaints

If you experienced sexual harassment, intimidation, or other types of discrimination, an EEOC claim can help you recover any resulting damages. You may also need to file an EEOC claim if an employer punishes you or interferes with your job for performing a protected action. For example, if you report a safety issue to your supervisor but the supervisor does nothing to fix the problem, you could report the problem to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for a compliance violation. If your supervisor fired you or docked your pay for doing so, you would also qualify for an EEOC claim.


Retaliation refers to any negative or punitive actions an employer takes against an employee as a reprisal against the employee for taking a protected action. Some examples of retaliation include:

  • Firing an employee who reported compliance violations to a government oversight agency in good faith.
  • Refusing to address an employee’s sexual harassment complaint and instead transferring the employee who made the complaint.
  • Cutting an employee’s hours after he asks to file a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Giving an employee low performance scores in an official review in response to the employee’s sworn testimony in a lawsuit involving the company. Employees must answer truthfully when subpoenaed for official investigations, and employers may not retaliate against them for doing so.

If the EEOC determines an employee has the right to sue an employer or cannot complete an investigation of an employee’s claim within 180 days, the employee can pursue legal action against the employer. Damages in a workplace discrimination lawsuit typically include lost wages, lost benefits, and lost contributions to retirement accounts and other employer-provided investment opportunities. However, individuals who experienced personal harm or hostile work environments may be able to secure compensation for their pain and suffering from these experiences as well.

When in Doubt, Contact an Attorney

If you feel you’ve experience workplace discrimination, don’t wait to seek the legal advice of an attorney. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our Tampa employment attorneys. Free consultations.

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