About Employment Discrimination 1. Role of the Employment Discrimination Section (EDS) in the Civil Rights Division (CRD). Under Section 7A-759 of the North Carolina General Statutes, the Office of Administrative Hearings is designated to serve as the State's deferral agency for cases deferred by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to the Office of Administrative Hearings as provided in Section 706 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, for charges filed by State and local government employees covered under Chapter 126 of the North Carolina General Statutes. The Civil Rights Division (CRD), Employment Discrimination Section (EDS) was established within the OAH to carry out the functions of a deferral agency. 2. Relationship between the Employment Discrimination Section of CRD and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The CRD-Employment Discrimination Section works in conjunction with the EEOC to enforce State and Federal anti-discrimination laws in North Carolina. EEOC refers to the CRD-Employment Discrimination Section as a "Fair Employment Practices Agency (FEPA)." Through the use of "work sharing agreements", the EEOC and the CRD-EDS avoid duplication of effort while at the same time ensuring that a charging party's rights are protected under both Federal and State law. If a charge is filed with the CRD-EDS and is also covered by federal law, the CRD-EDS "dually files" the charge with the EEOC to protect Federal rights. The charge will be retained by the CRD-EDS for processing and investigation. If a charge is filed with the EEOC and also is covered by State and federal law, the EEOC "dually files" the charge with the CRD-EDS, but ordinarily retains the charge for handling. Neither agency waives its jurisdiction to the other, but does waive its right to initially process, while retaining jurisdiction to make its own disposition based upon the other's investigation and determination. 3. Filing a charge of employment discrimination with the CRD-Employment Discrimination Section. Any State or County government employee (current or former) who is/was subject to the provisions of the North Carolina Human Resources Act, Chapter 126 of the North Carolina General Statutes, is eligible to file a charge with the Civil Rights Division. This includes non-exempt State Government employees; non-exempt University of North Carolina System employees; and County Social Services, Mental Health, Public Health and Civil Preparedness employees. 4. Do employees have to exhaust their in-house grievance procedures before filing a charge with the CRD/EDS? Employees alleging employment discrimination may file their charges directly with the Civil Rights Division, Employment Discrimination Section, without exhausting in-house or agency grievance procedures. 5. Is attorney representation required? No, you do not have to obtain the services of an attorney prior to filing a charge, or during the investigation of the charge filed with the CRD/EDS. However, if you choose to obtain attorney representation, you must have the individual submit a letter of representation on their letterhead before anyone in the Employment Discrimination Section can discuss the potential charge or formalized charge with the legal representative. 6. Filing a charge of employment discrimination with the CRD/EDS. The process of filing a charge begins by contacting the Employment Discrimination Section of the Civil Rights Division by USPS mail, email, telephone or in person at 1711 New Hope Church Road, Raleigh, NC 27609, (984) 236-1919. Anyone wishing to file a charge of employment discrimination will need to complete the Charge Intake Form and provide further information to the Charge Receipts Coordinator who will prepare the charge (EEOC Form #5) for signature. A charge is not considered filed until the Charge Receipts Coordinator in the Employment Discrimination Section receives a signed/dated EEOC Form #5. The EEOC Charge Form #5 can be accessed from the website. https://prod-ncoah.dc.nc.gov/block/employment-discrimination-charge 7. Information to provide when filing a charge. The complaining party's name, home address, email address and telephone number; The name, work address and telephone number of the employer; A short description of the alleged violation (the event that caused the complaining party to believe that his or her rights were violated); and The date(s) of the alleged violation(s). Comparative information. The names and contact information of witnesses to the alleged discrimination. 8. Time limits for filing a charge of discrimination with the CRD/EDS. A charge must be filed with the CRD/EDS within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation, in order to protect the Charging Party's rights. State and County government employees who are covered under the State Personnel Act have 300 days to file a charge directly with EEOC. If a charge is received by the CRD/EDS on the 181st day, it will be transferred to the EEOC for further processing. To protect your legal rights, it is best to contact the CRD/EDS promptly when the alleged discrimination is suspected or has occurred. 9. Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and enforced by the CRD/EDS. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older against employment discrimination. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments. Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits genetic information discrimination in employment, took effect on November 21, 2009. 10. Discriminatory practices prohibited by the nondiscrimination laws. Under Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA and GINA, it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment including: Hiring and firing; Compensation, assignment, or classification of employees; Transfer, promotion; layoff, or recall; Job advertisements; Recruitment; Testing; Use of agency facilities; Training and apprenticeship programs; Fringe benefits; Pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or Other terms and conditions of employment. 11. Discriminatory practices included under the nondiscrimination laws. Harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or age; Retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices (retaliation violations can be filed under Title VII, ADEA, ADA or GINA): Employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of the individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities; and Denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability; Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group. 12. After a charge is filed with the CRD/EDS. The employer (Respondent) is notified of the charge filing and they receive a copy of the signed charge of employment discrimination form #5 and the EEOC form 131-A Notice of Charge. The charge is assigned to a CRD/EDS Investigator for processing and investigation. The CRD/EDS Investigator prepares a Request for Information to be sent to the employer. The employer normally has 4 to 6 weeks to respond to the Request for Information. After the information is received from the employer the CRD/EDS Investigator begins the fact finding process which includes the onsite investigation, charging party interview, Respondent witness interviews and charging party witness interviews, etc. After the completion of the investigation, the CRD/EDS Investigator makes a no cause or cause recommendation to the Compliance Manager and Director. The final determination on any case is made by the Director. A notice of determination is sent to all parties at the conclusion of the investigation if the determination is no cause. A cause determination warrants conciliation efforts prior to or after the cause determination is issued. 13. CRD/EDS resolutions to discrimination charges. If the evidence obtained in an investigation does not establish that discrimination occurred, this will be explained to the charging party. A notice of determination is issued, by the Director of the CRD to both charging party and the respondent, closing the case and giving the charging party 90 days, after receiving the "Dismissal and Notice of Rights" (EEOC Form 161) from the EEOC, in which to file a lawsuit on his or her own behalf. If the evidence establishes that discrimination has occurred, the respondent and the charging party will be informed of this in a notice of determination explaining the findings of fact. The CRD will then attempt conciliation with the respondent to develop a remedy for the discrimination. If the case is successfully conciliated the charging party may not go to court, unless the conciliation agreement is not honored. If the CRD is unable to successfully conciliate the case, the case will be forwarded to the Charlotte District Office of the EEOC for review and further processing. The EEOC may attempt to conciliate once again with the respondent. If the EEOC is unable to successfully conciliate the case, the EEOC will decide whether to bring suit in Federal Court on charging party's behalf. If the EEOC decides not to sue, it will issue a "Notice of Right to Sue" (EEOC Form 161-A), providing the charging party with 90 days in which to file a lawsuit on his or her own behalf. In Title VII and ADA cases against State and Local governments, the notice of a right to sue is issued from the Department of Justice. 14. Filing an employment discrimination lawsuit in court. A charging party may file a lawsuit within 90 days after receiving a notice of a "right to sue" from the EEOC, as stated above. A charging party may request a "right to sue" from the CRD/EDS any time after a charge has been filed and the employer served with a copy of the charge (Title VII and ADA charges). It is advised that the charging party wait, at least 60 days, until the response to the request for information has been received from the employer before requesting the "right to sue". A lawsuit can be filed within 90 days after receiving the notice. Under the ADEA, a lawsuit may be filed at any time 60 days after filing a charge with the CRD. The charging party has 90 days to file a lawsuit after receiving the notice that the EEOC has completed action on the charge.