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Filing an Employment Discrimination Claim Within Washington, D.C.

Employees who work in Washington, D.C. who want to bring a claim under Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, or the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (“GINA”) must first file an administrative complaint or charge with the EEOC or a state fair employment practices agency. The Erlich Law Office works with individuals employed in Washington, D.C. to navigate the process of filing a charge of discrimination.

D.C., Virginia, and Maryland are “deferral jurisdictions” meaning that they deploy state Fair Employment Practice Agencies (“FEPAs”) to accept charges of discrimination. In D.C., this office is called the Office of Human Rights (“D.C.OHR”). Work-sharing agreements between the EEOC and these agencies provide that any charge files with one of them is automatically cross-filed with the EEOC. The statute of limitations for filing a claim in FEPA states is 300 days.

Workers who have been discriminated against in their employment in Washington, D.C., may file a claim with the EEOC at its Washington Field Office, located at 131 M Street NE; 4th Floor, Suite 4NWO25; Washington D.C. 20507-0100. The closest Metro to the Washington Field Office is New York Avenue/Gallaudet University on the Red Line. Walk-in hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Scheduled appointments are not required, but potential claimants should call ahead and add their name to a list. Investigators will call them back and conduct a short screening over the telephone, during which they will determine whether the EEOC has jurisdiction over the matter. If a potential claimant decides to file a claim, he or she may then make an appointment to do so. Appointments are generally scheduled for two weeks in the future. Workers must include all claims, charges or complaints in their original filing; otherwise, they may waive the right to later raise a claim in court. The EEOC process is completely free to complainants and complainants do not need an attorney to file a claim.

Do not worry if the EEOC sounds pessimistic about a claim: it finds no probably cause of discrimination in about 95 percent of the cases it reviews. A worker may find an attorney who can litigate and win the case despite an EEOC determination of no probable cause.

Filing at the D.C. Office of Human Rights

D.C.’s FEPA is the D.C. Office of Human Rights (“D.C. OHR”), located at 441 4th Street Northwest, Suite 570 North. The closest Metro Station to the D.C. OHR is at Judiciary Square.

The general rule is that a person must file a claim within the D.C. OHR within a year. All claims will be subject to a mandatory mediation, which is available, but not required, under federal law. Mediation currently takes place within 60 days of the filing of a complaint.

Unlike the federal discrimination statutes discussed above, the D.C. Human Rights Act (“DCHRA”) does not require a claimant to first lodge a complaint with an administrative agency, and if the Office makes a negative determination, an employee loses his or her right to litigate in court.

If you are a worker in D.C. and you have been the victim of discrimination in employment, The Erlich Law Office would be glad to assist you in pursuing a legal remedy under federal or local law. As always, please contact us at (703) 791-9087 or via email for a consultation.