Frequently Asked Questions
- What Is The Role Of The Civil Rights Division (CRD) In The Office Of Administrative Hearings (OAH)?
- What Is The Relationship Between The Civil Rights Division And The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)?
- Who Can File A Charge Of Employment Discrimination With The CRD?
- Do Employees Have To Exhaust Their In-House Grievance Procedures Before Filing A Charge With The CRD?
- Is Attorney Representation Required?
- How Is A Charge Of Discrimination Filed With The CRD?
- What Information Must Be Provided To File A Charge?
- What Are The Time Limits For Filing A Charge Of Discrimination With The Civil Rights Division?
- What Federal Laws Prohibiting Employment Discrimination Are Enforced By The CRD?
- What Discriminatory Practices Are Prohibited By These Laws?
- What Discriminatory Practices Are Included Under These Laws?
- What Happens After A Charge Is Filed With The CRD?
- How Does The CRD Resolve Discrimination Charges?
- When Can Individual File An Employment Discrimination Lawsuit in Court?
1. What Is The Role Of The Civil Rights Division (CRD) In The Office Of Administrative Hearings (OAH)?
- 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 was established within the OAH to carry out the functions of a deferral agency.
2. What Is The Relationship Between The Civil Rights Division And The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)?
- The CRD works in conjunction with the EEOC to enforce State and Federal anti-discrimination laws in North Carolina.
- EEOC refers to the CRD as a "Fair Employment Practices Agency (FEPA)."
- Through the use of "work sharing agreements", the EEOC and the CRD 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 and is also covered by federal law, the CRD "dually files" the charge with the EEOC to protect Federal rights. The charge will be retained by the CRD 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, 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. Who Can File A Charge Of Employment Discrimination With The CRD?
- Any State or County government employee (current or former) who is/was subject to the provisions of the State Personnel 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 UNC 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?
- Employees alleging employment discrimination may file their charges directly with the Civil Rights Division 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.
6. How Is A Charge Of Discrimination Filed With The CRD?
- The process of filing a charge begins by contacting the Civil Rights Division by mail, telephone or in person at 1711 New Hope Church Road, Raleigh, NC 27609, and (919) 431-3036. A charge is not considered filed until the Civil Rights Division receives a signed official charge form.
7. What Information Must Be Provided To File A Charge?
- The complaining party's name, address and telephone number;
- The name, 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. What Are The Time Limits For Filing A Charge Of Discrimination With The Civil Rights Division?
- A charge must be filed with the CRD 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 EEOC.
- If a charge is received by the CRD 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 promptly when discrimination is suspected.
9. What Federal Laws Prohibiting Employment Discrimination Are Enforced By The CRD?
- 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.
- 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.
10. What Discriminatory Practices Are Prohibited By These Laws?
Under Title VII, the ADA, and the ADEA, 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;
- Use of agency facilities;
- Training and apprenticeship programs;
- Fringe benefits;
- Pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or
- Other terms and conditions of employment.
11. What Discriminatory Practices Are Included Under These 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;
- 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. What Happens After A Charge Is Filed With The CRD?
- The employer is notified that the charge has been filed and they receive a copy of the charge.
- The charge is assigned to a CRD Investigator for processing and investigation.
- The CRD 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 Investigator begins the fact finding process and interviews witnesses, etc.
13. How Does The CRD Resolve 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 employer closing the case and giving the charging party 90 days, after receiving the notice of a "right to sue" from the EEOC, in which to file a lawsuit on his or her own behalf.
- If the evidence establishes that discrimination has occurred, the employer 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 employer 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 employer. If the EEOC is unable to successfully conciliate the case, the agency 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 closing the case and giving the charging party a notice of a "right to sue" which provides 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. When Can Individual File 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 anytime 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 suit 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.