Contents of EEOC Charges of Discrimination

You must state your full name, address, and telephone number.

You must identify every company, labor union, employment agency, State Employment Service, joint training program, or other entity that you think was responsible for the discrimination, retaliation, or harassment. State the name, address, telephone number, and approximate number of employees of the employer or number of members of the labor union. The numbers are important, so that the EEOC knows if the employer is large enough to be covered by the law in question, and what the damages cap would be. State the numbers for the employer as a whole if you know them, or for the largest unit you can. “Over 500” is perfectly good for a large company.

If you have reason to believe a parent company is responsible for the discrimination, retaliation, or harassment, you must state the name, address, telephone number, and approximate number of employees of the subsidiary for which you work or did work, and the name, address, telephone number, and approximate number of employees of the parent company. You can often get this information from your local library (Standard & Poor’s) or from the Internet. State in your charge why you think the parent company is partly or entirely responsible for the discrimination.

If you have reason to believe that the International labor union – not just the local union – is responsible for the discrimination, retaliation, or harassment, you must state the name, address, telephone number, and approximate number of members of the local union, and the name, address, telephone number, and approximate number of members of the International union. You can often get this information from your local library (Standard & Poor’s) or from the Internet. State in your charge why you think the International union is partly or entirely responsible for the discrimination.

In your EEOC charge, you must say that you want the EEOC to cross-file the charge with every State or local fair employment practices agency, for investigation of your rights under every State or local law that applies to your claims. If you previously filed a claim with the State or local agency governing the conduct about which you now complain, it may already legally be before the EEOC under a work-sharing agreement. In that case, you must state when you filed the charge, identify the agency, and state that your charge is an amendment that relates back to the filing of the original charge.

You must include every type of discrimination, retaliation, or harassment that you may want to include in a lawsuit later on, including failure to hire, failure to promote, failure to train, job and departmental assignment, different treatment on the job, discipline, firing, warning to quit or be fired, failure to re-hire, hostile environment, or failure to allow you into a union.

You must include every unlawful motivation that cannot be ruled out at the outset: discrimination because of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, perceived disability, record of a disability, or association with a disabled person. Many times, you may not know for certain whether the employer or union or employment agency is discriminating against you because of your age or sex or race or other reason, so you need to rule out everything that can be ruled out at this stage, put down every remaining reason that you think is plausible, and rule out some of the remaining motivations as you get more information. See the discussion on “What is your protected group?