Protecting Your Federal and Kansas Employment Rights: Filing Charges of Discrimination

Michael M. Shultz

If you are a Kansas employee and think you have been the victim of discrimination under federal and Kansas employment laws, you must act to protect your rights. The first question you might ask when you think your rights have been violated is "Do I need an attorney?" Although you do not have to have an attorney to file a charge of discrimination, it is very helpful for you to have an attorney when you file a charge because this is an important legal process. It is like taking your car to the mechanic and having your own expert along to help you with the process!

Federal and Kansas employment discrimination laws are complex, and a knowledgeable Kansas employment attorney can ensure that you do not lose your employment rights. It is important to know where to file your charge and how to file your charge. An employment attorney can also start negotiating with your company and send a letter to your employer advising that you have legal representation.

Now you want to know if this will cost you a lot of money. The answer is "no." Most attorneys in this area of law will take your case on a contingent fee basis and will not charge you for this work. A contingent fee basis means that you do not have any out-of-pocket expenses and the attorney advances the costs of pursuing your rights. The Kansas employment attorney takes a percentage of any money you receive in settlement of your claims or of any judgment you eventually receive if the matter goes to court. If there is no recovery, then you owe the attorney nothing.

For most forms of discrimination, it is critical for Kansas employees that you file a charge of discrimination with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Kansas Human Rights Commission within specific time limits. As long as your Kansas employer has enough employees (15 under most circumstances, 20 in the case of age discrimination), you can file a charge with the EEOC. Usually, if you contact the EEOC, they will send you a long questionnaire and help you file a charge, but this process can take several weeks. A Kansas employment attorney can help you file your charge immediately. However, the charge must be filed within 300 days from when the discrimination occurred. The exception to this rule is if a Kansas employee has experienced sexual harassment. Then, the law is more liberal about being able to file a charge.

The Kansas employee must file a charge with the Kansas Human Rights Commission within 180 days of the discrimination. Again, extra time can exist for sexual harassment cases. A Kansas employment attorney can help you decide whether it is to your benefit to file with the KHRC or not. Usually, it will be enough to file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission unless the Kansas employer is small without enough employees to be subject to federal law.

It is important that the charge form be filled out correctly. If you think that you have been discriminated against based upon age and race, but you only mark the "race box," you might lose your right to complaint about age discrimination later. It is also important to make a charge of retaliation if that has occurred before you file your charge with the EEOC or KHRC.

A Kansas employment attorney can help you get your case off to the right start. If you are a Kansas employee and think your rights have been violated, you should contact a competent Kansas employment law attorney. You have rights. Make sure you protect them.

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