The Florida Commission on Human Relations (Employment Discrimination)

Floridians are entitled by law to to be protected from employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability or marital status. It is important to review with an attorney where best to file your Complaint or charge. The EEOC through Federal law or County ordinances may provide alternatives in how to enforce your rights against an employer. This page does not address other claims and procedures handled by FCHR.

Filing a Complaint with the FCHR

Any aggrieved person may file a complaint with the FCHR within 365 days of the alleged violation. The complaint must be in writing, signed and verified by the complainant. A complaint must be sufficiently precise to identify the parties and to describe generally the action or practice complained of. § 760.11(1), Fla. Stat.; Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Y-5.001(3), (5)-(6). A complaint may be filed via fax, mail, email or in-person.

The Commission Then Files a Copy on the Respondent

Upon receipt of a complete and timely filed complaint, the FCHR will send notice of the filing and a copy of the complaint to the respondent by registered mail within five (5) days. § 760.11(1); Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Y-5.001(9). The FCHR will assign an FCHR case number that should be included on all correspondence. The respondent may file an answer to the complaint within 25 days of the date of notice of the filing. § 760.11(1); Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Y-5.0011.

The Investigator Shall Request Information and Make Inquiries Into the Allegations

The investigator assigned to the case will request information concerning the facts and circumstances surrounding the complaint. Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Y-5.003(1)-(3). In the event that any person fails to provide requested information, the FCHR may issue subpoenas. Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Y- 5.003(6)-(7). The FCHR shall endeavor to investigate the allegations in the complaint within 180 days of the filing of the complaint. § 760.11(3).

Mediation

During the investigative process, the parties are given the opportunity to engage in mediation. An FCHR mediator will meet with the parties either in-person or telephonically. The parties have 45 days from the date the case is assigned to a mediator to participate in mediation. A complaint which has been settled will be dismissed upon completion of the terms of the agreement. Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Y-5.003(10). A complaint which reaches an impasse will be returned to the investigator to complete the investigative process.

What Happens if a Determination is not Issued Within the Statutory Timeframes?

In an employment discrimination complaint, if a determination is not issued within 180 days, the complaining party may proceed to court as if a cause determination had been issued.

Determinations:

Reasonable Cause: A Notice of Determination of No Reasonable Cause, No Jurisdiction or Untimeliness advises the complainant of the right to file a petition for relief, pursuant to Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Y-5.008, within 35 days of the date of determination (date signed by the Executive Director).

Reasonable Cause: A Notice of Determination of Reasonable Cause includes an invitation to participate in conciliation and advises the complainant of the elective right to file either a petition for relief, pursuant to Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Y-5.008, within 35 days of the date of determination or a civil action within one year of the date of determination.

Do you Need an Attorney?

The simple answer is, no. However, it may be extremely helpful to Claimants seeking redress to have counsel. I can’t tell you how many potential clients have gone through this process and sat down with me just for me to have to tell him or her the FCHR charge is insufficient for us to have success despite the Agency’s reasonable cause determination. If you fail to preserve the charge by including everything, then you may hinder your ability to succeed. Every month I have clients speak with me regarding their right to sue letter or notice and they tell me how they were terminated, demoted etc. and I don’t see the same facts being discussed on the charge. Another common issue is statements made during the investigation process are inconsistent with the theory of the case or harmful to your case. Please remember that the investigator is IS NOT YOUR ATTORNEY and he or she is not responsible for preserving your case for court/trial.

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