Under federal law, in most cases, before one can file a lawsuit against an employer for discrimination, one must have first filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC.) The question then arises, how does one go about filing such a charge?
The website for the Oklahoma City office of the EEOC indicates that while it is not necessary to have an appointment to come in and file a charge, it may be a good idea to call the office first to determine whether the matter for which you are seeking remedy is one that the EEOC would have jurisdiction over, and that the filing of any charge would be within the time limits imposed by law. Because an in-office visit can take a couple of hours, this would help avoid some wasted time if the legal requirements for filing a claim with the commission are not met.
Prospective charge filers will be screened by a commission employee, either in person or over the phone, and will question the filer with regard to the specifics of the alleged discrimination. Any individual wishing to file a charge should be prepared to give information about him- or herself and the employer against whom the charge is being filed, including the number of employees that work there. You should also be able to provide any documentary evidence regarding the claim and the contact information of any witnesses to the alleged discrimination.
Both federal and state laws protect employees from discrimination on certain grounds, as well as providing protection from retaliation by an employer against a person who has reported or helped another in a discrimination claim. If you have questions about your specific situation, and what the law requires, you may wish to consult an experienced Oklahoma employment law attorney.
Source: US EEOC, "Filing a Charge with this Office," accessed Nov. 25, 2014