When something happens on the job that makes your work impossible, or you are illegally fired or turned down for a promotion, what do you do? You know you have some "rights," but what does that mean? How do you exercise those rights?
This is never easy and why most individuals who suffer some form of workplace discrimination find it necessary to hire an attorney for their case. Because in addition to dealing with the loss of your job or a hostile work environment and the difficulties of gathering sufficient evidence to prove your case, there are the procedural issues that must be done correctly.
Procedural issues include such things as filing your complaint with the correct administrative body, under the right law and within the correct statute of limitations. You may understand what happened with job situation, and how you were fired or denied a promotion because of your age, but you may not understand that you first have to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the New York State Division of Human Rights or the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
It can be difficult for the average worker to know how to chose where to start. But simply because it is "procedure" does not mean it is not important. Many of the federal laws require that you first file "Charge of Discrimination" with the EEOC prior to filing a lawsuit.
Otherwise, you risk filing an untimely lawsuit, and you could run out of time under the statute of limitations. If you wait too long, and your time to file has expired, your claim will be barred, no matter how clear the discrimination.
Employment discrimination attorneys in New York work with all of these laws and can help explain the requirements of each. They can also work to ensure that all of your claims are filed with the proper agency and within the correct time limitations.
Source: eeoc.gov, "Filing A Charge of Discrimination," page visited September 28, 2015