California employees need to understand basic employment laws so that they are not taken advantage of by their employers. In particular, they should understand that employers cannot discriminate against employees because of the employee’s race, religion, gender, age, national origin or other similar protected categories. If discrimination occurs on these or other similar grounds, then the employee might have the right to take legal action.

Often, in these cases, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will get involved in the case. California employees, therefore, may wonder what is the role of the EEOC in workplace discrimination cases?

The EEOC is the governing body that is responsible for enforcing the federal employment laws that prohibit workplace discrimination. These laws apply to many employers throughout California, including any employer with 15 or more employees, employment agencies and unions.

If an employee alleges that they suffered from workplace discrimination, the EEOC can investigate the claim. These claims include alleged discrimination in any part of the employment process — including firing, promoting, hiring or training employees. The EEOC will also investigate wage and benefit issues and harassment claims. If, during this investigation, the EEOC finds that discrimination took place, the EEOC may bring a lawsuit against the employer or try to settle the case out of court. However, the EEOC does not have to bring a suit in every case where discrimination has occurred.

It is important for people to understand the role of the EEOC because it may be the first step in protecting a person’s employment rights. However, these cases often don’t stop with the EEOC. People who have faced discrimination at work should know that these cases often require specific legal advice which can only be obtained through an attorney.