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Understanding Basic Concepts About Employment Discrimination, Part III

In the last part of this three-part blog series about employment discrimination, we discuss how a lawsuit is filed and some things that may happen during the process.

Once the procedural requirements of filing a charge with either the EEOC or the state agency responsible for enforcing state employment discrimination laws have been met, and a “Right to Sue” letter obtained, a Complaint can be filed. A Complaint is a document filed with the court, and served on the opposing part(ies), that officially begins the lawsuit. The Complaint should contain a short and plain statement of the facts, law, and reasons why you are entitled to relief under the law.

After the complaint is filed with the court, the defendant(s) must file an Answer. The Answer is a response to the Complaint that sets out the defendant(s)’ response to each paragraph and allegation set out in the Complaint. Affirmative answers and defenses can also be asserted in the Answer.

Next, discovery happens. Discovery is a formal process where each party discloses to the other parties relevant information that is not privileged. Things that may be disclosed, if relevant, include names and contact information of important parties or witnesses, employment records, supporting documents, refuting documents, etc. Depositions may also occur during the discovery phase. A deposition is where a witness is formally interviewed in the presence of attorneys and a court reporter, and an official transcript is created.

Discovery generally last months, with the parties exchanging documents, taking depositions, engaging in settlement negotiations, etc. Unfortunately, many times, attorneys withhold documents from the other side. However, there are many ways to still obtain documents that are wrongfully withheld.

Because employment discrimination litigation is complex and nuanced, it is to your advantage to consult an attorney who is skilled in navigating the litigation process. Feel free to contact us to see if Employment Lawyer Ada K. Wong can help you in your employment matter at (425) 954-3512 or


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