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Legal Procedures in Job Discrimination Cases


Legal Procedures in Job Discrimination Cases (1967)

Discrimination by private employer or labor union

1. If your state (or municipality) has a fair employment law including sex, write to the state agency which enforces the law, by registered mail, giving all the facts of the discrimination. (State FEP laws)

2. If your state (or municipality) does not have such a law, file a complaint directly with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office (find address in current Government Organization Manual at your public library), or at the EEOC, 1800 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. Complaint forms are available from the EEOC. Title VII covers employers having 50 or more employees and labor unions with 50 or more members (or which operate a hiring hall); as of next July 2, 25 or more employees or members. Note: charges must be filed within 90 days after the discriminatory practice occurred. (Title VII)

3. If in a case under (1) above, the state agency is unable to stop the discrimination within 60 days of the registered letter, or if the state agency terminates the proceedings before then, you may file with the EEOC as in (2) above, but you must file within 210 days of the discriminatory practice or 30 days after receiving notice that State proceedings have terminated, whichever is earlier.

4. If the EEOC notifies the complainant that it is unable to obtain compliance with Title VII, the complainant may, within 30 days, file a civil action against the employer or union in the Federal district court. (Title VII)

5. In cases of sex discrimination in pay, you may also simply write or telephone the U.S. Labor Department Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Division regional office (see Government Organization Manual) or write to that Division of the Labor Department in Washington, D.C. (FLSA Equal Pay Act). Note: there are some exceptions to this law but unless you are sure the law does not apply, notify the Labor Department.

6. If an employer or union has a general practice of widespread sex discrimination, send the information to the Attorney General of the United States and ask him to bring an action. Title VII gives the Attorney General this authority.

7. In all cases where complaints are filed with the EEOC or where any court action is take, immediately notify the chairman of the NOW legal committee, Suite 500, 1629 K Street N.W., Washington, D.C.

Discrimination by a state or local governmental agency (e.g., civil service, public schools and institutions)

1. These cases are not covered by Title VII. However, some of the State fair employment or civil service laws apply to sex discrimination in governmental employment. If your state (or city) has such a law, proceed as in (1) above.

2. Whether or not your state has such a law, a court action, in Federal or State court, can be filed against the agency or official which discriminates, on the ground that such discrimination violates due process of law and equal protection of the laws under the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution (and in some States, the State Constitution).

Discrimination caused by a State law or regulation (e.g. a law prohibiting employment of women in certain work, maximum hours restrictions on women only and weight lifting restrictions applying only to women)

An action can be filed in a three-judge Federal court to restrain the State officials from enforcing the discriminatory law, on the ground that the law is unconstitutional.

Discrimination in Federal employment

File a complaint with the equal employment opportunity officer of the particular agency. If the case is not satisfactorily resolved within the agency, a complainant may appeal to the United States Civil Service Commission.

Discrimination by labor union

A suit may be filed in Federal court to enjoin a labor union from discriminating against women workers and for damages for such discrimination. The Supreme Court has held that under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, labor unions must represent all workers fairly and equally and without arbitrary discrimination.

Note: In all types of cases, the facts supporting the charge of sex discrimination are important. In some cases, more than one of the above procedures may be applicable.

If you are in doubt as to what to do in a particular case, write to the NOW legal committee at the national headquarters giving as much information as possible on the case.

Other Techniques

1. A NOW chapter delegation can ask to meet with and persuade an employer, union, or government agency to change its discriminatory policy.

2. Have a press conference to dramatize and give publicity, and elicit public support, for a case.

3. Picket.

4. Try to get state legislatures to equalize all state labor laws or repeal special restrictions on women.

5. If your state has an FEP law which does not include sex, get sex added; if no FEP law, get one passed with sex in it, such as the model state civil rights law, which includes a prohibition against sex discrimination in employment.

If you are in doubt as to what laws your state has, ask an attorney member to look it up, or write to the NOW legal committee at the national headquarters.






(Including City,State, Zip Code)

Male Female

(Area Code) Phone Number

When did the alleged discriminatory act take place? (Day) (Month) (Year)

Who discriminated?(Name of company, union, etc. -include address)

Describe briefly what happened that leads you to believe that you were discriminated against because of your sex?

Have you filed a charge of this discriminatory act with any agency?

If yes, specify which agency and when?Have you taken any court action in regards to this alleged discrimination?

If yes, specify where and when.


I would like the National Organization for Women to take appropriate action to process the foregoing charge of discrimination in my behalf.

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