Filing Complaints

If you are facing discrimination and want to file a complaint with a governmental agency, human rights commission, school district, or file a lawsuit in court, there are deadlines and other details about the process you need to know before taking any action.

Know the Due Date

First, make sure you know when your complaint is due.

Many complaint processes have strict time deadlines for filing a complaint, and these deadlines cannot easily be waived.

In some cases, complaints must be filed very quickly in order to preserve your legal rights. For example, federal government employees must contact their agency’s equal employment opportunity office within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory action.

In other situations, the deadline for filing a complaint will be based on a number of factors, including the type of claim and your state’s laws.

It’s best to consult a knowledgeable attorney so that you don’t miss any deadlines.

File It

Second, consider filing a complaint even if you don’t yet have an attorney or aren’t yet sure of your plan to address the discrimination.

In many instances, filing an administrative complaint is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit in court, so if you don’t file a timely complaint you will be barred from later filing a lawsuit in court.

Filing a complaint helps you preserve your legal options.

Due to the number of various places complaints may be filed, and often based on the type of complaint filed, there is no way to list the time filing requirements for every diabetes discrimination issue.

Here are some of the most common types of complaints, where to file the complaint, and the deadline for filing:

Employment Claims

  • Federal government employees must file complaints with their agency’s equal employment opportunity (EEO) office within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory action. You can read more about the federal sector complaint process here.
  • Private sector employees must file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or with their state fair employment agency within 180/300 days of the alleged discriminatory action. (Note: all but five states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina – extend the time to file complaints from 180 days to 300 days.) You can read more about filing a complaint of discrimination with EEOC here.
  • Lawsuits must be filed in state or federal court within 90 days of receipt of the notice of right to sue.

Education Claims

  • Complaints involving all public schools and any private school receiving federal financial assistance may file complaints with U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights within 180 days. You can read more about filing a complaint with OCR here. There is an online complaint form available.
  • Complaints involving private schools that do not receive federal financial assistance may be filed with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section. You can find instructions for filing a complaint with DOJ here.
  • Complaints involving violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be filed with the appropriate entity based on the state’s due process procedures. Contact your state department of education for more information on this process.

For information relative to a specific situation, please call us at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) so that we can help you navigate through the process.

  • Last Reviewed: October 1, 2013
  • Last Edited: July 18, 2014

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