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Judicial Stage

Regulations for Filing a Civil Action

A Federal sector complainant has to first exhaust the administrative process set out at 29 CFR 1614 before filing a civil suit. The regulations provide that civil actions may be filed in an appropriate federal court:

  • Within 90-calendar days of receipt of the final action where no administrative appeal has been filed
  • After 180-calendar days from the date of filing a complaint if an administrative appeal has not been filed and final action has not been taken
  • Within 90-calendar days of receipt of EEOC's final decision on an appeal
  • After 180-calendar days from the filing of an appeal with EEOC if there has been no final decision by the EEOC
  • 29 CFR 1614.408, Code of Federal Regulations governing the EEO Process

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), a complainant may proceed directly to Federal court after giving the EEOC notice of intent to sue (29 CFR 1614.201).

Under the Equal Pay Act, a complainant may file a civil action within 2 years (3 years for willful violations), regardless of whether he or she has pursued an administrative complaint (29 CFR 1614.409). The EEOC processing of an appeal is ended once a civil action is terminated.

Last updated: Thursday, October 8, 2015