If you are a state or local government employer, here’s a tip that may prompt a judge to dismiss an employee’s discrimination claim early on: Public employees have to first file a discrimination claim with the state Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) before going to the EEOC.
That agency then has 60 days to decide whether you violated North Carolina discrimination law. Only then can the case move on to the next level, with the filing of an EEOC complaint.
Recent case: Shirley Hardin worked briefly for the Anson County Health Department. After she was terminated, she filed an EEOC complaint alleging various forms of discrimination.
But the county got the case dismissed fast because Hardin hadn’t filed an OAH complaint. It didn’t matter that the EEOC had issued a right-to-sue letter. (Hardin v. Kateh, et al., No. 3:10-CV-260, WD NC, 2011)