Kansas City Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Lenexa, Kansas, Employment Discrimination Attorney
Employment discrimination cases (based on race, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin or citizenship) cannot be filed directly in court. They are first required to be filed in one of the appropriate investigative agencies. Under federal law, that agency is the EEOC.
Under Kansas state law, it is the KHRC and under Missouri state law it is the MCHR. The state agencies operate under a “work-sharing” agreement through which cases may be dual filed in both the EEOC and the appropriate state agency. It is critically important to understand that these agencies are investigative agencies only. They do not have the power to independently issue orders or similar actions.
All employment discrimination claims must first be filed in the appropriate investigative agency. A lawsuit cannot be filed until after the agency has concluded its handling of the matter. At The Law Office of Rodney K. Murrow, P.A., we handle employment discrimination claims at the state and federal level in Kansas and Missouri. Whether you are a small business owner who is confronting a claim of employment discrimination or you are an employee who believes you have a valid claim, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss the specifics.
Many cases originate with a filing with the EEOC. The matter will first be referred to the mediation division. This occurs before any investigation has occurred. A case will proceed to mediation only if both parties agree to mediate. If they do agree, then a specially-trained mediator will be assigned to conduct a mediation and help the parties settle or otherwise resolve the case. There are some important things to keep in mind about this process:
- Mediation is a process designed to help the parties reach an agreement. A case is settled only by agreement of both of the parties. The mediator has no authority to “make” someone settle a case. A mediator’s job is to help the parties reach that agreement, if possible.
- When a case is mediated, there has been no investigation or other discovery. The mediator will discuss the facts with both sides, but at this early stage, there has been no formal exchange of documents or witness testimony. It is important to understand that mediation is offered at this early stage to save the time and expense of investigation and discovery. However, that also means that the parties may have incomplete information about the case and the opposing party's claims or defenses.
- Settling a particular case at mediation may be a wise decision for some cases.
However, because it happens so early in the process, some people find it a little frustrating that they didn’t “get their day in court” or have the opportunity to develop the facts more fully, even if they agree to settle their case. This must be weighed against the pros and cons of not settling the case and moving forward, as will be described by your attorney.
If the parties don’t agree to mediate or the case doesn’t settle at mediation if they did agree to mediate, the case proceeds on to investigation. An investigator will be assigned who will conduct an investigation. This investigation may involve interviewing the parties or witnesses, requesting documents or other methods of gathering facts.
Once the investigation is completed, the investigator will usually issue a finding and close the file. Sometimes, the investigator will issue an “administrative closure”, which means the agency closes to file without issuing any findings.
The most important thing the investigator does in closing the file is issue a “right to sue letter.” A “right to sue” letter is required in order to be able to file a lawsuit in state or federal court. It tells the court that you have first been through the agency proceeding as required.
From there, employment discrimination cases proceed as any other case filed in court. Employment law attorney Rod Murrow has over 20 years of experience helping people pursue and defend themselves in employment discrimination claims at the mediation and trial stage. Contact him today to schedule a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your claim.
When you need a professional who goes the distance:
The Law Office of Rodney K. Murrow, P.A.
8841 Long Street
Lenexa, KS 66215
• Phone: 913-492-6200 • E-Mail • Fax: 913-227-0149
An employment law lawyer & discrimination attorney serving Kansas City, and the surrounding areas of Kansas and Missouri, including but not limited to, Topeka, Lawrence, Independence, Olathe, Overland Park, Liberty, Lee's Summit, Ottawa, Mound City, Bonner Springs, Atchison, Paola, Emporia, Jefferson City, Salina, Eudora, Columbia, Springfield, Blue Springs, Concordia, Harrisonville, in KS and MO, as well as Wyandotte County, Leavenworth County, Johnson County, Douglas County, Jackson County, Clay County, Franklin County, Miami County, Linn County, Shawnee County, Cass County, Lyon County and Platte County.