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Know the Deadlines

There are strict time deadlines for filing claims. The EEOC can help you only if you keep to all the time requirements.

If at all possible, file a charge with the EEOC within 180 days of the discriminatory action or when you first became aware of the discriminatory action, whichever occurred first. In many states, the time limit to file an ADEA charge is extended to 300 days. 

Call the EEOC toll-free at 800-669-4000 or visit the agency’s Web site for information on time limits. Get details on exactly what you have to do to file a charge.

To Sue or Not to Sue

It takes a strong commitment to pursue an age-discrimination suit. While it’s important to know your rights under the ADEA, the law in itself is not the solution to all problems. Consult your lawyer and family before proceeding.  

  • Legal costs could run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and the legal process could take many months or even years.
  • A lawsuit can take an emotional and personal toll on you and your family.
  • You may never have your day in court. In those cases where employees have solid evidence of age bias, research shows that employers are inclined to settle outside of court.

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This article was originally published on February 16, 2009.

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