| Read Time: 4 minutes | Discrimination
How to File a Racial Discrimination Complaint in Arizona

Not all is fair in business, and not all business practices are legal. The illegal business practice we want to discuss today is racial discrimination in the workplace. Whether you are currently working or seeking a job, an employer cannot withhold work or work benefits from you or mistreat you because of your race. Below, we summarize how to file a racial discrimination complaint in Arizona. 

If you hire an experienced employment discrimination attorney at Shields Petitti & Zoldan, PLC, we can maximize your damages in a racial discrimination complaint. We have more than three decades of combined experience and don’t back down from a fight. Reach out to us whenever you face mistreatment at work. We can help.

The Laws That Protect You

Together, section 41-1463 of Arizona’s civil rights laws and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbid employers from taking any actions against an employee or job applicant for any of the following reasons:

  • Race,
  • Religion,
  • Age (40 or older),
  • Disability, 
  • National origin,
  • Sex, or
  • Color. 

 Negative employment actions could include:

  • A job termination,
  • A refusal to hire,
  • A reduction in pay,
  • Harassment,
  • A demotion,
  • An unwanted job transfer,
  • Exclusion from job opportunities,
  • A refusal to promote, or
  • A refusal to reasonably accommodate a disability.

You can complain against or sue your employer to receive financial damages and other legal relief if you suspect that a misfortune you encountered at work occurred because of your race. 

Preparing for a Lawsuit or Complaint

Your legal action against a discriminatory employer starts before you file any paperwork to initiate the complaint. Before filing, you need to gather evidence of the discrimination, and you might have to file an internal complaint with a supervisor or your employer’s human resources department. Knowing where to start based on the facts of your case is crucial, and speaking to an experienced attorney before you take action can be essential to a positive outcome in your claim.

Gathering Evidence

You want to start collecting evidence of unlawful behavior at the first sign of racial discrimination. This evidence could include:

  • Witness testimony,
  • Notes regarding each discriminatory incident,
  • Employment records,
  • Copies of correspondence,
  • Pictures,
  • Copies of job applications,
  • Employer policies,
  • Disciplinary records,
  • Employment contracts,
  • Complaint records, and 
  • Personnel files.

You might have easy access to some of this information, but for other information, you may have to file a claim and make official requests for it through the legal system. Our skilled attorneys can help you navigate the evidence collection process (also called “discovery” once your case is open) to obtain the best proof for your case.

Filing an Internal Complaint 

Sometimes, moving forward with a racial discrimination complaint is far more difficult if you don’t first file a complaint with your employer. If you have suffered workplace harassment based on your race, your employer might avoid liability if it can prove:

  • You unreasonably failed to use the employer’s preventive or corrective procedures for addressing harassment; and 
  • The employer reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassment. 

Reporting misconduct can be difficult depending on the circumstances of the discrimination you experienced, but it doesn’t have to be when you have good counsel. You should speak to an attorney immediately to determine your case’s best course of action. 

How to File a Racial Discrimination Lawsuit in Arizona

Filing a racial discrimination lawsuit in Arizona is generally phase two of a racial discrimination claim. Mistreated workers must first receive a state or federal government notice stating they have a right to sue. And that notice comes after you file an administrative discrimination complaint with the government. 

If you receive a Notice of Right to Sue from the federal government, you must file your suit within 90 days of the notice. You must file a state lawsuit against your employer within one year after filing your administrative complaint with the state.

If you have a right-to-sue notice, you can file a civil complaint with the court in the proper jurisdiction. This complaint typically includes your and your employer’s information and short, factual statements about what happened in your case. After you file your paperwork with the court, you must obtain a court summons and serve the complaint on your employer.

Service means having a constable or certified private process server deliver the paperwork to your employer’s agent. Your case can begin once you file a proper proof of service with the court. Now, let’s get to how you file the administrative complaint that can give you the right to sue.

Filing a Racial Discrimination Complaint

You can file an administrative racial discrimination complaint against your employer with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Civil Rights Division of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. Private and state employees have 180 days to file a complaint with the EEOC or Civil Rights Division. However, if your EEOC complaint is also covered by state anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC gives you 300 days to file with the federal agency. 

Once you have filed your claim with either government agency, the agency can investigate and resolve it through settlement or a hearing. You might also receive notice from the agency that you can sue your employer in civil court. If you cannot wait, applying for an expedited right to sue is another option.

Our knowledgeable attorneys can identify which type of complaint is best for your case and timely file all appropriate paperwork. We can also present the best arguments and evidence to support your position.

Contact Shields Petitti & Zoldan, PLC, Today

A fight against your employer can feel like a fight for your life, especially if your employer has engaged in racial discriminatory behavior. Our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience in the legal industry and have recovered over $25 million in settlements. If you need a powerful advocate, reach out to us today. You can contact us online or call us to schedule a consultation.

Author Photo

Attorney Michael Zoldan provides legal counsel to individuals and small businesses throughout Arizona. Mr. Zoldan’s practice is based on aggressive and detail-oriented representation, focusing on employment discrimination, wage and hour disputes, harassment, and wrongful termination. Prior to forming Shields Petitti & Zoldan, Mr. Zoldan worked for numerous law firms where he had an opportunity to hone his litigation skills by working on multiple litigation cases at a time with some of the most skilled litigators in the state.

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