How to file a complaint against an abusive employer

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Under federal law, employees can file different types of complaints against abusive employers. The type of complaint an employee must file depends on the specific violation or cause of action. In addition to filing complaints against employers based on federal laws, employees can file complaints at the same time with state agencies based on the labour laws of their states. Workers can sue their employers for abusing federal wages and hours laws, for violating federal equal employment opportunities laws or for violation of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health. A different federal agency enforces each of these laws. Although the complaint process is similar with all federal agencies the items you will need Specific data on abusive practices

  • Determine what law your employer has violated. Because the basis of abusive work practices can be complaints of job security, violations of wages and hours, or equal employment laws, determining that the law was violated and that the agency to file the lawsuit is important. Hostile work environments are the basis of many abusive labour violations. Under federal regulations for equal employment opportunities, employers are responsible for their hostile acts and are indirectly responsible for the abusive practices of their employees. Under federal law against discrimination laws governing employers, you have the right to work in an environment without discrimination or hostility based on race, national origin of information, religion, gender, disability.
  • Notify your employer of abusive practices. The Equal Opportunity Commission does not investigate complaints against abusive employers if an employee did not report abusive practices or hostile work environment. According to federal anti-discrimination laws, the employer is not responsible for abusive work practices unless they are first reported. If your employer is abusive, you may be able to file a complaint directly with the commission, because the abuse is not covered by the exception of vicarious liability.
  • Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if your employer has violated your rights to a hostile work-free environment. In addition, if your employers have not applied specific policies in an effort to terminate the abusive treatment of other employees, you can contact the commission directly. As of publication, the commission has 53 offices, a local office is responsible for investigating your complaint. Alternatively, you can file a complaint by sending a written letter to the national headquarters. Your letter should include your employer’s contact information, the date the abuse occurred, the basis of your claim and a summary of why you think you were abused. You must sign your letter. You must also include the total number of employees working in the company.
  • Receive a letter of determination from the Equal Opportunity Commission. If the Commission considers that your claim is admissible, it will transfer your case to the Department of Justice or transfer your case to staff lawyers within the legal department. If you believe your claim is not a case that is meritorious or a claim that can be filed, the commission will send you a written determination. After receiving the determination, you can sue your employer in federal court.


  • The Code of Federal Regulations codifies federal equal employment opportunity laws. Under federal law, applicants must file their claims within 180 days for most allowable claims limitations.
  • Plaintiffs do not have standing in federal court until they obtain a letter of final determination from the Equal Opportunity Commission. Therefore, failure to comply with the administrative procedure of the laws of the commission may lead to the dismissal of your complaint.


  • The information in this article is a general guide. Due to the sensitive nature of lawsuits, seek the advice of a licensed attorney in your state or contact your state bar association for information on free legal assistance.