If mediation is unsuccessful, the next step is litigation. Prior to filing a lawsuit, a formal complaint must be filed with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or a state government agency.
There are certain time restrictions when filing a complaint with the EEOC. If the grievance and mediation processes are taking too long and not producing results, the victim may need to file a complaint with the EEOC prior to completing the previous processes. Keep the following time frames in mind:
Once the EEOC has received the formal complaint they must complete an investigation within 180 days from the date they received the complaint. The investigation goal is to determine whether the harassment is severe or pervasive to the point that it is illegal. Hearings may take place if needed and ultimately the agency issues a final decision. Depending on this decision, legal actions may take place and the victim may decide to sue the company.