Filing a Discrimination Claim - Kansas

1. What kinds of discrimination are against state law in Kansas?

Kansas law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, disability, ancestry, national origin and age. Genetic screening and testing in the area of employment are also prohibited.

2. How do I file a discrimination claim in Kansas?

A discrimination claim can be filed either with the state administrative agency, the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC) or the federal administrative agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The two agencies have what is called a work-sharing agreement, which means that the agencies cooperate with each other to process claims. Filing a claim with both agencies is unnecessary, as long as you indicate to one of the agencies that you want it to cross-file the claim with the other agency.

The Kansas anti-discrimination statute covers some smaller employers not covered by federal law. Therefore, if your workplace has between 6 and 14 employees, you should file with the KHRC, as the EEOC enforces federal law which covers only employers with 15 or more employees. If your workplace has 15 or more employees, you may file with either agency; however, some attorneys in Kansas recommend that you file with the KHRC first for all types of discrimination claims.

To file a claim with the KHRC, contact your closest office below. More information about filing a claim with the KHRC can be found at http://www.khrc.net.

Main Office, Topeka:
900 S.W. Jackson, Suite 851-S
Topeka, KS 66612-1258
Phone: (785) 296-3206
Toll Free: (888) 793-6874
Fax: (785) 296-0589
TTY: (785) 296-0245

Dodge City Office:
100 Military Plaza, Suite 220
Dodge City, KS 67801-4945
Phone: (620) 225-4804
Fax: (620) 225-4986
Wichita Office:
130 S. Market, Suite 7050
Wichita, KS 67202-3827
Phone: (316) 337-6270
Fax: (316) 337-7376
TTY: (316) 337-6272

Independence Office:
200 Arco Place, Suite 121
Independence, KS 67301-5353
Phone: (620) 331-7083
Fax: (620) 225-4986

To file a claim with the EEOC, contact your local EEOC office below. More information about filing a claim with the EEOC can be found at http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/howtofil.html.

EEOC Kansas City Area Office
400 State Avenue
Suite 905
Kansas City, KS 66101
Phone: (913) 551-5655
TTY: (913) 551-5657

3. What are my time deadlines?

Do not delay in contacting the KHRC or EEOC to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which charges of employment discrimination must be filed. To preserve your claim under state law, you must file with the KHRC within six months of the date you believe you were discriminated against. To preserve your claim under federal law, you must file with the EEOC within 300 days of the date you believe you were discriminated against. However, as you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. You may wish to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, if possible. If you are unable to find an attorney who will assist you, it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim with the state and federal administrative agencies.

4. How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in Kansas?

If your case is successfully resolved by an administrative agency, it may not be necessary to hire an attorney or file a lawsuit (to resolve your case, you probably will be required as to sign a release of your legal claims). If your case is not resolved by the KHRC or EEOC and you may want to continue to pursue the matter, you will need to pursue your claim in court. A federal employment discrimination case cannot be filed in court without first going to the EEOC, as discussed above, and having the EEOC dismiss your claim. This process is called "exhaustion" of your administrative remedy. Similarly, before you can proceed with a lawsuit based on your state discrimination claim, you must file with the KHRC.

Because the state antidiscrimination statute limits the amount of compensatory (emotional pain and suffering) damages to $2000, many attorneys in Kansas choose to file employment discrimination cases in federal court.

Once the EEOC issues the document known as Dismissal and Notice of Rights or Notice of Right to Sue (Form 161), only then can you file a case based upon your federal claim. A lawsuit based on your federal discrimination claim must be filed in federal or state court within 90 days of the date you receive the notice. (Be sure to mark down that date when you receive the notice.) Cases filed in Kansas state court must be filed within 3 years of the date you believe you were discriminated against. These deadlines are called the statute of limitations. If you have received one of these EEOC letters, do not delay consulting with an attorney. If your lawsuit is not filed by the deadline, then you may lose your ability to pursue a discrimination case.