Filing a Discrimination Claim - Mississippi

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

Unlike most other states, Mississippi does not have a general state anti-discrimination statute, except for a statute that covers discrimination claims for public employees only.

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

Unlike most other states, Mississippi does not have a state administrative agency to process discrimination claims.

In order to file a claim, you will need to consult your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office below. More information about filing a claim with the EEOC can be found at: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/howtofil.html.

EEOC Jackson Area Office
Dr. A.H. McCoy Federal Building
100 West Capitol Street, Suite 207
Jackson, MS 39269
Phone: (601) 965-4537
TTY: (601) 965-4915

3. What are my time deadlines?

Do not delay in contacting the EEOC to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which charges of employment discrimination must be filed. To preserve your claim, you must file with the EEOC within 180 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. Yet 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 Mississippi?

If your case is successfully resolved by the EEOC, 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 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. Exhaustion is not required for state claims, due to the lack of a state statute and administrative agency.

Because Mississippi does not have a state anti-discrimination statute, many Mississippi attorneys choose to file employment discrimination cases in federal court using federal law. A case filed in state court using federal law may be removed to federal court by the employer because it involves a federal statute, such as Title VII or the ADEA.

The EEOC must first issue the document known as Dismissal and Notice of Rights or Notice of Right to Sue (Form 161) before you can 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.)

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.) If you have received one of these EEOC letters, do not delay consulting with an attorney.

This deadline is called the statute of limitations. If your lawsuit is not filed by the deadline, then you may lose your ability to pursue a discrimination case.