Filing a Discrimination Claim – Wyoming
1. What kinds of discrimination are against state law in Wyoming?
Wyoming law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a qualified disabled person or any person otherwise qualified, because of age (age 40 and over), sex, race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry or pregnancy;
2. How do I file a discrimination claim in Wyoming?
You must file a discrimination claim with the state administrative agency, the Labor Standards Division of the Wyoming Department of Employment (WLSD). The state agency has what is called a work-sharing agreement, with the federal administrative agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 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 WLSD that you want it to cross-file the claim with the EEOC.
The Wyoming anti-discrimination statute covers some smaller employers not covered by federal law. Therefore, if your workplace has between 2 and 14 employees, you will only be covered under state law, and should file with the WLSD. If your workplace has 15 or more employees, you will be able to initiate a claim under both federal and state law by filing with the WLSD.
To file a claim with the WLSD, contact the nearest office below. More information about filing a claim with the WLSD can be found at http://wydoe.state.wy.us/doe.asp?ID=247.
1510 E. Pershing Blvd.
West Wing Room 150
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Phone: (307) 777-7261
Fax: (307) 777-5633
100 West Midwest
PO Box 2760
Casper, WY 82602
Phone: (307) 235-3679
3. What are my time deadlines?
Do not delay in contacting the WLSD or EEOC to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which charges of employment discrimination must be filed. To preserve your state claim, you must file with the WLSD within six month of the date you believe you were discriminated against. To preserve your claim under federal law, you must file with the WLSD (who will refer your claim to 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. 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 Wyoming?
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 WLSD 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.
There is no private right of action under Wyoming law for discrimination claims, which means that individuals cannot file a lawsuit in court under Wyoming law.
The Wyoming anti-discrimination law permits very limited remedies and does not permit a court action to be filed under state law. Therefore, many Wyoming attorneys choose to file employment discrimination cases in federal court using federal law. A case filed in state court using federal law may be subject to removal, which means that a defendant employer requests to move the case to federal court because it involves a federal statute, such as Title VII or the ADEA.
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.). If you have received one of these EEOC notices, 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.
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