The old proverb that a “person who represents himself has a fool for a client,” still rings true. Unless you are conversant with the current laws and procedures of employment law, you will probably make mistakes. Filing discrimination complaints with the EEOC and with your state’s human rights office may seem easy, and in fact these agencies may tell you that you do not need an attorney.
The primary issue is that a person who is not familiar with the legal aspects of discrimination law may misstate or forget to include something in the complaint that will turn out to be of primary importance as the case proceeds through the legal system.
Another thing to remember when representing yourself is that your employer will have at least one attorney. Many documents that the employer must file in a discrimination complaint are required to be created by an attorney. If there is a fact-finding hearing you will be face-to-face with the attorney and your former employer, but you will have no one with you on your side. Also, by not having an attorney represent you, you will be responsible for handling the negotiations to achieve a settlement. Settlements are not easy to obtain, even for attorneys, and require some knowledge of the potential litigation that can result from an employment discrimination complaint.