A right to sue letter is issued by the EEOC for complaints that it does not intend to represent in court. It is highly unusual for the EEOC to take a case into court. There are three common groups of complaints that will get this letter.
1. Many times the EEOC can get the employer to correct a discrimination problem without the employer admitting any
guilt in the current case. This may protect employees going forward, but does little to resolve the issue with the particular employee that brought the first complaint, unless the employer and employee agree to a settlement.
2. In other complaints, the EEOC investigators cannot find any evidence that there ever was a violation of the discrimination laws. This does not mean that the employee who brought the suit was not discriminated against; it only means that the investigator was unable to find any conclusive proof of discrimination. An employee must remember that the time from the discrimination incident to the point when the investigator looks at the case can be more than one year. In that period of time documents can be lost, witnesses can forget, and the supervisor that caused the initial problem may have moved on to a new company.
3. Finally, there are some cases where an employee filed an EEOC complaint due to an incident that does not violate the discrimination laws that the EEOC enforces or, upon investigation, does not appear to have happened in the manner that the employee remembers it.
What the right to sue letter says is that the EEOC is not taking this case to court, but if the employee wants to, he or she can pay to have the case taken to trial in the federal district court. It is a trial in every sense and expense. Just filing a case in this court is complex.