If you have filed a complaint with the EEOC, you may get a right to sue letter. The letter allows the employee to sue the employer in federal district court. However, the employee will probably have to pay for his or her own attorney since the EEOC will only represent an employee in very rare instances (approximately 0.01% of all the EEOC cases filed in the United States). Not every attorney who files a complaint with the EEOC or participates in EEOC mediations will take a case into the federal district court.
There are a number of reasons for this. Many district courts require that an attorney agree to be available to assist the court in other pro bono appointed cases in order to be allowed to bring any cases before the court. For a small law firm or solo attorney, a time consuming pro bono appointment can mean a financial disaster for the firm.
Cases that go into the federal district court are very time consuming for an attorney. Many attorneys have a full case load with appearance at the EEOC and other agencies, without having to put that work on hold to work up a full district court trial.
Sadly, many cases, although completely valid, are impossible to prove in a court. The common case is where a conversation or act of discrimination happened between the employee and employer, without anyone else being present. Without any solid evidence, the case is very difficult to win because it comes down to he said/ she said.
It also may be that the attorney feels that the case will only drain the employee of money and time. Contrary to the popular opinion that most attorneys are only out to take a client’s money, most attorneys will sit down with a client who has this type of case and explain that the case can go on for years, cost a lot, and result in a decision that is against the employee.