Dual filing is usually the best, but sometimes it is better to select one agency over the other. The decision as to whether to file in the state or federal agency is based on a number of factors that need to be evaluated. The following are some of the more important considerations.
• Time. Each agency has a specific length of time in which you are allowed to file a complaint. The time starts when the major event occurs, for example, termination or the incident of discrimination, and usually each day is counted (including weekends and holidays). The length of time allowed varies by agency and by state. If you wait too long to file with an agency, you will lose your opportunity to have it hear your complaint. These time limitations are strictly enforced without exception.
• Law. The second major consideration is the laws enforced by the agency. In many states, the state discrimination law covers more bases of discrimination than the federal laws. Find the agency whose law covers the type of discrimination you suffered, and file your complaint with that agency.
• Location. Some agencies—especially the federal ones—are in charge of regulating multiple states. Your selection of an agency office in which to file your complaint will depend on the office that is assigned to your location.
• Future. The selection of where to file may depend on what you intend to do with your complaint. Do you intend to file your complaint with the EEOC and take your case to federal district court? Do you want to keep your complaint local and in the state courts?
• Knowledge. This is the realm of the experienced attorney who routinely practice employment law. Attorneys may have experienced long time delays, no mediation, or other issues with one of the agencies and may decide that for your case it is better to file your complaint with either the state or the federal agency because of these issues.