One of the first questions clients will ask me when they begin the EEO process is “how long will it take?” The surprising answer is “years!” Employees often believe that the EEO process lasts a few days or weeks – and occasionally they are right. However, if a case is fully litigated it will take years to complete. An overview of the EEO process can be found here.

As the overview demonstrates, if a case is resolved at the informal stage, it will likely only take a few weeks or months to fully resolve the case. If a formal complaint is required, however, the investigative stage alone is six-months, followed by many months until it is assigned to an EEOC Administrative Judge, and then even more time for discovery and motions practice. While Administrative Judges give Complainant’s many deadlines that they must meet, the Judges themselves have no deadlines. That means, that a complainant might wait week, months (occasionally years) for an Administrative Judge to issue a ruling.

While this case is an anomaly, it does demonstrate just how long the process of obtaining relief can take.