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Official Nebraska Government Website
 

Frequently Asked Questions

What laws do you enforce?

The NEOC is authorized to enforce various statutes.  

  • The Nebraska Fair Employment Act (FEPA) deals with employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability, marital status, and retaliation.  
  • Nebraska Age Discrimination in Employment Act (Age Act) deals with employment discrimination on the basis of age (40+).
  • The Equal Pay Act  covers the issue of discrimination between genders in pay.
  • The Act Providing Equal Enjoyment of Public Accommodations (Public Accommodations Act) deals with discrimination in the enjoyment of places of public accommodation.
  • The Nebraska Fair Housing Act deals with discrimination issues relating to housing.

In order to prevent duplicative proceedings, the NEOC is also authorized, by federal statute, to receive and investigate - concurrently with charges filed under the listed state laws - charges alleging violations of certain federal statutes.

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (Federal Age Act)
  • Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • The U.S. Fair Housing Act

In addition, all laws enforced by the NEOC contain provisions barring retaliation.  Anyone who has opposed any practice made unlawful by the statutes or who has participated in any manner in any proceeding to enforce the statutes is protected.

NEOC, EEOC, HUD, LCHR, OHRD - What do they mean?

  • NEOC - Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission
  • EEOC - US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • HUD - US Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • LCHR - Lincoln Commission on Human Rights
  • OHRD - Omaha Human Relations Department

How do I file a charge?

You contact us and an Intake Investigator will talk with you and explain how the law might apply to your situation. If you decide to proceed, the Intake Investigator will draft a formal charge. You would sign the charge in front of a notary public and return it to the NEOC. At that point, the charge is filed. The Complaint Process page explains the process in more detail.

I was injured and was fired. Can I file?

A temporary injury may not be a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act or the ADA Amendments Act. However, the law is complex. Contact us and an Intake Investigator will explain the law as it may apply to your specific situation.

How long do I have to file?

The time limit varies depending on which laws apply to your situation. An Intake Investigator can help determine the statute of limitations. However, as a guideline, from the date of any alleged harm:

  • Employment - FEPA or Age - 300 days
  • Employment - Equal Pay - 4 years
  • Housing - 1 year
  • Public Accommodations - 10 days

I am a student and I believe I am being discriminated against at school. Can I file?

Race discrimination in schools falls under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Sex discrimination and harassment falls under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  Disability discrimination falls under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

None of these laws are within the jurisdiction of the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission.  They are federal laws and are enforced by the U.S. Department of Education.

To find out more, contact the Office for Civil Rights, Kansas City Office, U.S. Department of Education, 8930 Ward Parkway, Suite 2037, Kansas City, Missouri, 64114.  The telephone number is (816) 268-0550.  The fax number is (816) 891-0644.  In addition, the U.S. Department of Education maintains a web site located at www.ed.gov.  Information specific to Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, and Title II can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html.

How long will it be before my case is investigated?

We must receive the response from the Respondent before we can investigate the case.  Respondents are permitted 30 calendar days to make their response, and may request an additional 30 day extension for employment cases or a 14 day extension of public accommodations cases.   We also do have a backlog of cases. Rest assured that your case is still on file and will be investigated in its turn.  Currently, it should be no more than nine months from the day of filing until your case is assigned to an investigator. If you have further questions regarding your case, contact us.  Be sure to have your case number available.

What do all the numbers in my case number mean?

A typical number resembles this format: 1-00/01-12-12345-RS. Each part of the number tells the NEOC something about the case.

The 1 is a reference to the office in which the case was officially filed. A "1" means Lincoln, a "2" means Omaha, and a "3" means Scottsbluff.

The 00/01 is a reference to the fiscal year in which the case was filed. Cases filed from July 2000 through June 2001 would carry this specific number.

The 12 is the month in which the case was filed.

The 12345 is the unique five digit number that identifies the case. Now two cases have the same five digit number. For Housing and PA cases, it is a four digit number.

The last part can vary. An "R" means the case was filed with the EEOC as well as with the NEOC. No "R" means the case was only filed with the NEOC. An "S" means the case was filed under one state law. A "D" means the case was filed under two state laws. A "T" means the case was filed under three state laws. An "H" means the case was filed under the Housing law. A "PA" means the case was filed under the Public Accommodations law.

What are the bases for filing?

  • In employment, discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability, marital status, or age (over 40) is prohibited.
  • In housing, discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status is prohibited.
  • In public accommodations, discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex is prohibited.  

In addition, all laws enforced by the NEOC contain provisions barring retaliation.

I've been fired. Can I file?

Nebraska is an at-will employment state.  This means that employers can terminate employment for virtually any reason.  However, it is unlawful to terminate someone because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability, marital status, age (over 40), in retaliation for filing a complaint, or for opposing illegal activity.  The laws are complex.  If you feel you may have been discriminated against, contact us, and an Intake Investigator can provide information specific to your situation.

I need an attorney. Can you recommend one?

The NEOC does not provide attorney referrals.  We suggest you contact the Nebraska Bar Association for referrals.  They can be reached at 635 South 14th Street, P.O. Box 81809, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68501-1809.  The phone number is (402) 475-7091.  The toll free number is (800) 927-0117.  The fax number is (402) 475-7098.  They also have a web site at www.nebar.com.

I represent a company which was filed against. Can I get an extension for filing the response?

For employment cases, we will automatically grant a 30 day extension. For public accommodations cases, we will automatically grant a 14 day extension. Please fax the individual under whose name the serve letter was sent and you will receive a confirmation by return fax. There is no formal extension process for housing cases; you will need to communicate directly with the investigator.

My case was investigated, but I haven't heard anything regarding the decision. How can I find out more?

Call us and ask.  Please have your case number available to assist us in looking up your case. Be aware that, each case, once the investigation is concluded, is examined closely by our Executive Director.  The Executive Director examines the cases for all three offices and all the investigators within those offices.  In addition, the Executive Director has many administrative and public duties to perform.  It can take some time between the conclusion of the investigation and the final decision.

Who makes the final decision?

The Executive Director makes the final decision on FEPA cases.  All other decisions are rendered by the Commission itself.  Investigators state the facts of the case, but do not make the decisions. For cases filed under multiple laws, such as Age and FEPA, the Executive Director makes the decision on the FEPA part, and the Commission renders the decision on the Age component.

What are the types of decisions?

An investigated case will generally have one of two phrases.  Reasonable Cause means that the Commission believes there is significant reason to believe that discrimination did occur.  No Reasonable Cause means that the Commission does not believe there is significant evidence to believe that discrimination did occur.  A case may also receive an Administrative Dismissal.  If the Complainant withdraws their charge, requests a Right to Sue, settles before a decision is made, or if other circumstances warrant it (such as a lack of jurisdiction), a case may be dismissed without a formal decision being rendered. It is also possible for a case to have a mixed decision, where Reasonable Cause was found under one law and No Reasonable Cause was found under a different law.

I received a No Reasonable Cause decision. Can I appeal?

If you filed only under state law, no.  If you dual-filed with the EEOC, you can write to the EEOC and request a substantial weight review.  This review must be requested within 15 days of receiving the NEOC's decision.  The EEOC will then examine the case and render their decision.  You must include your EEOC number in your communication with the EEOC.  Write to Joseph Wilson, State and Local Coordinator, St. Louis District Office, 1222 Spruce Ave, Rm. 8.10, St Louis, Missouri, 63103 to request a substantial weight review. You also have the option of taking your case into state or federal court.

I was told my signature needs to be notarized. What is that?

All charges must be signed, dated, and notarized to be officially filed with our office. This involves signing your name on the charge in the presence of a notary public. This individual than signs and dates the document, and affixes their seal, signifying that the signature was properly witnessed. Notaries public can be found at many offices and banks. In addition, there are notaries public at all NEOC offices.

Do I need an appointment to file a charge?

An appointment is a part of the process. When you call or come into our office, an Intake Investigator will talk with you to get the basics of your allegations and to explain the law as it may relate to your specific situation. If you wish to file at that point, they will get some information from, and set up an appointment for a full intake interview. At that appointment, all the details needed for filing a charge will be gathered.

Do you have anyone who speaks Spanish or other languages?

We do have one Spanish speaker in our Omaha office. However, when anyone calls needing an interpreter, regardless of the language needed, we utilize intrepeters both by phone and in person.

How do I get copies of the required Equal Opportunity poster?

Call us and we will send you as many as needed of the state poster, in English or Spanish, free of charge. If you need the poster from the federal EEOC, you can get them at www1.eeoc.gov/employers/poster.cfm.

How do I get copies of your annual reports?

Our annual reports are a part of our Publications section.