Timelines For Filing EEOC Claims in New York
Helpful tips from your New York EEOC attorney
When your rights have been violated, when you have been harassed or discriminated against at work, it’s time to fight back. Victims of workplace discrimination in New York should first consult with an attorney experienced in discrimination and sexual harassment litigation before taking legal action. Depending on your circumstances, the next step may be filling a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Before you can bring a lawsuit to federal court, you must file a charge with the EEOC first. But how long do you have to file a charge? What are the statutes of limitations?
EEOC charges: 180-day and 300-day rules
Timeliness is essential when pursuing EEOC charges. The basic rule is you have 180 calendar days to file a charge with the EEOC from the date the discrimination took place. Say your boss fired you because of your age or because you refused his sexual advances. You would have 180 days from the date of your termination to contact the EEOC.
The 180-filing rule is extended to 300 days if there is a state or local agency that also prohibits employment discrimination on the same basis. So, if New York State or municipal law also deems the discrimination you faced illegal, you have a total of 300 days to file a charge with the EEOC. The EEOC is governed by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but much overlap exists between New York State and City Human Rights Laws. So, there is a fairly good chance your situation may apply — however, only your EEOC attorney can give you an accurate assessment. If the 300 days has passed, you can still have up to 3 years under the New York City and New York State Discrimination Laws. Additionally, if the case is a racial discrimination case, you may have up to 4 years from the discrimination to sue in federal Court under 42 USC 1981.
For age discrimination, the filing deadline is only extended to 300 days if there is a state law prohibiting age discrimination in employment, but the deadline is not extended if only a local law prohibits age discrimination. Additionally, these time limits do not apply to claims under the Equal Pay Act because to go to court under that Act, you do not have to file an EEOC charge first. However, many Equal Pay claims also fall under the umbrella of Title VII, so you may also want to file an EEOC charge within the time limits prescribed as well.
These statutes of limitations only apply if your company employees 15 or more people, or 20 or more people for age discrimination cases. If your employer has less than 15 workers, you may have to go straight to state court. State Court can hear both City and State Law claims.
Timelines for on-going harassment in New York
What happens if you face harassment or discrimination over a period of time? Many victims endure months or even years of hostile and discriminatory behavior. In cases of on-going harassment, you have 180-days or 300-days from the date of the last incident to record an EEOC charge. When investigating your charge, the EEOC takes into account all harassing or discriminatory behavior you faced, even if several incidents exceeded the 180 or 300 day mark. Examples may include being subjected to racist remarks over a period time, repeated and unwanted sexual advances, or enduring recurring taunts about your religion.
If more than one discriminatory event took place, the 180 or 300 day deadline typically applies to each event. Perhaps you were denied a promotion due to your gender. Then, one year later, you were fired for being a female. Say you file a gender discrimination charge with the EEOC 100 days following your termination. The charge would not apply to the original denial of promotion because it exceeds the 180 or 300 day mark.
A New York EEOC attorney represents your best interests
If you’re confused about EEOC claims, deadlines, and if your situation applies, you are not alone. That’s why the Derek Smith Law Group patiently works with every client that walks through our doors, taking the time to explain your legal rights and options. Don’t be afraid to contact us today. You deserve to get your life back.