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It May be Difficult Determining When to File Your EEOC Charge


It May be Difficult Determining When to File Your EEOC Charge

Filing legal claims always involves deadlines and time limits that, if not met, can lead to the loss of significant legal rights. When it comes to discrimination claims that require the exhaustion of administrative remedies with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), these deadlines are crucial. The real challenge can be figuring out when the time limit actually starts. In a recent Texas case, an employee’s discrimination claims were dismissed because she miscalculated her deadline. If you have questions about when to file your claim, contact our Birmingham employment discrimination attorneys for advice.

Exhaustion of Remedies with the EEOC

In order to comply with the exhaustion of remedies requirement, the first step is to file an EEOC charge within 180 days of the employment action you allege is unlawful. An EEOC charge of discrimination is a signed statement claiming that an employer engaged in employment discrimination and asks the EEOC to investigate and remedy the discrimination. The federal protection laws enforced by the EEOC, with the exception of the Equal Pay Act, require that an EEOC charge is filed before a lawsuit can be.

Breastfeeding Mother Alleges Employment Discrimination

The Texas case involved an administrative assistant working at a university medical center. After the birth of her child, she alleged she was being harassed and discriminated against because she was breastfeeding. She was officially terminated from her job on April 19, 2016 and filed her charge of discrimination with the EEOC within the 180-day time limit. After receiving her right-to-sue letter, she filed a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit.

Defendant Moves to Dismiss Claims as Time-Barred

The employer in the case argued for the claims to be dismissed because the employee failed to timely exhaust her administrative remedies. The employer argued, more specifically, that the 180-day time limit began on March 14, 2016, which was the date she was first notified of the employer’s intention to terminate her employment. That date was more than a month before her termination became effective.

The Appellate Court’s Decision

The trial denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss the case based on the failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The employer appealed and the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas vacated the trial court’s decision. The appellate court agreed with the employer that the employee’s charge of
discrimination was filed after the 180-day period, which began when she “first learned about the discriminatory acts.”

Exhaustion of Remedies is Extremely Important

Any employee who believes they have been subjected to discrimination or retaliation in the workplace is required to first exhaust all administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit in federal court. What does that mean? Exhaustion of remedies in an employment discrimination cases refers to filing a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC. If you do not take this preliminary step, your claims may be dismissed from court. However, how your EEOC charge is drafted makes a huge difference when it comes to protecting your claims. Let our Birmingham employment lawyers help you preserve your rights from the beginning.

If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination or retaliation in the workplace, or if you have any other questions regarding your employment rights, please contact the experienced Birmingham employment law attorneys at Michel | King . You can contact us either online or by calling us at (205) 2651880. We are here to serve you!

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