Ohio Employment Discrimination Attorney Answer: What is the statute of limitations to sue my job for race and gender discrimination? How long do I have to sue if I was wrongfully fired today for religious discrimination? Who is the top employment lawyers in Ohio?
When someone is discriminated against, denied overtime or the overtime, or wrongfully terminated, the laws that make this conduct illegal only give employees so much time to sue before it is too late. This deadline to sue your employer is called a statute of limitations. This is why it is so important to call the right attorney right away – so that you can take action while you still have a chance. All too often, we hear from employees who have been the victims of clearly unlawful conduct, but are unable to pursue a claim because they waited too long to call us. Because the statute of limitations can vary – from as little as 90 days to as long as six years, you should call our employment lawyers as soon as possible to avoid missing your statute of limitations.
Usually, timing when the clock begins to tick down is easy – it begins the day you are wrongfully terminated or an adverse action is taken against you, such as a demotion or not being promoted. However, it is not always that simple. For example, wage and hour claims generally look backwards rather than forwards – the clock begins ticking down as each violation occurs, and as the statute of limitations for a particular violation tolls (usually two years), it is lost. Thus, if and when you are terminated is usually irrelevant to a wage and hour claim. This is why our wage and hour attorneys will usually file a lawsuit right away if a client has overtime claims dating back over two years – even if that employee is still employed!
The statute of limitations is in the news right now as the United States Supreme Court considers the case of Green v. Brennan, which could have far reaching implications for those employees who decide to pursue discrimination or retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The plaintiff-employee, Marvin Green, was an African American postmaster who had been passed up for promotion in 2008 by a less qualified Caucasian who had not even applied for the position. When Green complained to the Post Office’s EEO counselor and asked for an investigation, he was retaliated against. In November of 2009, while his claims were still being investigated, Green was accused by his supervisors of mismanagement and “intentionally delaying the mail,” a federal crime. As a result of these accusations, Green was suspended without pay. After negotiations with the Post Office and his union, Green signed an agreement in which his suspension ended, and he was required to chose between retirement or taking a demotion to a small post office in Wyoming, earning $40,000 less per year than he had as the Englewood postmaster. Green decided that given the lack of real options he had been presented with, his only option was to resign. Green provided the Post Office with his notice of resignation on February 9, 2010, to be effective on March 31, 2010. On March 22, 2010, Green complained to his EEO counselor that his resignation was a constructive discharge. It had been 41 days since Green had tendered his notice of resignation. This matters because federal employees have only 45 days to file a claim with the EEO.
When Green sued the Post Office for discrimination and retaliation, the trial court held that the 45 day period began when the action Green contended caused the constructive discharge – the December 16, 2009 agreement, rather than the date Green resigned. Thus, the court concluded that Greens constructive discharge claim was time barred. On Appeal, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, even though it acknowledged the unfairness of the outcome:
We recognize that an employee cannot file suit before presenting a charge in administrative proceedings, and a constructive-discharge charge cannot be submitted before the employee quits his job. But exhaustion of a Title VII claim requires only that “the charge … contain facts concerning the discriminatory and retaliatory actions underlying [the] claim.” The charge need not allege that the employee responded to the improper action by quitting. And an employee who later decides he cannot take it any longer and therefore quits his job could likely amend a timely charge to include an allegation of constructive discharge.
Arguing that there was a circuit split on this issue, Green appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which granted certiorari.
On December 1, 2015, oral arguments were made in Green. Although it is unclear what way the Court is leaning, Justice Roberts made a very interesting remark towards the end that may indicate a willingness to peg the 45 day period to the date of the resignation, rather than the “last discriminatory act”:
people are in jobs and they’re, you know, suffering this particular type of adverse work environment or discrimination … but quitting your job is a very big deal. I think you have to plan out when that’s going to be, and just because you can’t take it anymore doesn’t mean that you could quit work right away … I mean, you know, yes, you can’t take it anymore, but maybe you also need a paycheck or — or, you know, you’re going to be eligible for the bonus in six weeks, you may as well wait until at least then.
While it is impossible to tell what the Court will ultimately decide, here to hoping that Justice Robert’s comments about the realities facing employees will guide its ruling.
While whatever decision the Court makes, Green will be limited to constructive discharge claims by federal employees, the rationale employed by the court could have far reaching implications. It is likely that a win by the USPS in this case would lead to employers attempting to make the same argument in constructive discharge cases involving private sector employees. The employment lawyers at the Spitz Law Firm will continue to monitor the Green case as the Court’s decision comes down.
If you are searching “I need a lawyer because I have been wrongfully fired or terminated;” or “I have been discriminated against based on my …” race, national origin, gender, age, religion or disability; or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The Spitz Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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