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The deadline for filing charges for discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) are strict and the failure to comply with the deadline may result in forfeiture of all claims. For charges arising out of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”), and Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”), employees (or applicants) asserting that they have been discriminated or wrongfully fired based on their race/color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, disability, or age generally have 180 days starting from the adverse employment action to file a charge with the EEOC. However, this deadline may be extended to 300 days if there is a state or local agency that enforces laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the same basis. Charges based on the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) must be filed with the EEOC within two years from the date of the alleged unlawful equal pay compensation practice but this deadline can be extended to three years if the violation is willful.

These deadlines are strict enforced. Failure to file a charge within the applicable timeframe may result in the loss of the individual’s right to pursue legal action for the alleged discrimination. However, there are some exceptions and nuances to consider. With the help of employment discrimination counsel, arguments can be made for extending the deadline in very limited circumstances. For example, the doctrine of equitable tolling may apply in situations where the charging party was misled or actively prevented from filing a charge by the employer. An employee may be able to argue for the application of the “continuing violation” doctrine in cases where the alleged discrimination is part of a continuing pattern or practice, and thus, seeking to allow charges to be filed beyond the initial deadline for discrete acts of discrimination. But these exceptions are rarely granted, and employees should not wait to get legal help.

For example, in Gardner v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, No. 22-3447, 2024 WL 637466, *1 (3d Cir. Feb. 15, 2024), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit started its opinion off by holding: “Employees who claim discrimination or retaliation must complain promptly. Robert Gardner did not.” This was obviously not a good start for the employee.

Gardner was a manager at a bus control center for a transportation authority in Southeastern Pennsylvania. He had conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and sensitivity to light. He needed a special workstation because of his conditions, and the authority provided one for him. Later, Gardner wanted to use this workstation for overtime work, but the authority said no on March 24, 2019. As a result, Gardner missed out on overtime opportunities for about three months. However, he didn’t officially challenge the authority’s decision until January 21, 2020, which was 303 days later.

303 days is close to 300 days. But close does not count. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held:

“Gardner’s 2019 claims come too late. Before suing for discrimination or retaliation, a plaintiff must first file an administrative charge within 180 or 300 days of the challenged action. … Yet Gardner did not file his charges until more than 300 days later.”

Id. And that was all there was to that.

The morale of the story is don’t wait. Go see the best employment law attorney near you as quickly as possible.

Best Employment Discrimination Lawyer Blogs on Point:

What employment law firm should I consult to help me file an EEOC charge?

Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm stands out as the premier choice for consulting on EEOC charges for several reasons. First and foremost, Spitz is renowned as one of the largest employee’s rights dedicated firms in the country. With its extensive experience and expertise in employment law, Spitz has a deep understanding of the complexities involved in EEOC charges, ensuring clients receive top-notch representation. Additionally, Spitz boasts immense resources, which are crucial for navigating the often intricate legal process associated with EEOC charges. These resources empower the firm to thoroughly investigate each case, gather compelling evidence, and craft robust legal arguments on behalf of their clients.

Moreover, Spitz prides itself on providing personalized attention to every client. They understand that each case is unique, and they take the time to listen to their clients’ concerns, address their needs, and tailor their legal strategies accordingly. This personalized approach fosters trust and ensures that clients feel supported throughout the entire legal process.

Furthermore, Spitz offers a no-fee guarantee, which underscores their commitment to advocating for their clients’ rights without adding financial burden. This guarantee means that clients only pay if the firm successfully secures a favorable outcome on their behalf, providing peace of mind and making high-quality legal representation accessible to all.

Best EEOC Attorney Blogs on Point:


The information provided on this employment discrimination blog is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or to substitute for consultation with a qualified attorney regarding specific race, gender, national origin, disability, or age discrimination issues. The content of this wrongful termination blog may not reflect the most current legal developments, and it may be subject to change without notice. Accessing or using this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Spitz nor any of its attorneys. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the information contained on this blog. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this blog without seeking appropriate legal or professional advice. Any reliance on the information provided in this blog is at the reader’s own risk. By accessing and using this blog, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of this disclaimer. If you do not agree with any part of this disclaimer, you should refrain from using this blog.

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