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Time Limits for Filing a Harassment Claim

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What is a Harassment Claim?

A harassment claim is a type of employment dispute where the worker experiences offensive or unwanted conduct from an employer or from another worker.  Harassment is covered by various state and federal laws, and can often overlap with other issues like discrimination or sexual assault.

Legal remedies for harassment usually include a monetary damages award.  This is distributed to the plaintiff for the purpose of reimbursing them for economic losses caused by the harassment. 

What are the Time Limits for Filing a Harassment Claim?

When filing a harassment claim, the employee usually needs to first file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  The employee must file their claim with the EEOC within 180 days of the alleged harassment or other type of violation. 

Note that EEOC guidelines may only apply to certain types of employers, namely employers with 15 or more employees.  This can also include state and municipal government employers, as well as labor organizations and employment agencies.  The federal government can also be subject to EEOC rulings and deadlines.

For non-employment harassment claims (such as criminal stalking), deadlines for filing may be different from state to state.  A typical state criminal statute may allow up to four years for filing the claim after the incident occurred. 

Are Any Extensions Available for Filing a Harassment Claim?

In some jurisdictions, the EEOC may allow an extension for filing, from 180 days to 300 days after the alleged incident.  This can be done if the claim is also covered through an existing state or local ordinance.  This may require some additional research of the laws in the area; in such cases an attorney may be needed to determine what the actual filing deadline is.

What Else Should I Know About Time Limits for Filing a Harassment Claim?

When filing a harassment claim, you may wish to keep a log or diary of the incident or incident(s).  You should include important information such as the date, time, location, and parties involved in the incidents.  You can also include any statements and contact information from witnesses.  This will help when filing the harassment claim, and can also be useful if a court trial becomes necessary.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Time Limits for Filing a Harassment Claim?

The time limits for filing a harassment claim can vary from state to state, and according to the types of violations involved.  Generally speaking, however, EEOC filing deadlines are uniform, and are subject to only a few exceptions.  Thus, you may wish to hire a qualified employment in your area if you need help filing a workplace harassment lawsuit.  Your attorney can assist you in preparing the court documents so that you don’t miss any deadlines; this will give you a fair chance to recover damages for your losses.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 04-21-2014 05:55 PM PDT

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