What is the statute of limitations for harassment claims?

Is there any type of statute of limitations for individuals claiming sexual harassment? Report was made approximately 7 months after the incident occurred (inappropriate verbal comment) but was never mentioned to HR or management.

Ann Kiernan replies:

Under federal law, harassment charges must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days, but it is extended to 300 days if the state has its own fair employment practices agency that has signed a work-sharing agreement with the EEOC. Most states do have such agreements. Under state laws, the time to file charges ranges from one year (California and others) to six years (Ohio).

But even if the time for legal action has expired, an employer should still make a prompt and thorough investigation of all harassment complaints, and take appropriate remedial action when warranted.

Posted 06-07-2016

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.