Public employees who miss the deadlines for suing under various discrimination laws sometimes get another bite at the litigation apple with a claim under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. That law has a four-year statute of limitations for lawsuits.
But Section 1983 lawsuits also require public employees to show that their employers had a custom or policy that resulted in discrimination. That’s hard to do.
Recent case: Veronica Okon, who is black, was laid off from the Harris County Hospital, which had a clear reduction-in-force plan. Okon alleged she was singled out because she is black.
Her case was dismissed when she couldn’t show a policy or custom existed at her agency that ended up discriminating against her. (Okon v. Harris County Hospital District, No. 10-20603, 5th Cir., 2011)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Keep close eye on new hires; they're more injury-prone
- Oral settlement agreement may be binding even if the specifics are unclear
- Invest a little in harassment training upfront to avoid sky-high litigation costs later
- Managers may be personally liable under old bias law