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Section 1983 claim must prove discriminatory agency policy

by on
in Employment Law,Human Resources

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)

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