If you're like most employers, you breathe a little easier when 180 days have passed since you discharged an employee. You know that's how long fired workers have to file a complaint with either the EEOC or the Texas Workforce Commission if they are bringing a claim under the Texas Labor Code.
But don't exhale on the 181st day ... and most definitely don't destroy any important notes or records relating to the employee. While employees may have just 180 days to file, the agencies may take much longer to let you know.
Case in point: After Texas Tech University fired Stephen Finley, he wrote a long letter to the EEOC's El Paso office within 180 days of being fired. Eventually, the Texas Workforce Commission received a copy after the EEOC helped Finley draft an official complaint. That official complaint was dated after the 180 days had expired. Texas Tech didn't receive a copy until well after the 180 days.
The university argued that Finley's filing was too late and that he should also have filed a complaint directly with the Texas Workforce Commission. Not so, ruled the Texas Court of Appeals. Filing with the EEOC is the same as filing with the Texas agency, and the date that counts is the initial letter, not the later formal complaint. (Texas Tech v. Stephen Finley, No. 07-06-0111, Texas Court of Appeals, 2006)