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Notice date–not workers’ last day–starts lawsuit calendar

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employees don’t have forever to sue for wrongful termination—and the clock may start ticking even before their last day on the job. That can mean all the difference in court.

Recent case: Janice Draper and several former co-workers sued the Illinois Department of Trans­­por­­tation (DOT) over their discharge exactly two years earlier. Their lawsuit claimed they had lost their jobs because of their political beliefs.

But the Illinois DOT had given them two weeks’ advance notice that they would be terminated. Those notices said, “you will be laid off … effective close of business June 30, 2004.”

The court said the notice left no doubt about what was going to happen, starting the clock that day. It ruled the employees had waited two weeks too long to file their lawsuit. (Draper, et al., v. Illinois DOT, No. 10-2837, 7th Cir., 2011)

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