Employees who think they have been wrongly fired face tight deadlines for complaining about discrimination. In North Carolina, they have just 180 days to file an EEOC complaint.
What’s more, the clock starts ticking the day the employee learns he is informed he will no longer have a job, not from the last day on the job.
That’s why you should carefully note when you told the employee he would be out of a job. If the employee doesn’t file an EEOC complaint on time, you can block litigation based on most federal discrimination laws.
Recent case: Clive Muir worked on a limited contract as a faculty member at Winston-Salem State University. He was up for tenure, but was turned down in writing and informed that when his contract expired, he would no longer have a job.
Muir filed an EEOC complaint alleging race and national-origin discrimination within 180 days of his last day on the job. However, by then more than 180 days had passed since he had received the original notice of tenure denial and termination. He argued that because he used an internal appeals process to try to overturn the tenure denial, he had more time.
But the court said filing an internal appeal doesn’t affect the EEOC calendar. Once an employer tells an employee he will no longer have a job as of a certain date, the clock starts ticking. (Muir v. Winston-Salem State University, No. 1:11-CV-282, MD NC, 2012)