Employees only have 300 days to get their EEOC complaints in after being fired or otherwise being hit with an adverse employment action.
There is a limited exception if the employer does something after the action that’s seen as part of the same chain of events—but that conduct has to be the employer’s. It can’t be an independent agency’s action, as this case shows.
Recent case: Gilberte resigned from her job as a registered nurse, allegedly after being told she could resign or be terminated for making a mistake during a shift. During that shift, she had also reported that equipment in the hospital area where she worked was defective.
Some time after, her former employer also reported her to the New York State Office of Professional Misconduct. Those charges were eventually dismissed. Within 300 days of that dismissal—but more than 300 days from her resignation—Gilberte filed her EEOC discrimination and retaliation complaint.
She argued that the Office of Professional Misconduct dismissal date was the appropriate point to start counting down the 300-day deadline because her employer had started that investigation as part of the wrongful actions taken against her.
The court disagreed. The agency was a separate entity with no connection to the hospital. Its actions weren’t continuing discrimination against her even if her former employer began the case with its report. The case was dismissed. (Fouche v. St. Charles Hospital, No. 14-CV-02492, ED NY, 2014)
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