Do you occasionally orally inform an employee that she will not be getting a promotion, an accommodation or some other benefit before you provide official written notice? If so, make sure you note when that happened and what you said.
Reason: When it comes to deadlines for filing an EEOC complaint, the employee’s clock begins to tick when she first receives that oral notice.
In a close case, that may mean you’ll be able to get the case dismissed because she missed the filing deadline.
Recent case: Kathleen worked for the EEOC as an attorney.
She believed it took her supervisor far too long to approve reasonable accommodations Kathleen requested over the years. She has arthritis and asked for ergonomic equipment and software to help her do her job. Sometimes she got the accommodations she requested and sometimes she did not.
Then, after making a new accommodation request, the parties went back and forth.
However, Kathleen never received an outright, formal written denial of her request.
She filed an internal complaint that eventually led to a lawsuit.
However, the EEOC argued it was too late to sue. The commission argued that Kathleen should have known earlier that her request for accommodation was being denied, and should not be allowed an open-ended time limit to sue just because there was no written denial.
The court tossed out her lawsuit. Kathleen should have known her employer was denying the accommodation request much earlier. (Mulligan v. Yang, No. 15-712, CD CA, 2016)
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