Do you let employees know they will lose their jobs as soon as the final decision has been made? Or do you wait until near the effective date? If there’s no other reason for delaying the notification (e.g., you fear the employee will retaliate by destroying records or stealing secrets), tell employees right away.
Here’s why: Employees have a short time to file an EEOC complaint, and if they don’t meet the deadline, they can’t sue for most forms of discrimination. And that limitation period starts to run as soon as employees know they are being terminated—not on their last day of work.
Recent case: Mark Jordan worked for the city of Montgomery. His supervisor told him that his job would be eliminated shortly. The decision was final on May 10, but Jordan worked through June.
When he decided to sue for retaliation, he used his last day worked as the starting date for the EEOC filing deadline. That turned out to be a fatal legal mistake. The 11th Circuit said his filing calendar began on May 10, not the June date. That meant he missed the deadline and was out of luck. (Jordan v. City of Montgomery, No. 07-15046, 11th Cir., 2008)
- Offer legit 'fresh-start' transfer without fear of being punished for retaliation
- What's the NLRB's real stance on employees' social media criticism of employers?
- Return-to-work denial might be retaliation
- Simple personality clash is no reason to quit
- May we terminate a disabled employee who can't perform an essential function?