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Track timing on discrimination suits; missed federal deadlines can kill state claims, too

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Here’s another good reason to push for early dismissal of employee lawsuits when it’s clear the employee has missed an important filing deadline: Doing so may kill state claims that have yet to be filed—if those claims are based on the same facts.

Recent case: Emad Elkadrawy is an American citizen of Egyptian origin who worked for the Vanguard Group. He is a Muslim.

He claimed the company discriminated against him by refusing to verify his employment experience, which he needed so he could get an accounting certification. Elkadrawy said Vanguard then gave him a poor evaluation after he complained he was being treated differently than other employees.

Elkadrawy filed an EEOC and state discrimination agency complaint. The EEOC then issued him a right-to-sue letter, which required him to sue within 90 days. Shortly after, the state agency also gave him a right-to-sue letter.

But Elkadrawy missed his deadline by two days. He then tried to pursue his state claims.

On appeal, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals said that, because the EEOC claim was based on the same facts as his state claim, the dismissal would theoretically kill both lawsuits. It said he should have brought them together.

That cleared the way for a lower court to dismiss Elkadrawy’s suit, since employees can’t bring multiple lawsuits in several different courts when the claims are based on the same set of facts. (Elkadrawy v. Vanguard Group, No. 09-1105, 3rd Cir., 2009)

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