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Nail down specific dates to defeat late lawsuits

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in Human Resources

Courts are losing patience with former employees who wait to sue an employer—as long as the employer can produce concrete proof that the employee filed too late.

Recent case: Laura Li, who is from China, was hired as a business development specialist by Sysco. Shortly after, she was involved in an auto accident and became disabled because of memory loss and other cognitive impairments. In May 2007, she signed a letter of resignation.

In April 2010 she finally filed a complaint with the EEOC and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. She alleged she had been coerced into resigning and hadn’t understood the letter.

The court quickly tossed out her case. It was clear she had filed the complaint more than 300 days after the date on the letter—too late to sue. (Li v. Sysco, No. 3:10-CV-1721, ND OH, 2010)

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