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New claims can pull in past events in harassment case

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Federal government employees who want to bring discrimination and harassment charges must complain to their agency’s equal employment opportunity officer within 45 days of the alleged event. However, when it comes to so-called continual violations, even one incident occurring within that 45-day period will bring earlier incidents into play.

Recent case: Navy employee Lolita complained to her EEO officer that she overheard a supervisor and co-worker scheming that they were going to order another employee to rape her. She sued, outlining at least 11 previous incidents that she wanted to use to prove sexually harassment.

The Navy argued those shouldn’t be considered, but the court disagreed. It said that the single alleged rape order—if proven—was enough to bring in older incidents. Lolita now has to convince the court she really heard the conversation. (Schagene v. Mabus, No. 13-CV-0333, SD CA, 2015)

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