You have to file your EEOC claim within 300 days or it’s gone.

Kennedy, et al., v. Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Civil Action No. 7:08-cv-579 (W.D.Va. March 25, 2010). A number of plaintiffs brought this suit against VPI alleging that female employees of the University Development Office were paid less than similarly situated male employees for equal work on the same job and that the defendant had retaliated against certain plaintiffs who raised claims of gender discrimination or retaliation. One of the plaintiffs (“Hofberg”) opted into the case and joined the Equal Pay Act claim after the case had been filed. The defendant moved to dismiss the Hofberg Title VII claims on the grounds that they were made too late.

An employee who wishes to file a discrimination claim against his or her employer must file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) before he or she can file a lawsuit under Title VII. Virginia is what is known as a “deferral” state because the Virginia Commission on Human Rights has the authority to seek relief from unlawful employment practices. (Under this arrangement, the EEOC and the Commission on Human Rights are deemed to share the load of investigating and conciliating claims of discrimination.) In a “deferral” state, like Virginia, a charge of discrimination has to be filed within 300 days of the date on which the discriminatory act occurred. Hofberg’s last day with the University Development Office on August 2, 2006, but she did not file her charge with the EEOC within 300 days of that date. Although the other plaintiffs’ claims were timely, their timeliness did not revive Hofberg’s stale claim. The court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss Hofberg’s Title VII claims.

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