It is not uncommon for ongoing discriminatory acts in the workplace to create a hostile work environment. As such, the law allows for people subject to a hostile work environment to file claims against their employer. Hostile work environment claims must be filed within a certain timeframe, or they will be dismissed, however, as shown in a recent New York case. If you are subject to a hostile work environment because of discrimination, it is prudent to consult a dedicated New York employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to recover damages.
It is reported that the plaintiff worked as a pathologist at the defendant cancer research company. For approximately eighteen months, she was subjected to discrimination in pay as compared to her male colleagues, and discrimination in assignments due to the fact that she was a woman and was Chinese. She also experienced verbal abuse that constituted a hostile work environment. After she exhausted her administrative remedies, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging close to twenty different claims against multiple defendants, including numerous hostile work environment claims. The defendants then jointly filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing in part that the plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims should be dismissed as untimely.
Timeliness of a Hostile Work Environment Claim
Under Title VII, a single discriminatory or retaliatory act occurs on the date that it happens. Therefore, a plaintiff must file a claim within either one hundred and eighty days or three hundred days of the date of the act, or the plaintiff will lose the right to recover damages. Regarding hostile work environment claims, the provision of Title VII that requires a plaintiff to file a claim in a timely manner only requires a plaintiff to file a claim within a specific number of days after the unlawful behavior occurred. It does not matter under the statute, however, that some of the acts of the hostile work environment fell outside of the time period under the statute.