Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Supreme Court to consider time limits for constructive discharge claims

Yesterday, the Supreme Court finished its Spring 2015 term with oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges, the same-sex-marriage case. Earlier in the week, it added another case to its docket for its 2015 – 2016 term, agreeing to hear Green v. Donahoe, which asks the following question:

Under federal employment discrimination law, does the filing period for a constructive discharge claim begin to run when an employee resigns, as five circuits have held, or at the time of an employer’s last allegedly discriminatory act giving rise to the resignation, as three other circuits have held?

While this case is not as sexy as some other employment issues recently before the Court, it is nevertheless important. Under the federal employment discrimination statutes, an employee only has 300 days to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, which serves as the prerequisite to the filing of a later lawsuit in federal court. If the Supreme Court holds that the filing period begins to run at the employer’s last allegedly discriminatory act, then an employee who later resigns and claims constructive discharge will have a shorter window within which to file an administrative charge after the resignation.

Stay tuned, as this case will be heard towards the end of this year or early next year.