Statutes of Limitations

statutes of limitations sacramento employment lawyerThe following statutes of limitations apply to various employment, and wrongful termination cases:    

Statutes of Limitations for Cases Under FEHA/FMLA/ADA: 

First, a charge of discrimination must be filed within one year of the termination date with either DFEH or EEOC. Once DFEH or EEOC issues a right to sue letter, claimant has either one year (DFEH right-to-sue letter) or a shorter period of time (EEOC – usually 90 days) to file a lawsuit in court.

Missing the first deadline of filing a charge of discrimination, extinguishes most discrimination, harassment and retaliation claim with a few exceptions. (a) A wrongful termination in violation of public policy claim can be brought within two years of termination (if applies) and does not require filing a charge of discrimination of DFEH or EEOC; (b) Certain racial / national origin discrimination claims have a four year statute of limitations; and (c) Various anti-retaliation statutes have a 3-year statute of limitations and do not require filing a charge of discrimination with either DFEH or EEOC.

Statute of Limitations for Defamation Claims  

A defamation claim must be filed within one year of a defamatory statement being published (orally or in writing). Please note that the time must be counted from the date that actual statement was made. If the defamatory statement is contained in the termination letter, then that’s the applicable date for the purposes of calculating a deadline to file a claim. If the false statement was published later, then that later date counts.

Statutes of Limitations for Unpaid Wages / Unpaid Overtime Claims

Generally, there is a three-year statute of limitations on unpaid wage and overtime claims (and the rest of California labor code violations). In some cases, a violation of Bus & Prof Code 17200 can be added to the unpaid wages claim in court, which has a four-year statute of limitation. This last claim is not available if the case is handled by the Labor Commissioner / DLSE.

If you are planning to bring a claim for unpaid wages and overtime, you must keep in mind that you can only go three (or in some cases) four years back in claiming wages from the date of filing. Thus, if you file your case on April 1, 2015, you can only claim unpaid wages from as far back as March 31, 2012 (or, in some cases, if the case brought in court – March 31, 2011). Thus, in cases where an employee worked for the employer for longer than 3 years, and he wishes to bring a claim for unpaid wages for all those years, he should file his claim as soon as possible, as every day he is potentially losing a day of claimed unpaid wages.

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