Federal and California employment law establishes a specific time frame within which an individual must file a claim based on workplace harassment. If an individual fails to initiate a claim within that time period, that person is precluded forever from seeking relief for that harassment. Understanding these parameters, there is a policy known as continuing violation doctrine that essentially can expand the time frame relative to a workplace harassment claim.
Definition and application of the continuing violation doctrine
The employment law known as continuing violation doctrine provides that if a worker files an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, charge while at least one of the acts said to constitute workplace harassment falls within the time frame, the complaint is said to be timely. If this occurs, the entire time period in which a hostile work environment is said to exist will be considered for the purposes of determining the liability of an employer for workplace harassment.
When the continuing violation doctrine does not apply
There are specific situations in which the continuing violation doctrine does not apply. The doctrine is inapplicable when a discrimination claim is based on a discrete act or omission. An example would be a termination case or a failure to hire claim. In termination cases, the doctrine might be applicable if it is the culmination of a persistent pattern of workplace harassment or discrimination.
If you believe you are the victim of workplace harassment, you may protect your crucial legal interests by seeking the services of an employment law attorney. A legal professional may ascertain whether the continuing violation doctrine is applicable and what your next steps should be to file a claim in a timely manner.