What is the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims?
According to various federal sexual harassment laws under groups such as the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), there are statutes of limitations, or time limits, on sexual harassment claims. This means that a person seeking to file a claim or to sue for sexual harassment must do so within a certain limited window of time after the incident takes place.
The actual time window to file a sexual harassment claim will vary by state. In some cases, the EEOC's rule, which place the time limit at 180 days from the date of the harassment, is considered the working rule, and thus any sexual harassment claim must fall within this frame. In other states, however, local state laws may override the EEOC rule, and can increase the statute of limitations, typically up to 300 days or perhaps one year from the date of the last incident of harassment.
In other words, the worst case scenario might be that you have 180 days from the date when you last endured sexual harassment in which to file a claim. Depending on your state, you may have more time.
If you have exceeded the time limit to file a sexual harassment claim under the statute of limitations, your claim will be time barred. This means you will no longer be able to recover damages or bring legal action as a result of the sexual harassment. As such, in order to avoid limiting yourself in the future, it's extremely wise to contact a sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible if you suspect that you might have a sexual harassment case on your hands. The attorney, who will be well-versed in the time limitations that apply in your specific jurisdiction, will help guide you in terms of whether or not you need to act quickly (or act at all). An attorney will also help walk you through whatever steps might come next.