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PRESS RELEASE
7-21-05

EEOC REVISES GUIDANCE ON TIMELINESS FOR FILING CHARGES OF EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION

Compliance Manual Section on'Threshold Issues' Conforms with Supreme Court Ruling

WASHINGTON - In accordance with the Supreme Court's decision in National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101 (2002), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued a revision to its Compliance Manual section on "Threshold Issues" addressing time limitations on filing charges of employment discrimination with the agency. The revised Compliance Manual Chapter and questions and answers about the revision are available online at http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/compliance.html.

Threshold issues are requirements that an individual must satisfy in order to have a legal claim under the EEO statutes. When a charge is filed with the EEOC, the investigator determines whether threshold requirements are satisfied before considering the substantive claim of discrimination. In Morgan, the Court ruled that the timeliness of an employment discrimination charge depends upon whether it involves a discrete act or a hostile work environment claim. A discrete act is only independently actionable if it occurred within the filing period. In contrast, all of the incidents that make up the same hostile work environment claim are actionable as long as at least one incident occurred within the filing period.

In Morgan, the Court ruled that the timeliness of an employment discrimination charge depends upon whether it involves a discrete act or a hostile work environment claim. A discrete act is only independently actionable if it occurred within the filing period. In contrast, all of the incidents that make up the same hostile work environment claim are actionable as long as at least one incident occurred within the filing period.

"This update to the EEOC's Compliance Manual clarifies an important aspect of threshold issues in light of recent legal developments,"said Commission Chair Cari M. Dominguez. "The revision will assist investigators and EEOC stakeholders in determining the timeliness of claims pursuant to the Supreme Court's ruling in the Morgan case. It explains how the time frames are applied to discrete acts, such as failure to hire or termination, and to hostile work environment claims."

In addition to enforcing Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, the EEOC enforces the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers 40 and older; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; prohibitions against discrimination affecting persons with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available online at www.eeoc.gov.