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EEOC Informal Discussion Letter

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following informal discussion letter in response to an inquiry from a member of the public. This letter is intended to provide an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.

Federal EEO Laws: Limitations Period

July 12, 2004


This is in response to your second letter - dated June 24, 2004 - regarding the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in district court under federal EEO laws. Specifically, you ask what is the legal authority for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to issue the procedural guideline (29 C.F.R. § 1601.28(e)(1)) that provides that claimants may not file lawsuits under Title VII or the Americans with Disabilities Act more than 90 days after receipt of a right to sue letter.

Because the prohibition against workplace discrimination is statutorily conferred, the procedures for enforcing it are also conferred by the statute. In this case, Congress provided that individuals may file a civil action within 90 days after the notice of right to sue is given. After the 90 days has passed, the statutorily conferred right to sue has expired. The guidelines merely reiterate the statutory limitation.

We hope that this information is helpful to you. Please note, however, that this letter does not constitute an official opinion or interpretation of the Commission.


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Dianna B. Johnston
Assistant Legal Counsel

This page was last modified on April 27, 2007.