Topic:
SEXUAL HARASSMENT; STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS;
Location:
SEXUAL HARASSMENT;
Scope:
Other States laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


October 5, 1999

 

99-R-0994

TIME LIMITATIONS FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT SUITS

 
 

By: Christopher Reinhart, Research Attorney

You asked about changing the time limitation for filing sexual harassment claims to three years and whether other states have a three-year limitation.

SUMMARY

Under Connecticut law, a person must file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) within 180 days of a sexual harassment incident. A person can bring a civil action within two years of filing the complaint after obtaining a release from CHRO. Nothing in the statute indicates that this time period could not be changed to three years.

We surveyed a number of states and relied on information in Sex Discrimination and Harassment in the Work Place. Each of these 10 states has a different set of procedures. The states imposed various time limits on filing lawsuits. Most of the states required filing actions within one or two years of the date of the incident or of the filing of the complaint with a state commission. Massachusetts, however, allows the filing of civil suits within three years of the incident under certain circumstances.

STATES

The chart below describes the time limitations for filing civil actions in 10 states.

State

Time Limitations

Arizona

Must file charges with the Civil Rights Division within 180 days of the incident. Civil actions must be filed within one year of filing a charge (Ariz. Rev. Stat. 41-1481D).

Arkansas

Must file a civil action within one year of the incident or 90 days of receiving a "right-to-sue" letter from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Ark. Code 16-123-107).

Massachusetts

Must file a complaint with the Commission Against Discrimination within six months of the incident. May bring a civil action if the commission assents or after the matter is pending with the commission for 90 days. A civil suit must begin within three years of the incident (Mass. Gen. L. Ch. 151B, 9).

Minnesota

Must file claims within one year as a civil action or a charge before the Department of Human Rights or local discrimination agency (Minn. Stat. 363.06).

Missouri

Must file complaints with the Commission on Human Rights within 180 days of the incident. If the agency process is incomplete after 180 days, a person can request the right to file a civil action. If granted, a civil suit must be filed within 90 days and no later than two years after the incident (Mo. Rev. Stat. 213.085).

New Jersey

Must file with the Division on Civil Rights within 180 days. Court actions under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination must begin within two years of the incident (N.J. Rev. Stat. 2A: 14-1).

Ohio

Must file with the Civil Rights Commission within 180 days. Court actions must begin within two years of the incident (Ohio Rev. Code 4112.99).

Oregon

Must file a civil action or a charge with the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industry within one year of the incident (Or. Rev. Stat 659.040, 659.121).

Rhode Island

Must file with Commission Against Discrimination. A person can request a right-to-sue letter after 120 days and within two years of filing a charge (if no settlement or hearing began). A civil action must begin within 90 days of receiving the letter (R.I. Gen. Laws 28-5-24.1).

Texas

Must file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights within 180 days of the incident. A person can file a civil action after receiving a right-to-sue letter. The suit must begin within one year of filing the complaint and within 60 days of receiving the letter (Tex. Code Labor 21.254, 21.256).

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