Filing Law Suit

After I filed charges with the EEOC, it took approximately six months before the investigation was started.

After an investigation is completed and the case is dismissed, issuing a Right To Sue letter, there's only 90 days allowable to file a lawsuit. What is the reasoning for such a narrow, limited time frame to file suit?

1 answer  |  asked Dec 2, 2005 08:09 AM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (1)

Anthony Cameron
The answer to your question drips with irony

The legislative history of the Act indicates that the opponents of such seemingly (to them) broad plaintiffs' rights, seeing they couldn't kill passage, tried to limit the impact of the act.

The argument for the 90 day window was that employers had to plan their affairs around liability considerations so the short window following the long investigation allowed employers to know whether they were facing liability or not.

The funny, ironic thing is that the way the Regs and Practice have developed, the employer doesn't know when the 90 day Right to Sue letter has gone out, thus doesn't know when his liability is terminated.

The employer does get a copy of the finding but, in some cases the 90 day letter might not go out for a year after the finding.

Now, in my own view, the practical purpose for the 90 day window is really to give the plaintiff scant time to scare up funds to engage a lawyer. Many people get all the way through the process of the EEOC or their own State or City's HRC, get a positive finding and then fail to get counsel out of lack of funds or lack of sophistication.

So, the historical reason is the management of liability issues by employers. At least one practical result, in my view, is to bring about the abandoment of some viable claims.

Anthony B. Cameron

posted by Anthony Cameron  |  Dec 3, 2005 3:26 PM [EST]

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