As a business owner, the last thing you want to have to concern yourself with is the potential for future litigation. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that many employers know all too well. Some business owners worry that an employee who claims they were wrongfully terminated can come back 15 years later and file a lawsuit. While the dismissed employee would like all the time in the world, the reality is, they are bound by legal time limits. If they miss that particular date, their entire claim can be barred.
To help put your mind at ease some, here are some of the filing deadlines and statute of limitations related to employment law claims in Florida.
EEOC Claim Deadlines
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is the agency that handles certain types of claims, depending on how many employees you have. The EEOC only handles claims involving companies that have 15 or more employees. If the claim involves age discrimination, the EEOC is only the right agency if your company has 20 or more employees.
In most situations, someone claiming they were terminated due to discrimination or retaliation only has 180 calendar days to file a claim from the date they claim the discriminatory act occurred. The deadline goes up to 300 days if there is a state or local agency which also enforces a similar law prohibiting employment discrimination. This is the case with Florida. For reference, employees of a federal employer typically have different claims processes. In general, federal employees have a much shorter window — 45 days — to contact an attorney.
An employee, or former employee, can file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, or the FCHR, and the EEOC simultaneously if it’s within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory act. This means that to meet the deadline, the employee would likely file with the FCHR and cross-file with the EEOC.
For age discrimination cases, the deadline is also extended to 300 days, provided there is a state or local law in place, like Florida has. Some people do not realize that the EEOC’s filing deadline also calculates weekends and holidays. In the event someone is prepared to file the claim and it falls on a holiday or weekend, he or she will have until the following business day.
Reasons an Employee Might File a Wrongful Termination Claim
Wondering why an employee might file a wrongful termination act against your company? There are a number of different situations that could lead to a former employee feeling as though they were mistreated. Some of these include:
- Retaliation for their refusal to participate in your illegal activities or discrimination
- Retaliation for whistleblowing or engaging in some other type of protected action
- Allegations of discrimination due to protected class
- Employee claims they were terminated for challenging employer’s failure to pay overtime or minimum wages
- Claims they were terminated because they took leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act
Statute of Limitations on Employment Law Claims
If an employee is filing a lawsuit against your company, the statute of limitations will vary based on what the basis for the claim is. A couple examples include:
- Tort claims for firing the employee in violation of public policy is four years
- Contractual dispute related to employment contract is five years
Contact a Florida Employment Law Attorney
If you are a small to medium-sized business and need assistance with defending EEOC claims, or you have received a lawsuit from a former employee, you need to speak with a West Palm Beach labor and employment law attorney right away. Contact Pincus & Currier LLP at 561-868-1340 to schedule an initial consultation.