Find out when your legal rights expire

Anti-discrimination laws and time limits for filing a harassment claim differ state by state.

What is the "statute of limitations"?

The statute of limitations is a time limit, or deadline, for filing charges. The clock starts ticking after the last incident of discrimination occurs. And yes, sexual harassment falls under sex discrimination.

It's super important to know the statute of limitations for your respective state because if your time limit passes, you are no longer able to bring your claim to court. 

The federal statute is 180 days, but may be extended based on your local state laws. It also matters how many employees there are in your organization.

We need to be well informed to exercise our rights and take action as quickly as possible.

Statistics According To Our Research

If you're thinking about taking legal action, arm yourself with knowledge about the differences between your federal and state rights. Here are some of the most interesting differences that we found:


Why This Is Important

We know how difficult it is to come forward about harassment, abuse, discrimination, or retaliation that happens at work. The federal law only gives you 180 days (or 300 days with an extension) to file a claim. By the time you decide that you want to file a claim, your legal rights may have been taken away from you because of the statute of limitations. 


Why This Is Important

The federal employment anti-discrimination law only applies to employers that have 15 or more employees. This means if you are in a company with less than 15 employees, your company is not liable for the discrimination. In the United States, there are over 57M independent contractors and they are not explicitly protected by the law. 


Why This Is Important

There are 5 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina) that do not have a state agency that enforces anti-discrimination claims. This means that if you would like to file a complaint, you must do so with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines. Because every situation is so unique, we recommend consulting an attorney regarding any specific issues or situations before taking legal action.

How To Take Action

1. Knowledge is power. Make sure you know your rights including when they expire (for harassment claims)! Share this guide with a loved one if this would be helpful for them. 

2. Laws can change. Look into your state laws to see if anyone is pushing for longer statute of limitations or lowering the number of employees that employers need to file a claim. 

For example, in California, the Equal Rights Advocates are pushing to extend the statute of limitations from one year to three years. Check out your local state organizations that are pushing for better laws to protect us!

3. Donate. We need your help to keep creating content that generate awareness about our rights and options in the workplace. Help us create more resources like these.

The materials available from BetterBrave are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should always talk to an attorney about your unique case before taking any further action. If you need help connecting with a lawyer, reach out to us here.