What are the time limits for filing a sexual harassment claim?

In order to file a suit for sexual harassment, the victim must file an administrative claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and/or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim with the DFEH is one year from the date of the most recent incident of harassment. The one-year period may be extended by 90 days if the victim became aware of the facts of the harassment after the expiration of the one-year period since the last incident of harassment.

When filing a claim with the DFEH, the victim may request an immediate investigation of the claim or a right to sue letter. A right to sue letter offers the victim one year from the date of the letter to file a suit with the California Superior Court against the alleged perpetrator of the sexual harassment and/or employer.

A victim of discrimination or harassment has only 180 days from the most recent incident of harassment to file an administrative claim with the EEOC. If the victim files a claim with the EEOC and the DFEH in parallel, the period to file the EEOC complaint is extended to 300 days from the date of the last incident of harassment, or within 30 days of receiving a right to sue letter, whichever is earlier.

If a victim of sexual harassment fails to file an administrative claim with the EEOC or DFEH within the statute of limitations, they may be unable to move forward with a lawsuit.

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