On May 23, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Green v. Brennan, holding that the statute of limitations for a constructive discharge claim begins to run at the time the employee resigns. While the Court’s 7-1 decision was unsurprising and does not change the substantive law of constructive discharge, it provides employers and employees alike with the benefit of a clear rule for assessing the timeliness of charges alleging constructive discharge.
Articles Discussing Constructive Discharge Claims Under Title VII.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the statute of limitations for an employee’s Title VII constructive discharge claim begins on the date of the employee’s notice of resignation. Green v. Brennan, No. 14-613 (May 23, 2016).
Federal and private-sector employers alike should take note of yesterday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Green v. Brennan. The issue in Green was whether a federal employee’s claim of discrimination in a constructive discharge case was triggered by the last act of alleged discrimination by the employer or by the date on which the employee resigned. The Supreme Court reversed the Tenth Circuit decision and held that the statute of limitations in a constructive discharge case begins to run on the date the employee resigns because that is the date when the employee has a “complete and present cause of action.”
Executive Summary: The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that the statute of limitations period for constructive discharge claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Title VII) begins to run from the date that the employee gives the employer notice that the employee is resigning. Reversing the Tenth Circuit’s decision in favor of the employer, in Green v. Brennan, the Supreme Court held that “the matter alleged to be discriminatory includes the employee’s resignation,” and that the limitation period for filing a claim for a constructive discharge begins running only after the employee resigns.
For private-sector employees filing discrimination charges, claims must be made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the incident, although the time can be extended to as many as 300 days if the claim is pursued initially with a state or local agency. Federal employees, however, must begin the process within 45 days by contacting an EEOC counselor in the employee’s agency. The issue in Green v. Brennan, argued last Monday before the United States Supreme Court, revolves around whether that 45-day period begins in a constructive discharge case at the time of the employee’s resignation (as five circuits have held), or at the time of the employer’s last allegedly discriminatory acts giving rise to the resignation (as three circuits have held).