Can I file a discrimination case after 180 days if I’m building a case?

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Can I file a discrimination case after 180 days if I’m building a case?

Last February while I was out on disability for a pregnancy I was unable to schedule my vacation since I didn’t know my exact return date. Another lady was out at the same time, unsure of return, with a shoulder injury, was able to schedule her vacation. I didn’t know about this until my return approximately 9 months after the fact. Now another guy is out with a foot injury and is able to schedule his vacation. Am I still able to file a claim with EEOC or no since it is past 180 days?

Asked on February 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

While there are some exceptions, the general rule is that you must file the claim with the EEOC within 180 days...and even when there are exceptions, they generally don't push it beyond 300 days. If you think you may have a case, try to file it NOW--the agency will investigate for you if it thinks there is some validity, so you don't need to keep delaying to "build a case." The longer you wait, the less likely it is that you'll be able to bring the case.
That said, it's unclear  you really have a case to bring:
1) There isn't pregnancy discrimination per se--there is sex-based discrimination (since only women get pregnant, discriminating against pregnant employees is generally considered equivalent to discriminating against women). But you write that a different woman was able to schedule her vacation despite knowing her exact return date. While she was out for an injury, not a pregnancy, the fact that another woman could schedule her vacation does undercut the argument that you are being discriminated against because you are a woman.
2) How exactly, and how badly, were you "injured" or "damaged" by not being able to schedule a vacation in advance? The law, even discrmination law, generally only provides compensation for the loss, injury, etc. you suffered. It is difficult to see that not being able to pre-schedule your vacation caused you a significant loss; ergo, even if you proved discrimination, there may be very little compensation available.


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