What is the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims?

The general statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims can vary by state but is typically 180 days under the EEOC, which in some cases is the working rule. Sometimes the EEOC's rule can be overridden and extend the statute of limitations for sexual harassment charges up to a maximum of 300 days or a year. Learn more in our legal guide below.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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According to various federal sexual harassment laws under groups such as the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), there are statutes of limitations, or time limits, on sexual harassment claims. This means that a person seeking to file a claim or to sue for sexual harassment must do so within a certain limited window of time after the incident takes place.

The actual time window to file a sexual harassment claim will vary by state. In some cases, the EEOC’s rule, which place the time limit at 180 days from the date of the harassment, is considered the working rule, and thus any sexual harassment claim must fall within this time frame. In other states, however, local state laws may override the EEOC rule, and can extend the time period to 300 days or perhaps one year from the date of the last incident of harassment.

In other words, the worst case scenario might be that you have 180 days from the date when you last endured sexual harassment in which to file a claim. Depending on your state, you may have more time.

If you go beyond the time period to file a sexual harassment claim, your claim will be time barred. This means you will no longer be able to recover damages or bring legal action as a result of the sexual harassment. As such, in order to avoid limiting yourself in the future, it’s extremely wise to contact a sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible if you suspect that you might have a sexual harassment case on your hands. The attorney with lots of exeprience in sexual harassment suits will be well-versed in the time limitations that apply in your specific jurisdiction. He or she are in the best position to properly advise you regarding your legal options.  

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