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Statute of Limitations Sexual Harassment

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Return to Sexual Harassment

Timeframe for Filing the Initial Claim with the MCAD

Under Massachusetts law, a charge of discrimination must be filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) within 300 days of the last act of sexual harassment. While there are some exceptions, the time period is triggered once the victim knows or should know that he or she is being sexually harassed. This is a strict rule which, if violated, will bar the victim from receiving any compensation for the sexual harassment which he or she has endured.

Filing in Court

For various reasons, some victims of sexual harassment prefer to have their cases heard in court rather than before the MCAD. Nonetheless, the law requires that the case first be filed with the MCAD within 300 days of the last act of harassment. The complaint must remain before the MCAD for at least 90 days, after which the victim may remove the case from the MCAD and file a lawsuit in state or federal court. The statute of limitations for filing in court is three years from the date of the last act of sexual harassment.

What if there is a Continuing Violation?

The law recognizes that incidents of sexual harassment serious enough to create a hostile work environment typically accumulate over time, and that any single incident, viewed in isolation, may not be serious enough to constitute sexual harassment. Therefore, if a continuing violation occurs, the filing period may be measured from the occurrence of the last act of discrimination. However, at least one instance of sexually harassing conduct must occur within the 300 day limitations period which is related to the previous harassment.

If you are the victim of sexual harassment, the best advice is to consult with an attorney as soon as the harassment occurs. Failure to comply with the statutes of limitation will prevent you from proceeding with your case.  If you have questions about this process, contact an attorney at Sankey Law Offices.  In most cases, we are willing to work on a contingency fee basis, with no charge for our legal services unless you receive compensation for your losses.


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