D.C.’s Worksharing Agreement with the EEOC Widens Filing Window for Claims Filed with the EEOC to 300 Days

In Lee v. District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 09-CV-1832, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the District of Columbia’s motion to dismiss a complaint brought under the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq., arguing that the plaintiff did not timely file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) within 180 days as required by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e).

The plaintiff, a person with a disability based on his diabetes, alleged in the lawsuit that the District of Columbia’s Department of Corrections discriminated against him by failing to accommodate his condition by offering him meal breaks to stay alert due to the effects of low blood sugar and then terminating him for failing to stay alert during his work shift. The plaintiff acknowledged in his lawsuit that he did not file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days but maintained that his charge was timely filed because it was filed in 205 days, and, given that the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights has a worksharing agreement with the EEOC, the filing deadline is extended to 300 days.

Judge Urbina sided with the plaintiff. He reaffirmed that an individual asserting a claim under the ADA must generally file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days; but, “when a worksharing agreement exists between the EEOC and a state or local Fair Employment Practices (“FEP”) agency, the filing window widens to 300 days.” Judge Urbina then determined that the plaintiff’s discrimination charge was timely because “[t]he DCOHR has entered into such an agreement with the EEOC, and therefore the applicable time limitation for filing a charge of discrimination in the District of Columbia is 300 days.”

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