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Home > Resources > PAF Publications > PAF Guides & Major Publications > First My Illness... > When to File

When You Can File



Employee must file with the state FEPA’s within 180 days of the last act of discrimination. It is possible to extend the 180 days to 300 days in states that have FEPA agencies; however, good practice is to file the claim within 180 days. You may file a lawsuit against your employer within 90 days after receiving a notice of a "right to sue" from the EEOC. Under Title VII of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), you can request a notice of "right to sue" from EEOC 180 days after the charge is first filed with the Commission. You may then bring suit within 90 days after receiving this notice. Under the Age Discrimination Employment Agency (ADEA) a suit may be filed at any time 60 days after filing a charge with EEOC, but not later than 90 days after EEOC gives notice that it has completed action on the charge. This 180-day filing deadline is extended to 300 days if a state or local anti-discrimination law covers the
charge. For ADEA charges, only state laws extend the filing limit to 300 days. Legally, you must utilize the EEOC before any attempt to file a private suit against an employer. The EEOC prerequisites apply to many claims, including ADA and ADEA; however they are not required if you are making a claim for disability benefits under a long-term disability policy issued by or on behalf of your employer. The Patient Advocate Foundation suggests that any individual who feels they are the victims of discrimination or potential discrimination should document particular instances at or near the time that such occurrences are taking place. The type of evidence, i.e., a journal note that the supervisor told me on "x" date "that my medical condition was a liability to the company," is often invaluable in later litigation. The majority of patients, who face job discrimination due to a critical illness diagnosis, usually have problems in the following areas. The following are categories of possible discrimination and questions you should ask yourself in each category.
  • Job discrimination resulting in loss of employment. If the loss of employment were due to excessive absence from work because of illness, your best advantage would be the FMLA and or ADA. Did I utilize the benefits and was I made aware of them?

  • Age discrimination. If facing discrimination by age check with Age Discrimination Employment Agency (ADEA) in regards to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Are you 40 years of age or older?

  • Layoff and downsizing affects. Is the entire company, my department as a whole or those in similar positions experiencing a decrease in work hours? Is business slower right now? Will the decrease in hours affect my eligibility for Health Insurance? These are questions to ask before you consider filing a formal complaint to make sure that you are not filing a claim that may be dismissed.

  • Job discrimination resulting in decrease of wages. In this event please seek the assistance of the EEOC. The Equal Pay Act of 1964 does call for equal pay for performing the same job, handicapped, disabled etc.

  • Job discrimination resulting in change of job description. Are you performing the same job for a loss of wages and change of title? Can you still perform the job you have and have been given no specific reason for a demotion?

  • Job discrimination involving harassment. Has your privacy been violated with other employees knowing your medical history? (The ADA specifically prohibits the disclosure of medical information except in limited situations, which do not include disclosure to coworkers.) Are coworkers harassing you verbally or physically? (If physically or violently, a charge should be filed with the police.) Are you being singled out and harassed because you need to request specific dates off weekly for treatment? Please refer to the ADA and FMLA and contact your local EEOC or FEPA.

  • Job discrimination involving denial of disability benefits. Do you have a copy of your benefits handbook that shows the policy and eligibility for all employees? Do you fit the requirements for this policy? You should check with your human resources department or employee benefits division. An administrative review may be required under the Plan policy; if the review yields unfavorable results, then the next step (after satisfying the appeals) is to file suit in a federal court.