National Railroad Passenger Corporation v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 12 (2002)

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Opinion of the Court

(1986) (per curiam), a pattern-or-practice case, when considering a discriminatory salary structure, the Court noted that although the salary discrimination began prior to the date that the act was actionable under Title VII, "[e]ach week's paycheck that deliver[ed] less to a black than to a similarly situated white is a wrong actionable under Title VII . . . ." Id., at 395.

This Court has also held that discrete acts that fall within the statutory time period do not make timely acts that fall outside the time period. In United Air Lines, Inc. v. Evans, 431 U. S. 553 (1977), United forced Evans to resign after she married because of its policy against married female flight attendants. Although Evans failed to file a timely charge following her initial separation, she nonetheless claimed that United was guilty of a present, continuing violation of Title VII because its seniority system failed to give her credit for her prior service once she was rehired. The Court disagreed, concluding that "United was entitled to treat [Evans' resignation] as lawful after [she] failed to file a charge of discrimination within the" charge filing period then allowed by the statute. Id., at 558. At the same time, however, the Court noted that "[i]t may constitute relevant background evidence in a proceeding in which the status of a current practice is at issue." Ibid. The emphasis, however, "should not be placed on mere continuity" but on "whether any present violation exist[ed]." Ibid. (emphasis in original).

In Delaware State College v. Ricks, 449 U. S. 250 (1980), the Court evaluated the timeliness of an EEOC complaint filed by a professor who argued that he had been denied academic tenure because of his national origin. Following the decision to deny tenure, the employer offered him a " 'terminal' " contract to teach an additional year. Id., at 253. Claiming, in effect, a " 'continuing violation,' " the professor argued that the time period did not begin to run until his actual termination. Id., at 257. The Court rejected this argument: "Mere continuity of employment, without more,

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