National Railroad Passenger Corporation v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 15 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 101 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

ager.8 Id., at 1013. All prior discrete discriminatory acts are untimely filed and no longer actionable.9


Hostile environment claims are different in kind from discrete acts. Their very nature involves repeated conduct. See 1 B. Lindemann & P. Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law 348-349 (3d ed. 1996) (hereinafter Lindemann) ("The repeated nature of the harassment or its intensity constitutes evidence that management knew or should have known of its existence"). The "unlawful employment practice" therefore cannot be said to occur on any particular day. It occurs over a series of days or perhaps years and, in direct contrast to discrete acts, a single act of harassment may not be actionable on its own. See Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc., 510 U. S. 17, 21 (1993) ("As we pointed out in Meritor [Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U. S. 57, 67 (1986),] 'mere utterance of an . . . epithet which engenders offensive feelings in a[n] employee,' ibid. (internal quotation marks omitted), does not sufficiently affect the conditions of employment to implicate Title VII"). Such claims are based on the cumulative effect of individual acts.

"We have repeatedly made clear that although [Title VII] mentions specific employment decisions with immediate consequences, the scope of the prohibition 'is not limited to "eco-8 The final alleged discriminatory act, he contends, led to his termination on March 3, 1995. Morgan alleges that after the manager reported that Morgan had threatened him, he was ordered into a supervisor's office. Then, after he asked for union representation or the presence of a co-worker as a witness, the supervisor denied both, ordered everyone out of the office, and yelled at Morgan to get his "black ass" into the office. Morgan refused and went home. He was subsequently suspended and charged with violations of two company rules and, following an investigatory hearing, terminated.

9 We have no occasion here to consider the timely filing question with respect to "pattern-or-practice" claims brought by private litigants as none are at issue here.


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