National Railroad Passenger Corporation v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 19 (2002)

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

Opinion of the Court

fact that the statute in no way bars a plaintiff from recovering damages for that portion of the hostile environment that falls outside the period for filing a timely charge. Morgan correctly notes that the timeliness requirement does not dictate the amount of recoverable damages. It is but one in a series of provisions requiring that the parties take action within specified time periods, see, e. g., 2000e-5(b), (c), (d), none of which function as specific limitations on damages.

Explicit limitations on damages are found elsewhere in the statute. Section 1981a(b)(3), for example, details specific limitations on compensatory and punitive damages. Likewise, 2000e-5(g)(1) allows for recovery of backpay liability for up to two years prior to the filing of the charge. If Congress intended to limit liability to conduct occurring in the period within which the party must file the charge, it seems unlikely that Congress would have allowed recovery for two years of backpay. And the fact that Congress expressly limited the amount of recoverable damages elsewhere to a particular time period indicates that the timely filing provision was not meant to serve as a specific limitation either on damages or the conduct that may be considered for the purposes of one actionable hostile work environment claim.

It also makes little sense to limit the assessment of liability in a hostile work environment claim to the conduct that falls within the 180- or 300-day period given that this time period varies based on whether the violation occurs in a State or political subdivision that has an agency with authority to grant or seek relief. It is important to remember that the statute requires that a Title VII plaintiff must wait 60 days after proceedings have commenced under state or local law to file a charge with the EEOC, unless such proceedings have earlier terminated. 2000e-5(c). In such circumstances, however, the charge must still be filed within 300 days of the occurrence. See Mohasco, 447 U. S., at 825-826. The extended time period for parties who first file such


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