National Railroad Passenger Corporation v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 20 (2002)

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120

NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION v. MORGAN

Opinion of the Court

charges in a State or locality ensures that employees are neither time barred from later filing their charges with the EEOC nor dissuaded from first filing with a state agency. See id., at 821 ("The history identifies only one reason for treating workers in deferral States differently from workers in other States: to give state agencies an opportunity to redress the evil at which the federal legislation was aimed, and to avoid federal intervention unless its need was demonstrated"). Surely, therefore, we cannot import such a limiting principle into the provision where its effect would be to make the reviewable time period for liability dependent upon whether an employee lives in a State that has its own remedial scheme.12

Simply put, 2000e-5(e)(1) is a provision specifying when a charge is timely filed and only has the consequence of limiting liability because filing a timely charge is a prerequisite to having an actionable claim. A court's task is to determine whether the acts about which an employee complains are part of the same actionable hostile work environment practice, and if so, whether any act falls within the statutory time period.

With respect to Morgan's hostile environment claim, the Court of Appeals concluded that " the pre- and post-limitations period incidents involve[d] the same type of employment actions, occurred relatively frequently, and were perpetrated by the same managers." 232 F. 3d, at 1017. To support his claims of a hostile environment, Morgan presented evidence from a number of other employees that managers made racial jokes, performed racially derogatory acts, made negative comments regarding the capacity of blacks to be supervisors, and used various racial epithets. Id., at 1013. Although many of the acts upon which his claim depends occurred outside the 300 day filing period,

12 The same concern is not implicated with discrete acts given that, unlike hostile work environment claims, liability there does not depend upon proof of repeated conduct extending over a period of time.

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