Opinion of the Court
quires proof of (1) lack of diligence by the party against whom the defense is asserted, and (2) prejudice to the party asserting the defense.' " Kansas v. Colorado, 514 U. S. 673, 687 (1995) (quoting Costello v. United States, 365 U. S. 265, 282, (1961)). We do not address questions here such as "how—and how much—prejudice must be shown" or "what consequences follow if laches is established." 2 Lindemann 1496-1500.14 We observe only that employers may raise various defenses in the face of unreasonable and prejudicial delay.
We conclude that a Title VII plaintiff raising claims of discrete discriminatory or retaliatory acts must file his charge within the appropriate time period—180 or 300 days—set forth in 42 U. S. C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). A charge alleging a hostile work environment claim, however, will not be time barred so long as all acts which constitute the claim are part of the same unlawful employment practice and at least one act falls within the time period. Neither holding, however, precludes a court from applying equitable doctrines that may toll or limit the time period.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court of Appeals' judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
14 Nor do we have occasion to consider whether the laches defense may be asserted against the EEOC, even though traditionally the doctrine may not be applied against the sovereign. We note, however, that in Occidental there seemed to be general agreement that courts can provide relief to defendants against inordinate delay by the EEOC. See Occidental Life Ins. Co. of Cal. v. EEOC, 432 U. S. 355, 373 (1977). Cf. id., at 383 (Rehnquist, J., dissenting in part) ("Since here the suit is to recover back-pay for an individual that could have brought her own suit, it is impossible to think that the EEOC was suing in the sovereign capacity of the United States").Page: Index Previous 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Next
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