National Railroad Passenger Corporation v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 23 (2002)

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

Opinion of O'Connor, J.

Justice O'Connor, with whom The Chief Justice joins, with whom Justice Scalia and Justice Kennedy join as to all but Part I, and with whom Justice Breyer joins as to Part I, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

I join Part II-A of the Court's opinion because I agree that Title VII suits based on discrete discriminatory acts are time barred when the plaintiff fails to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within the 180- or 300-day time period designated in the statute. 42 U. S. C. 2000e-5(e)(1). I dissent from the remainder of the Court's opinion, however, because I believe a similar restriction applies to all types of Title VII suits, including those based on a claim that a plaintiff has been subjected to a hostile work environment.


The Court today holds that, for discrete discriminatory acts, 2000e-5(e)(1) serves as a form of statute of limitations, barring recovery for actions that take place outside the charge-filing period. The Court acknowledges, however, that this limitations period may be adjusted by equitable doctrines. See ante, at 114, n. 7; see also Zipes v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 455 U. S. 385, 393 (1982) ("We hold that filing a timely charge of discrimination with the EEOC is not a jurisdictional prerequisite to suit in federal court, but a requirement that, like a statute of limitations, is subject to waiver, estoppel, and equitable tolling"). Like the Court, I see no need to resolve fully the application of the discovery rule to claims based on discrete discriminatory acts. See ante, at 114, n. 7. I believe, however, that some version of the discovery rule applies to discrete-act claims. See 2 B. Lindemann & P. Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law 1349 (3d ed. 1996) ("Although [Supreme Court precedents] seem to establish a relatively simple 'notice' rule as to when discrimination 'occurs' (so as to start the running of the charge-filing period), courts continue to disagree on what


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