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What is the continuing violation doctrine, and how does it work?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2022 | Employment Law

All workers in Idaho deserve to be free of discrimination on the job. Unfortunately, in spite of the law, some employers are guilty of discriminating against employees. This gives any employee who is being targeted the right to file a discrimination claim against the employer. In some situations, the continuing violation doctrine comes into play.

Understanding the continuing violation doctrine

The continuing violation doctrine only applies to acts of discrimination that are ongoing for one year or longer. If the employer or a worker’s supervisor has perpetrated any act of discrimination such as racial, sexual harassment or harassment based on disability status, gender or age, the employee can file a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This doesn’t apply to a situation such as a hostile working environment because it can’t be tied to any specific date.

In general, an employee has to file a discrimination claim with the EEOC within a specified number of days of the act. However, if discrimination has been continuous for a period longer than a year, the continuing violation doctrine kicks in.

How the continuing violation doctrine works

While the continuing violation doesn’t include situations such as termination, it does include different forms of workplace discrimination. For example, an employer has repeatedly sexually harassed a female employee and continued to do so even after instances were in the presence of a witness who spoke up and said it was inappropriate. However, if the employer continued with the harassment, the employee could argue that it was a continuing violation when filing a discrimination complaint.

Sometimes, proving a continuing violation is challenging. However, if your rights have been violated at work and you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, it’s possible to hold the employer accountable.