Many issues have specific time frames that a person must meet to file a legal course of action. These limits can extend for several years in some criminal proceedings, or they can only allow actions in a much shorter period.
Sexual harassment actions have some of the most stringent time limits in the legal arena.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission outlines many of the parameters necessary to institute a successful action for sexual harassment in federal jurisdiction. Relevant factors include the size of the company and the nature of the action. In many cases, the time frame for a complaint to begin must fall within 180 days of the offensive action.
Individuals who work for a federal employer often have a specific process for sexual harassment complaints. This can also translate into different requirements for court actions. The process for most federal workers begins with the filing of a Charge of Discrimination, which alleges that an entity engaged in employment discrimination. The signed statement requests the EEOC take remedial action.
State and local law
Many states have their own laws on the books that deal with sexual harassment, as well as local units of government. These laws typically cover workers employed by a state or local agency or a private employer and could institute unique time frames for action.
The Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits various forms of discrimination in the workplace in the state. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights enforces the law, often considered one of the strongest civil rights laws in the nation.
In cases where legal action involves a civil lawsuit, the time frame for action typically lasts longer. Sexual harassment law holds much complexity, but it can protect workers in a variety of situations.