hourglassOne of the rules in employment discrimination cases that seems to have blurred of late is the notion that a complaint of discrimination must be filed within 180 days after the alleged discrimination.

A new decision from Presiding Human Rights Referee at the CHRO (CHRO ex rel. Roig v. State of Conn., Department of Correction et al) suggests that the 180 day rule can still be followed — at least in some instances.

In the case, which was just released on Monday, the employee filed an original complaint against the Department of Correction on March 25, 2013.  Approximately 16 months later, the CHRO permitted the complaint to be amended to include the UConn Health Center.

That was simply too late and does not “satisfy the requirements of equitable tolling”.  Moreover, the Referee said that there was no evidence provided to suggest that the Health Center was aware that the Compalint had filed the complaint and therefore had “constructive notice”.

The referee concludes: “To deny this motion to dismiss, on the facts before me, would render the mandatory statutory filing period meaningless and flout the intent of the legislature”.

This is not insignificant. The CHRO has, of late, been very generous to Complainants in allowing them to amend their complaints — even after the 180 day filing period has expired. This decision may put a chill in that practice or, at the very least, gives employers good reason to ask to dismiss the newly-raised matters when the case goes to a hearing or court.