Employee beats statute of limitations exclusion through questionnaire form
Case name: Caplinger v. Uranium Disposition Services, LLC, et al., No. 2:08-cv-548 (S.D. Ohio 2009).
Ruling: The U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio denied dismissal of a uranium disposition contractor in a former subcontractor's ADA Title I suit against his own employer and the contractor. The District Court granted dismissal of the employee's state wrongful termination suit.
What it means:
An employee who does not submit a formal charge of discrimination with the EEOC within the statute of limitations, but who commenced the complaint process in timely fashion through a sufficiently complete EEOC questionnaire form, may still have his claim considered by a court.
An electrical company employee who was assigned to work on a project for a uranium disposition contractor injured his right knee at work. When he returned to the jobsite after taking medical leave to recover, he was told he was a "safety liability" and terminated, despite the fact he had full medical clearance to work without restrictions. He sued his employer and the contractor under ADA Title I and state law. The District Court denied dismissal of the employee's ADA claims. Although the employee submitted a formal charge with the EEOC 344 days after his termination, the court held that his EEOC intake questionnaire, which he submitted within the 300-day statute of limitations, satisfied the timely filing requirement. The court noted that the employee's signed questionnaire form included all the necessary information to give the contractor notice of his claim. It identified the parties' names, contact information, dates of events, and other pertinent data. Although the contractor and employer objected that he didn't provide full and accurate addresses, the court pointed out that he provided sufficient information to identify the companies and to provide them with notification of the charges.
The employee's state law wrongful discharge/public policy claim failed because he had sufficient remedies through the federal statutes.
April 30, 2009
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