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Selected Deadlines for Whistleblowers

Claim type Subject matter of claim Deadline
EEOC claims discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, or retaliation for filing discrimination complaint report to agency EEO office within 45 days of incident; file with EEOC within 180 days
Rehabilitation Act and
ADA claims
discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived disability substantially impairing one or more major life activity(ies) file with EEOC or comparable state office within 180 days for ADA and then within 90 days of right to sue letter; from 6 months to 6 years depending on applicable state law for Rehabilitation act
Internal and Union Grievances violation of federal civil service laws or union contract rule, respectively must receive information available from agency personnel office or union representative
OSC claims actual or threatened retaliation in violation of federal civil service laws after retaliatory incident (though OSC rarely accepts cases for investigation more than a year old)
MSPB appeal adverse personnel action 30 days from adverse personnel action
MSPB appeal loss of employment 30 days from termination date
MSPB appeal OSC declination of whistleblower claim 65 days from OSC issuance of IRA letter
Dept. of Labor unfair labor practice 6 months of incident
Dept. of Labor Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower reprisal 90 days of incident
Dept. of Labor various environmental statutes 30 days to months after incident
Fed. District Court negligence by federal employee in the scope of his duties; false arrest and similar intentional actions by law enforcement officers within the scope of their duties 2 to 3 years (depending on applicable state law)
Fed. District Court violations of constitutional rights 1 to 4 years (depending on applicable state law)
Fed. Ct. Claims financial loss because of contract violation 6 years

Ways to toll (extend) limitations period:

1. tolled because of mental disability (difficult to prove most functional employees are of unsound mind)
2. equitable tolling--employer misled employee about statute of limitations (affirmative misconduct) or employer persuaded employee not to file a complaint by promising not to invoke the statute of limitations (adverse reliance)
3. injury is ongoing (continuing violation)

Those utilizing internal or union grievance procedures should remember that these deadlines are not extended because of that grievance. The clock begins running at the time of the harm or illegal action, not when the grievance (collateral review) is denied.


Go to Civil Service Appeals Page Go to OSC, MSPB and Federal Circuit Appeals Page Go to EEOC, DOL and Regional Appeals Courts Page