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Court affirms employer defenses in discrimination cases

Sharolyn Whiting-Ralston of McAfee & Taft discusses discrimination cases.
by Paula Burkes Published: February 8, 2013
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/articleid/3753037/1/pictures/1947005">Photo - Sharolyn Whiting-Ralston is an employment attorney with McAfee & Taft. <strong></strong>
Sharolyn Whiting-Ralston is an employment attorney with McAfee & Taft.

Q: What's the deadline for employees who file a complaint in Oklahoma?

A: 180 days. The Oklahoma Legislature recently passed a bill abolishing the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission, the state agency responsible for handling discrimination claims. And while the Oklahoma attorney general's office has taken on the responsibility of civil rights enforcement for claims involving violations of the state's anti-discrimination law, it does not currently have a work-share agreement with the EEOC. Therefore, the longer extension of time does not apply in Oklahoma.

Q: Is all this good news or bad news for employers?

A: The 10th Circuit's recent decision is good for employers in that it confirmed defenses employers have had and should have at their disposal in litigating employment discrimination claims, including whether the employee filed a timely complaint. The 180-day rule is also good for employers in that it limits, to some extent, an employer's risk to things that have happened within the past year and not years or decades ago. It is always to the employer's advantage to conduct a timely and thorough investigation of any claims of discrimination just as quickly as they are notified of them.

PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER

by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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