In yet another victory for employees in Connecticut, our Supreme Court has ruled that the limitations period to file a claim under CFEPA (180 days) “…commences upon actual cessation of employment, rather than notice thereof.’’ Vollemans v. Town of Wallingford. In this case, the plaintiff was told on December 13, 2002 that his employment would end on January 21, 2003. His complaint, which was filed on June 3, 2003 was initially held to be untimely, even though it was within 180 days of his actual termination date. The Appellate Court reversed and the Supreme Court affirmed per curiam.
This holding departs from Federal jurisprudence on this question, specifically, the cases of Delaware State College v. Ricks, 449 U.S. 250 (1980) and Chardon v. Fernandez, 454 U.S. 6 (1981), in which the United States Supreme Court held that the period for filing a discriminatory discharge complaint under Title VII accrues when the employer unequivocally notifies the employee of termination.
This case is yet another example of how Connecticut’s statutes and jurisprudence can be and frequently are better than similar federal laws (e.g., our minimum wage is higher, c.f., we have to prove wilfulness to get attorneys fees under our wage payment law). In fact, Connecticut is in the minority of states that have rejected the Ricks-Chardon rule. More on this topic in an upcoming blog.
Congratulations to Mr. Vollemans and his attorney, John-Henry Steele of Middlefield, Connecticut.