Does the Applicable Limitations Period Begin When An Individual Is Informed That His Contract Will Expire In One Year ?
In Delaware State College v. Ricks, 449 U.S. 250, 66 L. Ed. 2d 431, 101 S. Ct. 498 (1980), the plaintiff was told that he was denied professorial tenure, and he "was offered a 1-year 'terminal' contract, with explicit notice that his employment would end upon its expiration" and not on a later date when his employment actually terminated. Ricks, 449 U.S. at 258, 66 L. Ed. 2d at 439, 101 S. Ct. at 504.
The Ricks Court held that the applicable limitations period began when the plaintiff was notified that his contract would expire in one year even though his last day on the job might come some time later.
The Court emphasized:
" 'In sum, the only alleged discrimination occurred--and the filing limitations period therefore commenced--at the time the tenure decision was made and communicated to Ricks.
That is so even though one of the effects of the denial of tenure--the eventual loss of a teaching position--did not occur until later.
The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit correctly held, in a similar tenure case, that "the proper focus is upon the time of the discriminatory acts, not upon the time at which the consequences of the acts became most painful."
It is simply insufficient for Ricks to allege that his termination "gives present effect to the past illegal act and therefore perpetuates the consequences of forbidden discrimination." Universal Outdoor, 969 F. Supp. at 1127, quoting Ricks, 449 U.S. at 258, 66 L. Ed. 2d at 440, 101 S. Ct. at 504.