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What happens with a missed filing deadline?

We are all familiar with the concept of deadlines. Our supervisor or boss may tell us we must a certain project or task completed by a specific date, or we tell our kids they must have their room clean by the end of the day. Moreover, while they all may be called deadlines, we know that some deadlines are more important than others.

A deadline for an application to summer soccer camp may be less critical than an application for college admittance. If you have been subjected to an adverse job action, discrimination or other disciplinary actions at your federal agency, you may need to file an appeal with Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) or an Equal Employment Opportunity office, and there is always a deadline. 

Determining when a deadline applies is often complex. While many filing deadlines may appear relatively straightforward, stating that you have specific number of days in which to make your claim or file your appeal, what is not so straightforward is ascertaining which deadline applies to your claim.

In some cases, the particular deadline may vary depending on which type of action previously occurred and whether there is an additional step that you must take before you can proceed with your appeal.

Some claims require that before you go to court, you must first exhaust all administrative remedies. A federal employment law attorney can help if you are not familiar with administrative law and federal court cases, as you may not understand what your administrative remedies are, let alone whether you have exhausted them.

Nevertheless, one thing is certain, if you fail to meet an important filing deadline, your claim may be gone forever. A jurisdictional deadline prevents a court from hearing a matter, and if you miss one, there is no second chance. 

Source: Fedweek.com, Federal Legal Corner: Filing Error Dooms Discrimination Lawsuit, February 5, 2014

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