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What is the continuing violation doctrine?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2022 | Workplace Discrimination

Sometimes, it takes a while for a Rhode Island employee to recognize toxicity in the workplace or their boss’s subtle yet hostile workplace behavior until a significant amount of time elapses. The continuing violation doctrine essentially overrides the statute of limitations in the workplace, allowing employees additional time to take legal action against their employer for such offenses.

Who can benefit from the continuing violation doctrine?

Toxic environments take many forms in the workplace. Hostile management, workplace discrimination, denial of promotions, sexual harassment, and favoritism are just a few common reasons why an employee might want to take legal action. These types of offenses are often continuous, and any employee dealing with such issues can benefit from the continuing violation doctrine.

How can you prove your case?

Certain acts are more difficult to prove than others. For example, proving a sexual harassment case can be very challenging, especially if the offender only harasses individuals in private. However, if you’re a highly qualified candidate who was denied a promotion 10 times, this information is documented and easier to prove. To increase your chances of proving harassment, you may need a few witnesses, or you might have to join forces with another individual who has experienced the same or a similar situation. The continuing violation doctrine gives you time to do a bit of research and plan your grievance.


Once you recognize that there’s an ongoing issue in your workplace, begin documenting each incident. It’s important to include the date, the time of the incident, the names of all parties involved and a detailed description of the offense. A single act is not enough to build a strong case, so it’s important to continuously document offenses as they occur. It’s also a good idea to speak to someone at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission since they typically handle such cases.

Many employees face ongoing challenges at work. Thankfully, the continuing violation doctrine makes it possible for individuals to take legal action against employers at any moment without worrying about the statute of limitations.