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Legal Memorandum: Statute of Limitations for DFR Claims

Issue: What is the applicable statute of limitations period for a duty of fair (DFR) representation claim?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Limitations period; Duty of fair representation (DFR) claim
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 789 F.2d 230
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 01/01/2009

The applicable limitations period for DFR claims is six months.  Podobnik v. United States Postal Serv., 409 F.3d 584, 593 (3rd Cir. 2005). “The limitations period for a fair representation claim begins to run when plaintiff knows or reasonably should have known of the acts contributing to the union’s wrongdoing in failing to adequately represent the member’s interest.”  Podobnik, 409 F.3d at 593 (quoting Miklovic v. U.S. Air Inc., 21 F.3d 551, 556 (3d Cir. 1994)).  When the act of refusing to proceed with a grievance is the inadequate representation alleged, the claim does not begin to run “until it was or should have been clear to the employee that the union would not pursue the grievance.”  Vadino v. A. Valey Eng’rs, 903 F.2d 253, 261 (3d Cir. 1990); see Hersh v. Allen Products Co., 789 F.2d 230, 232 (3d Cir. 1986) (limitations period does not begin to run until plaintiff learns that union will not proceed with the grievance).

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