Continuing Violation Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

The "continuing violation" doctrine overrides the statute of limitations. This is an exception to the statute of limitations which sets the maximum period which one can wait before filing a lawsuit. For example an employee who suffers from recurring acts of abusive conduct may be unable to recognize the true character and enormity of the discriminatory harassment until after it has continued for an appreciable period of time. Therefore the employee can bring action on any one of the hostile acts extending over a period of time as a new cause of action arises in each case. The continuing violations doctrine, which typically arises in the context of employment discrimination, permits employees to recover for discriminatory acts, such as harassment or promotion denials, that fall outside the limitations period, as long as part of a "continuing violation" is within the period.

The doctrine relieves a plaintiff of a limitations bar if he/she can show a series of related acts to him/her, one or more of which falls within the limitations period. Pegram v. Honeywell, Inc., 361 F.3d 272, 279 (5th Cir. 2004).

In the context of wetlands, the continuing violations doctrine holds that for every day illegally dumped fill remains in a wetland, a new and separate violation accrues.

This is also termed Continuing claim doctrine.