JUSTICE GINSBURG delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case concerns the distinction between two sometimes confused or conflated concepts: federal-court "subject-matter" jurisdiction over a controversy; and the essential ingredients of a federal claim for relief. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful "for an employer ... to discriminate," inter alia, on the basis of sex. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). The Act's jurisdictional provision empowers federal courts to adjudicate civil actions "brought under" Title VII. § 2000e-5(f)(3). Covering a broader field, the Judicial Code gives federal courts subject-matter jurisdiction over all civil actions "arising under" the laws of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Title VII actions fit that description. In a provision defining 13 terms used in Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, Congress limited the definition of "employer" to include only those having "fifteen or more employees," § 2000e(b). The question here presented is whether the numerical qualification contained in Title VII's definition of "employer" affects federal-court subject-matter jurisdiction or, instead, delineates a substantive ingredient of a Title VII claim for relief.
The question arises in this context. Jenifer Arbaugh, plaintiff below, petitioner here, brought a Title VII action
Although recognizing that it was "unfair and a waste of judicial resources" to grant the motion to dismiss, App. to Pet. for Cert. 47, the trial court considered itself obliged to do so because it believed that the 15-or-more-employees requirement was jurisdictional. We reject that categorization and hold that the numerical threshold does not circumscribe federal-court subject-matter jurisdiction. Instead, the employee-numerosity requirement relates to the substantive adequacy of Arbaugh's Title VII claim, and therefore could not be raised defensively late in the lawsuit, i. e., after Y&H had failed to assert the objection prior to the close of trial on the merits.
We set out below statutory provisions and rules that bear on this case. Title VII makes it "an unlawful employment practice for an employer . . . to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). To spare very small businesses from Title VII liability, Congress provided that:
This employee-numerosity requirement
Congress has broadly authorized the federal courts to exercise subject-matter jurisdiction over "all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Title VII surely is a "la[w] of the United States." Ibid. In 1964, however, when Title VII was enacted, § 1331's umbrella provision for federal-question jurisdiction contained an amount-in-controversy limitation: Claims could not be brought under § 1331 unless the amount in controversy exceeded $10,000. See § 1331(a) (1964 ed.). Title VII, framed in that light, assured that the amount-in-controversy limitation would not impede an employment-discrimination complainant's access to a federal forum. The Act thus contains its own jurisdiction-conferring provision, which reads:
Congress amended 28 U.S.C. § 1331 in 1980 to eliminate the amount-in-controversy threshold. See Federal Question Jurisdictional Amendments Act of 1980, § 2, 94 Stat. 2369. Since that time, Title VII's own jurisdictional provision, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3), has served simply to underscore Congress' intention to provide a federal forum for the adjudication of Title VII claims. See Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 13; Tr. of Oral Arg. 4.
We note, too, that, under 28 U.S.C. § 1367, federal courts may exercise "supplemental" jurisdiction over state-law claims linked to a claim based on federal law.
The objection that a federal court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, see Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 12(b)(1), may be raised by a party, or by a court on its own initiative, at any stage in the litigation, even after trial and the entry of judgment. Rule 12(h)(3) instructs: "Whenever it appears by suggestion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action."
From May 2000 through February 2001, Jenifer Arbaugh worked as a bartender and waitress at the Moonlight Cafe, a New Orleans restaurant owned and operated by Y&H. Arbaugh alleged that Yalcin Hatipoglu, one of the company's owners, sexually harassed her and precipitated her constructive discharge.
Arbaugh's pleadings alleged that her federal claim "ar[o]se under Title VII" and that the Federal District Court had jurisdiction over this claim under § 1331 plus supplemental jurisdiction over her state-law claims under § 1367. Record, Doc. 3, p. 1 (Amended Complaint). Y&H's responsive pleadings admitted Arbaugh's "jurisdictional" allegations but denied her contentions on the merits. Id., Doc. 4, p. 1 (Answer to Complaint). The pretrial order submitted and signed by the parties, and later subscribed by the presiding judge, reiterated that the court was "vested with jurisdiction over [Arbaugh's Title VII claim] pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331," and
The parties consented to trial before a Magistrate Judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). After a two-day trial, the jury found that Arbaugh had been sexually harassed and constructively discharged in violation of Title VII and Louisiana anti-discrimination law. The verdict awarded Arbaugh $5,000 in backpay, $5,000 in compensatory damages, and $30,000 in punitive damages. The trial court entered judgment for Arbaugh on November 5, 2002.
Two weeks later, Y&H filed a motion under Federal Rule 12(h)(3) to dismiss Arbaugh's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Record, Doc. 44. As sole ground for the motion, Y&H alleged, for the first time in the proceedings, that it "did not employ fifteen or more employees [during the relevant period] and thus is not an employer for Title VII purposes." Id., p. 2 (Memorandum in Support of Rule 12(h)(3) Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction). The trial court commented that "[i]t is unfair and a waste of judicial resources to permit [Y&H] to admit Arbaugh's allegations of jurisdiction, try the case for two days and then assert a lack of subject matter jurisdiction in response to an adverse jury verdict." App. to Pet. for Cert. 47. Nevertheless, reciting the text of Rule 12(h)(3), see supra, at 506, the trial court allowed Y&H to plead that it did not qualify as an "employer" under Title VII's definition of that term. App. to Pet. for Cert. 47-48; see supra, at 504-505.
The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed. 380 F.3d 219 (2004). Bound by its prior decisions, the Court of Appeals held that a defendant's "failure to qualify as an `employer' under Title VII deprives a district court of subject matter jurisdiction." Id., at 224 (citing, e. g., Dumas v. Mt. Vernon, 612 F.2d 974, 980 (1980)). Dismissal for want of subject-matter jurisdiction was proper, the Court of Appeals ruled, for the record warranted the conclusion that Y&H's delivery drivers, its owner-managers, and their shareholder wives were not "employees" for Title VII purposes, 380 F.3d, at 225-230, and it was undisputed that Y&H "did not employ the requisite 15 employees without the inclusion of" those persons, id., at 231.
We granted certiorari, 544 U.S. 1031 (2005), to resolve conflicting opinions in Courts of Appeals on the question whether Title VII's employee-numerosity requirement, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b), is jurisdictional or simply an element of a plaintiff's claim for relief. Compare, e. g., 380 F.3d, at 223-225 (Title VII's employee-numerosity requirement is jurisdictional), and Armbruster v. Quinn, 711 F.2d 1332, 1335
"Jurisdiction," this Court has observed, "is a word of many, too many, meanings." Steel Co. v. Citizens for Better Environment, 523 U.S. 83, 90 (1998) (internal quotation marks omitted). This Court, no less than other courts, has sometimes been profligate in its use of the term. For example, this Court and others have occasionally described a non-extendable time limit as "mandatory and jurisdictional." See, e. g., United States v. Robinson, 361 U.S. 220, 229 (1960). But in recent decisions, we have clarified that time prescriptions, however emphatic, "are not properly typed `jurisdictional.'" Scarborough v. Principi, 541 U.S. 401, 414 (2004); accord Eberhart v. United States, ante, at 16-19 (per curiam); Kontrick, 540 U.S., at 454-455. See also Carlisle v. United States, 517 U.S. 416, 434-435 (1996) (GINSBURG, J., concurring).
The dispute now before us concerns the proper classification of Title VII's statutory limitation of covered employers to those with 15 or more employees. If the limitation conditions subject-matter jurisdiction, as the lower courts held it did, then a conclusion that Y&H had fewer than 15 employees would require erasure of the judgment for Arbaugh entered on the jury verdict. But if the lower courts' subject-matter jurisdiction characterization is incorrect, and the issue, instead, concerns the merits of Arbaugh's case, then Y&H raised the employee-numerosity requirement too late. Its pretrial stipulations, see supra, at 508, and its failure to
On the subject-matter jurisdiction/ingredient-of-claim-for-relief dichotomy, this Court and others have been less than meticulous. "Subject matter jurisdiction in federal-question cases is sometimes erroneously conflated with a plaintiff's need and ability to prove the defendant bound by the federal law asserted as the predicate for relief—a merits-related determination." 2 J. Moore et al., Moore's Federal Practice § 12.30, p. 12-36.1 (3d ed. 2005) (hereinafter Moore). Judicial opinions, the Second Circuit incisively observed, "often obscure the issue by stating that the court is dismissing `for lack of jurisdiction' when some threshold fact has not been established, without explicitly considering whether the dismissal should be for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or for failure to state a claim." Da Silva, 229 F.3d, at 361. We have described such unrefined dispositions as "drive-by jurisdictional rulings" that should be accorded "no precedential effect" on the question whether the federal court had authority to adjudicate the claim in suit. Steel Co., 523 U.S., at 91.
Cases of this genre include Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69 (1984), and EEOC v. Arabian American Oil Co., 499 U.S. 244 (1991). Hishon involved a Title VII claim brought by a lawyer denied partnership in a law firm. The District Court ruled that Title VII did not apply to the selection of partners and dismissed the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals affirmed that judgment. We noted that the District Court's reasoning "ma[de] clear that it dismissed petitioner's complaint on the ground that her allegations did not state a claim cognizable under Title VII." 467 U.S., at 73, n. 2. Disagreeing with the lower courts, we held that Title VII applies to partnership decisions. Id., at 73-78. That holding, we said,
In Arabian American Oil Co., we affirmed the judgment of the courts below that Title VII, as then composed, did not apply to a suit by a United States employee working abroad for a United States employer.
The basic statutory grants of federal-court subject-matter jurisdiction are contained in 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332. Section 1331 provides for "[f]ederal-question" jurisdiction, § 1332 for "[d]iversity of citizenship" jurisdiction. A plaintiff properly invokes § 1331 jurisdiction when she pleads a colorable claim "arising under" the Constitution or laws of the United States. See Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 681-685 (1946).
Arbaugh invoked federal-question jurisdiction under § 1331, but her case "aris[es]" under a federal law, Title VII, that specifies, as a prerequisite to its application, the existence of a particular fact, i. e., 15 or more employees. We resolve the question whether that fact is "jurisdictional" or relates to the "merits" of a Title VII claim mindful of the consequences of typing the 15-employee threshold a determinant
First, "subject-matter jurisdiction, because it involves a court's power to hear a case, can never be forfeited or waived." United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 630 (2002). Moreover, courts, including this Court, have an independent obligation to determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even in the absence of a challenge from any party. Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 583 (1999). Nothing in the text of Title VII indicates that Congress intended courts, on their own motion, to assure that the employee-numerosity requirement is met.
Second, in some instances, if subject-matter jurisdiction turns on contested facts, the trial judge may be authorized to review the evidence and resolve the dispute on her own. See 5B C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1350, pp. 243-249 (3d ed. 2004); 2 Moore § 12.30, pp. 12-37 to 12-38. If satisfaction of an essential element of a claim for relief is at issue, however, the jury is the proper trier of contested facts. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150-151 (2000).
Third, when a federal court concludes that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the complaint in its entirety. See 16 Moore § 106.66, pp. 106-88 to 106-89. Thus in the instant case, the trial court dismissed, along with the Title VII claim, pendent state-law claims, see supra, at 506, fully tried by a jury and determined on the merits, see App. to Pet. for Cert. 23, 47. In contrast, when a court grants a motion to dismiss for failure to state a federal claim, the court generally retains discretion to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, over pendent state-law claims. See 16 Moore § 106.66, pp. 106-86 to 106-89.
Of course, Congress could make the employee-numerosity requirement "jurisdictional," just as it has made an amountin-controversy threshold an ingredient of subject-matter jurisdiction
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For the reasons stated, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
JUSTICE ALITO took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.