yellow text on black book that reads statue of limitations

Understanding the statute of limitations for New York State and New York City employment laws is incredibly important. A statute of limitations refers to the amount of time that a person has to bring a legal claim or lawsuit. When a person fails to deliver an employment law claim within the statute of limitations, he or she will lose the right to bring the suit. 

The amount of time that an employee has to bring an employment law claim depends on the type of claim. The best way to discover how much time you submit your employment law claim is to speak to an employment lawyer. The lawyers at Lipsky Lowe LLP can advise as to how long you have to file your employment law claim. We will fight aggressively for your best interests throughout the process. Contact our New York City employment lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation. 

The Statute of Limitations Depends on the Type of Employment Law Claim

Federal and state employment law gives employees the right to file several different types of lawsuits. New York imposes various statutes of limitations for workplace discrimination claims, minimum wage claims, unemployment claims, employee leave, and workers’ compensation claims. Time is of the essence when it comes to filing an employment law claim or lawsuit. Many employment laws require that an employee file a claim within a year of the incident. 

The statute of limitations typically begins with each unlawful event. This means your time to file a lawsuit will expire if you do not file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations following the last unlawful event. 

180 Day Statute of Limitations in Employment Law Cases

Employees only have 180 days to file a claim with OSHA under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This statute of limitations is one of the shortest in the area of employment law. If you are planning on filing a claim under this Act, we recommend speaking to an employment law attorney as soon as possible. 

300 Day Statutes of Limitations in Employment Law Cases

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Employees have 300 days to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI protects covered employees from discrimination based on religion, color, race, sex/gender/pregnancy, or national origin.

Americans with Disabilities Act: Employees also have 300 days to file a charge with the EEOC under the Americans with Disabilities Act for discrimination or retaliation based on a disability.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act: Employees have 300 days to file a claim with the EEOC for age-based discrimination in the workplace.

One Year Statutes of Limitations

Defamation: Employees have one year to file a complaint in a court of competent jurisdiction for libel and slander. Defamation lawsuits include both slander and libel.

Intentional Torts: Employees have a year to file a claim for any of the intentional torts recognized by New York Law, including battery, conversion, assault, and false imprisonment.

Two Year Statutes of Limitation

Fair Labor Standards Act: Employees have two years to file a claim wage and hour violations, which gets extended to three years for reckless or willful violations. Generally, most claims have a three year statute of limitations.

Family Medical Leave Act: Employees have two years to file a claim when an employer retaliates against them or interferes with their right to leave.

Three Year Statutes of Limitations

New York City Human Rights Law: Employees have three years to file a claim under the Human Rights Law. This law is broad and covers discrimination based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, disability, and other classes. 

New York State Human Rights Law: Employees have three years to file a claim based on employment discrimination under state law. The state law covers many classes, including a person’s status as a domestic violence victim, criminal record, or predisposing genetic conditions.

Dodd-Frank Act: Employees have six years from the date that their employer retaliated against them. Or, they must file within three years after the employee came to know or should have known facts material to the claim. Employees cannot file claims more than ten years after the violation happened. 

42 U.S. Code Section 1983: People can sue the government for civil rights abuses when the defendant acts under the color of state or local law. Victims of civil rights abuses have three years from the date of the violation to file a claim.

Tortious Interference: People have three years to file a claim for tortious interference with a contract or with a prospective business relationship.

Four Year Statutes of Limitations

42 U.S. Code Section 1983: This federal law imposes a four-year statute of limitations. A person who experienced racial discrimination under this law must file within four years. 

Six-Year Statutes of Limitations

Breach of Contract: A plaintiff has six years to file a complaint about a breach of an employment contract in court.

Fraud: A person bringing a fraud claim has six years from the date that he or she discovered the fraud to file a complaint.

New York Labor Law: A person who brings a claim for wage and hour violations against their employer has six years to file the complaint.

New York’s Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Employment Law Claims

In 2019, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that extended the statute of limitations on workplace harassment. The sweeping new workplace harassment legislation was part of Cuomo’s Women’s Justice Agenda. 

Previously, employees only had one year to file a claim for sexual harassment in the workplace. Now, employees have three years to file a complaint or lawsuit. The legislation also lifted the requirement that sexual harassment is “severe or pervasive.” Now, employees can submit claims for sexual harassment without meeting the burden of proving that the harassment is severe or pervasive.  

The statute of limitations for sexual harassment at work is now three years. New York recognizes different statutes of limitations for sexual abuse, however. Like most other states, New York doesn’t begin enforcing statutes of limitation for civil sexual abuse lawsuits until the victim becomes an adult (age 18 and older). When the abuser intentionally sexually abused a victim, the victim has a year to file a lawsuit.

When the victim is suing an institution, such as a school or church, for supervising or hiring the sexual abuser, the victim has three years to file a lawsuit. Any sexual abuse lawsuit based on negligence includes also includes a three-year statute of limitations.