What Is the Statute of Limitations For Employment Claims in New York?

A statute of limitations is the time period that an individual has to bring a lawsuit, either by filing the claim in court or with an administrative agency.  The answer to this question, however, depends on the type of claim and who the employer is and ranges anywhere from 45 days to 6 years.  Many of these statute of limitations periods overlap because the statutes that create the cause of action overlap, but here is a general list of the statute of limitations period for the most common types of employment claims:

Common Law Claims

Common law claims are those claims that are recognized by the courts, but are not created by any particular statute.  These claims tend to be more of the traditional types of claims that exist not because Congress or the state legislature wanted to create them, but because courts have recognized these types of claims to exist.  As a result, these generally fall into the category of breach of contract claims or tort claims (e.g., negligence or fraud).  The timeline to bring these claims usually starts running at the time of the injury or breach (or the discovery in the case of fraud).  The statute of limitations for these types of claims are as follows:

  • Breach of Contract (including claims for breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and promissory estoppel): 6 years
  • Defamation (includes both slander and libel): 1 year
  • Fraud (including fraudulent omission and fraudulent misrepresentation): 6 years from discovery of fraud
  • Unjust Enrichment: 3 years
  • Personal Injury: 3 years
  • Intentional Torts (e.g., assault, battery): 1 year
  • Negligence (including, among others, claims such as negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring): 3 years
  • Tortious Interference with Contractual or Prospective Business Relationships: 3 years

Statutory Claims

Statutory Claims are claims that are created by statute – meaning that the federal, state or city government decided to make certain types of conduct illegal and allow individuals to sue their employer if they violate those laws.  Below are the most common types of statutory claims:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (includes claims for discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex/gender/pregnancy or national origin and retaliation): 300 days to file with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • Section 1981 (referring to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, which outlaws discrimination on the basis of race): 4 years
  • Section 1983 (referring to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which creates a cause of action against state actors that deny any individual of any federally-protected right): 3 years
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): 300 days to file with EEOC
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): 300 days to file with EEOC
  • Family Medical Leave Act (includes claims for both FMLA interference and retaliation claims): 2 years
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (includes minimum wage, overtime and retaliation claims): 2 years for most violations, 3 years if the court determines that the violation was “willful” violations
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (typically a retaliation claim): 180 days to file with OSHA
  • Dodd-Frank Act (like SOX, typically a retaliation claim): either 6 years from the date when the retaliation occurred OR 3 years after the date “facts material to the right of action are known or reasonably should have been known by the employee,” but not more than 10 years after the date of the violation
  • New York Labor Law (includes, among others, minimum wage, overtime and retaliation claims): 6 years
  • New York State Human Rights Law (includes claims for discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, sex/gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, domestic violence victim status, arrest or conviction record, or an individual’s predisposing genetic characteristics): 3 years
  • New York City Human Rights Law (includes claims for discrimination on the discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation or alienage/citizenship status): 3 years

Discrimination Complaints by Federal Employees

The complaint process for federal employees pursuing discrimination is completely different that the process for employees of state/local governments and the private sector.  The first step in this process is to contact the EEO Counselor for the agency that you work for within 45 days of the discrimination taking place.  From that point forward, there are a number of deadlines that are triggered by a number of other factors.  Given the tight deadlines, it is best for federal employees to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Notice of Claim Requirement for Employees of New York State or City

Individuals that work for the State of New York or New York City (including the NYC Dept. of Education) must file a “notice of claim” within 90 days of the date on which the claim arose if they wish to pursue a claim under state or local law – both common law and statutory claims (though this requirement does not apply to claims under federal law).  The claim must be filed with the the agent or agency designated by the entity to receive these notices.  For example, all notice of claims against the City of New York must be filed with the Comptroller.  By the same token, claims against other city agencies (e.g., NYC Dept. of Education, NYC Housing Authority) must be filed with the agency itself.  While there is some debate as to whether claims under the NYSHRL are subject to the notice of claim requirement, the majority of courts have said that it does.

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About Publius

"Publius” a former labor and employment litigation attorney in New York City with experience representing both management and employees in a broad range of labor and employment matters. As a "reformed" attorney, Publius is looking to provide the people of New York City with information that will educate them as to their legal rights and, if appropriate, connect individuals with attorneys that can assist them.
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3 Responses to What Is the Statute of Limitations For Employment Claims in New York?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Is that 90 calendar days or 90 business days?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Look up Ny statues on employment it varies

  3. Anonymous says:

    What is the cite for a 3 year SOL for the NYS Human Rights Law?

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