Employment Law Statutes of Limitations

Employment Law Statutes of Limitations

A statute of limitations is the amount of time that a person has to bring a lawsuit. The basic theory behind a statute of limitations is that, after some time, bygones become bygones. For example, the statute of limitations for an “intentional tort” (i.e. doing something bad to someone else) is two years. If there’s no lawsuit after two years, it is too late, and a potential plaintiff has waived his or her right to sue. We use the term “lawsuit” loosely in this article, in some circumstances, the statute of limitation applies to filing a claim, charge, etc., not only actual “lawsuits” in court.

Employment law embodies several types of potential lawsuits. This article summarizes how long a person has to bring each type of employment lawsuit, and where such a lawsuit must be initiated. We have categorized these by the duration of the statute of limitations. Note that these statutes of limitations do not apply to federal, state and city employees – these employees are subject to an entirely different set of statutes of limitations.

180 Day Employment Law Statute of Limitations

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (usually retaliation claims): 180 days to file with OSHA.

300 Day Employment Law Statute of Limitations

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (discrimination and retaliation claims based on race, color, religion, sex/gender/pregnancy or national origin): 300 days to file a charge with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Americans with Disabilities Act (disability discrimination or retaliation): 300 days to file a charge with EEOC.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age discrimination or retaliation): 300 days to file a charge with EEOC.

One Year Employment Law Statutes of Limitations

Defamation (slander and libel): 1 year to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Intentional Torts (assault, battery, conversion): 1 year to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Two Years Employment Law Statutes of Limitations

Family Medical Leave Act (leave law – claims for interference and retaliation): 2 years to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Fair Labor Standards Act (includes minimum wage, overtime and retaliation claims): 3 years to file in a court of competent jurisdiction for most violations, 2 years to file if the court determines that the violation was not “willful.”

Three Years Employment Law Statutes of Limitations

New York State Human Rights Law (discrimination and retaliation claims based on 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 to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

New York City Human Rights Law (discrimination and retaliation claims based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation or alienage/citizenship status): 3 years to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Unjust Enrichment: 3 years to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Personal Injury: 3 years to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Negligence (e.g. negligent hiring): 3 years to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Tortious Interference with Contractual or Prospective Business Relationships: 3 years to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Section 1983 (claim against state actors that deny any individual of any federally-protected right): 3 years to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Dodd-Frank Act (typically retaliation claims): 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 to file a complaint in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Four Years Employment Law Statutes of Limitations

Section 1981 (discrimination on the basis of race): 4 years to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Six Years Employment Law Statutes of Limitations

Breach of Contract: 6 years to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

Fraud: 6 years from discovery of fraud to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.

New York Labor Law (minimum wage, overtime and retaliation claims): 6 years to file a complaint in court of competent jurisdiction.