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Reminder: New York Extends Statute of Limitations for Discrimination Claims

As we previously reported, effective February 15, 2024, the statute of limitations for discrimination claims in New York is extended from one year to three years. This means employees will have more time to file lawsuits against their employers for alleged discrimination. 

What does this mean for employers? 

  • Potential for increased risk of litigation: With a longer timeframe to file claims, employees may be more likely to come forward with allegations of discrimination, even if they occurred years ago. Employers need to be prepared for a potential increase in lawsuits. 
  • Importance of recordkeeping: Maintaining accurate and complete records of employment decisions, including hiring, firing, promotions, and discipline, is crucial for defending against discrimination claims. 
  • Proactive compliance: Implementing anti-discrimination policies and conducting regular training for managers and employees can help prevent discriminatory practices from occurring. 

Key provisions of the new law are that it: 

  • Applies to claims arising on or after February 15, 2024; claims arising before this date are still subject to the one-year statute of limitations. 
  • Covers all unlawful discriminatory practices under the NYSHRL including discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, and national origin. 
  • Applies to both administrative complaints and lawsuits; employees can file complaints with the New York State Division of Human Rights or file lawsuits directly in court. 

Next Steps 

While the extended statute of limitations may pose a challenge for some employers, taking proactive steps now can help mitigate the risk of discrimination claims. Employers should take the following steps to ensure compliance and reduce claims: 

  • Review your anti-discrimination policies to ensure they are up-to-date and reflect the new law; 
  • Train your managers/supervisors and employees on the NYSHRL and how to prevent discrimination in the workplace; 
  • Maintain accurate records including documenting all employment decisions and keeping detailed records of the reasons behind them;  
  • Ensure that employers have a trained investigator and written investigation process in the event they receive internal complaints; and 
  • Consult with an attorney if you have any questions about the new law or how it applies to your organization, consult with an employment law attorney. 

How HR Works Can Help

HR Works offers a suite of comprehensive HR outsourcing services. From special projects to year-round consulting and guidance, our HR Management Support services are here to help address your long or short-term HR needs.

Whether you are looking for assistance with a specific employee investigation or ongoing support, our solutions can be customized to fit your unique needs. To learn more, contact us today.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.