New Jersey law provides more time than federal law for employees to sue their employers for discrimination. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) allows employees to make discrimination claims up to two years following termination, longer than under the federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. That means employees who miss their EEOC filing deadline for federal claims still can sue under state law.
What’s more, if the case involves a “continuing violation,” employees have two years from the last discriminatory act to file suit.
Rule of thumb: Discharge is the starting point for the two-year limitation unless the employer takes another action against the former employee, such as providing a false reference or otherwise interfering with her ability to make a living.
Recent case: Anna Marie Galm worked as a security supervisor for Gloucester County College and was discharged on Oct. 18, 2002. Four years later, she sued the supervisor she alleged had wrongly fired her and others, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation. But because she waited so long to sue, her case was tossed out. The court said two years is the limit unless there is a continuing violation. In this case, there was no further contact between the employer and Galm after she was fired. (Galm v. Gloucester County College, et al., No. 06-3333, DC NJ, 2007)
Final note: This case illustrates why it’s important to keep at least basic records long after an employee has been terminated. Years later, you may have to show the court hire and discharge dates in order to have an untimely lawsuit dismissed.
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