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Does an employment discrimination claim have a time limit?

New York seeks to legally provide equal opportunities for workers, despite differences in gender, race, religion, age and political beliefs. Regardless, some New York companies may not have the same goals. When employees encounter these exclusive policies and believe they are victims of employment discrimination, labor law and civil rights provide the opportunity to file a discrimination claim as soon as possible after experiencing discriminatory treatment.

Why do workers need to file a discrimination complaint immediately? One reason for filing the claim as soon as possible is that the state's anti-discrimination policies require a complaint to be filed within 180 days of the incident occurrence. The calculated time refers to calendar days and not work days, which means weekends and holidays are included. Extensions are possible, but are provided usually when an attempt to resolve the grievance has been made through mediation, a union action or internally. Another reason for a time limit is that evidence of discrimination can be compromised as long periods of time pass.

What if there is more than one instance of discrimination? If more than one incident of discrimination exists, the deadline will apply to each particular event. For example, a worker was demoted and subsequently fired after more than a year. If the worker files a claim after the firing claiming that the demotion was discrimination-based, then only the termination will be investigated since the 180-day limit has lapsed on the demotion. New York federal employees, as well as job applicants, should bear in mind that the process for a discrimination complaint is different from other work situations.

Source:, "Time Limits For Filing A Charge," Accessed on Dec. 25, 2014

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