statute of limitations on sexual harassment claims scaled

Statute of Limitations on Sexual Harassment Claims

By Thomas McKinney

Civil law provides those injured by the actions of others to bring claims seeking compensation and other remedies to help right the wrongs that have been perpetrated against them. In the world of employment law, for instance, a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace can seek certain remedies pursuant to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). After all, New Jersey Law considers sexual harassment as a form of gender-based discrimination

A person may have suffered from quid pro quo sexual harassment where the perpetrator of the harassment conditions job benefits or adverse employment actions on the victim’s willingness or unwillingness to comply with sexual advances. Alternatively, a victim may have experienced a hostile work environment where the sexual harassment rose to such a pervasive level that they had to endure an abusive work environment.

Like other types of claims, there is a statute of limitations on sexual harassment claims. That means that there is a time limit on when a victim can bring such a claim. If a claim is not filed before the time limit expires, then it is likely that a court will bar the hearing of the claim entirely. This is why being aware and mindful of a statute of limitations is so important.

What is the statute of limitations on sexual harassment claims? 

Statutes of limitations are in place for a number of reasons. One such reason is that the time limit on bringing a legal claim prevents the litigating of claims resting on evidence that has gone stale. Over time, witnesses become more and more forgetful. Physical evidence can easily deteriorate over time. Basically, claims do not age well nor does the evidence needed to support them. That is one of the big reasons why statutes of limitations exist.

Claims under the New Jersey LAD must be brought within two years from the date that the sexual harassment occurred. So, if you do not bring your claim within two years from the date you experienced harassment in the workplace, your claim will likely be barred and never be heard in court.

There is, however, an exception to this two-year statute of limitations rule. New Jersey allows for the “continuing violations theory” in order to determine when the statute of limitations begins to run on a sexual harassment claim. With the continuing violations theory, when there is a pattern of sexual harassment that has occurred in an employment situation, the court will determine the day that the last act of sexual harassment occurred in the pattern of harassment. This last day of the harassing conduct will be used as the day when the two-year window that is the statute of limitations begins to run.

New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys

For many reasons, the statute of limitations being a big one, do not delay in bringing a sexual harassment claim. Talk to the dedicated employment law team at Castronovo & McKinney as soon as possible. Contact us today.

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.