New Jersey Court Clarifies Date of Termination in Discrimination Cases

It is a commonly known fact that anyone who wishes to file a lawsuit must do so within the applicable statute of limitations. Under New Jersey law, the statute of limitations for filing a claim alleging a violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) is two years from the date of the adverse employment action.

Recently, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey clarified when the two-year statutory period begins to run. If you were terminated for discriminatory reasons, you should meet with an experienced New Jersey employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and develop a plan for seeking compensation.

The Plaintiff’s Termination

The plaintiff was an executive director for the defendant’s cultural and heritage commission from June 2012 until January 23, 2015, when she received a letter notifying her that her position was being eliminated to reduce costs. The letter further stated that the plaintiff would remain on the payroll and receive her full salary through June 30, 2015, and any unused vacation time would be paid to her by July 2015. The plaintiff filed a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights in February 2015 alleging that her termination violated  LAD, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII, and the American with Disabilities Act. In the complaint, she alleged she was replaced by a younger, non-disabled, non-black individual and that she suffered adverse employment action when she was terminated on January 23, 2015.

On June 29, 2017, the plaintiff filed a pro se complaint in the civil courts, alleging wrongful termination in violation of LAD, as a result of long term discrimination based on her age, race, and disability. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the plaintiff’s claim was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The plaintiff, relying on Alderio v. Medical Center, argued that the statute of limitations did not run until July 1, 2017.  The trial court granted the defendant’s motion after which the plaintiff appealed.

The Statute of Limitations for Pursuing Claims for Violations of LAD

On appeal, the court found that the trial court had misinterpreted Alderiso in dismissing the plaintiff’s claim. The court noted that Alderiso held that the date on which a cause of action for wrongful termination accrues is on the actual date of discharge. The Alderiso court interpreted the date of discharge to be the last day an employee is paid a regular salary or wage, not the date when an employee receives notice of termination. The court further explained that the first full day an employee is eligible for unemployment is the date of discharge. Although the Adleriso case dealt with a Conscientious Employee Protection Act claim, the court noted prior case law holding the Alderiso method of determining the date of termination applied to claims under LAD as well.  The court found the plaintiff’s date of termination to be July 1, 2015. Therefore, the court reversed the trial court ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Retain a Skilled New Jersey Employment Discrimination Attorney

If you were terminated or have faced adverse employment actions due to discrimination, you should retain a skilled employment discrimination attorney to assist you in your pursuit of damages. The New Jersey employment discrimination attorneys of the Jaffe Glenn Law Group will work diligently to help you obtain a favorable outcome under the facts of your case. You can contact us at 201-687-9977 or through our online form to set up a free and confidential conference.

More Blog Posts:

Court Finds Sufficient Evidence of Pretext in New Jersey Discrimination Case, January 24, 2019, New Jersey and New York Employment Lawyer Blog

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