This bill amends the executive law to increase the time for filing a complaint with the Division of Human Rights from one to three years. The Human Rights Law allots victims of discrimination two methods of seeking recourse: they may either file an administrative complaint with the State Division of Human Rights, or pursue a civil cause of action.
An administrative complaint must be made within one year after the discrimination occurred; however the filing time for the institution of a civil cause of action to recover damages for unlawful discriminatory practices is three years. Many victims of discrimination do not immediately file complaints due to fear of retaliation from the person they are filing against (employer, landlord, etc.) or are simply unaware that legal recourse is available. Obviously, the discrepancy between the administrative and judicial filing period prejudices those who seek administrative redress.
This is especially troublesome because many of those individuals who pursue the administrative channel do so because they cannot afford the costly process of retaining an attorney and going through the judicial proceeding. This injustice is exacerbated by the fact that dismissal of an untimely filed administrative complaint does not revive the right to pursue a civil cause of action. This bill simply increases the administrative filing time to correspond with the judicial statute of limitations to assure that victims of discriminatory practices are afforded equal access to an appropriate remedy.
The NYCLU strongly urges passage of this measure.