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NYC Bans Contract Terms that Shorten Employee Claim or Complaint Filing

05 Jun

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Update Applicable to:Effective date
All employers with employees in New York CityMay 11, 2024


What happened?

The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) was recently amended to prohibit employers from entering into any agreement that shortens the statutory period for an employee to file a claim or complaint relating to unlawful discriminatory practices, harassment, or violence. The law took effect immediately on May 11, 2024.


What are the details?

Key Compliance Points

  • The NYCHRL protects employees from illegal discrimination and harassment.
  • Employees have one year to file a complaint with the NYC Commission on Human Rights for an unlawful discriminatory practice or act of discriminatory harassment or violence and three years to file a claim of gender-based harassment.
  • Employees may file a lawsuit within three years of the alleged NYCHRL violation.
  • Any provision within an employment agreement that attempts to contractually shorten these time periods is now prohibited and deemed void.
  • If an employment agreement includes such a term, it will be void and unenforceable, but it will not affect the enforceability of other terms in the agreement.

Retroactive Application

  • Although the ordinance does not explicitly state it applies retroactively, both the New York Council’s legislative history and reports, and the broad language used in the ordinance, indicate that it was intended to apply to all employment agreements in effect prior to its enactment.


Business Considerations

  • Review of Employment Agreements: Employers should review all employment agreements, handbooks, arbitration agreements, and other documents governing terms and conditions of employment to ensure they comply with the new laws.
  • Statutory Periods: Employers should be aware that any provision in an employment agreement that attempts to shorten the statutory period for an employee to file a claim or complaint is now prohibited and deemed void.
  • Data Collection Practices: With the data minimization requirements of the Vermont Data Privacy Act, businesses should review and possibly revise their data collection practices to ensure they are not collecting personal information for any purpose outside of providing the product or service.
  • Legal Risks: Businesses should consider the potential legal risks associated with misuse of sensitive information, given the expanded private right of action under the Vermont Data Privacy Act.
  • Retroactive Application: Employers should be aware that the amendments to the NYCHRL may apply retroactively to all employment agreements in effect prior to its enactment, and plan accordingly.


Source References

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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