Court Explains and Applies the “Continuing Violation” Doctrine Applicable to Hostile Work Environment Claims Under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws

In Shirazi v. New York Univ., 2017 NY Slip Op 32013(U) (Sup. Ct. NY Cty. Index No. 161303/2014 Sept. 25, 2017) – in which plaintiff asserts claims of discrimination based on religion, race, national origin, disability, and retaliation – the court discussed and applied the “continuing violation” doctrine under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

As explained by the court:

Pursuant to CPLR 214(2), there is a three-year statute of limitations on statutory claims (CPLR 214[2]). However, the court can go beyond the three-year period to determine liability in hostile environment claims if the conduct is of a continuous nature and at least one discriminatory act falls within the statute of limitations (AMTRAK v Morgan, 536 US 101, 117 [2002]). A “continuing violation may be found where there is proof of specific ongoing discriminatory policies or practices, or where specific and related instances of discrimination are permitted by the employer to continue unremedied for so long as to amount to a discriminatory policy or practice” (Cornwall v Robinson, 23 F3d 694, 704 [2d Cir 1994 ]). A properly pied continuing violation claim
entitles a plaintiff to allege all conduct that was a part of that violation, even conduct that occurred
outside of the limitations period (id.). The First Department adopted the Second Circuit’s
continuing violation doctrine for discrimination claims brought under statutes like NYSHRL and

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