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Roa v. LAFE and the Statute of Limitation in LAD Cases

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 03:15 PM

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http://news.acca.com...10-05-11/1.html

Roa v. LAFE and the Statute of Limitation in LAD Cases

Susan L. Nardone and Megan Frese Porio

In a significant decision for New Jersey employers, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently clarified the operation of the two-year statute of limitations applicable to the Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”)1 and addressed whether post-termination retaliation can be actionable under the LAD.

In Roa v. LAFE,2 the Court confirmed its prior decisions that the statute of limitations begins to run on a discrete act, such as a failure to promote or termination, on the date the act takes place. Thus, a timely claim under the LAD cannot sweep in a prior untimely discrete act under the “continuing violation” theory. This has been the law in New Jersey, at least since the Court’s 2002 decision in Shepherd v. Hunterdon Development Center.3 The Court’s decisions prevent employees who bring late claims for discrete acts against their employers from avoiding the statute of limitations by relying on the continuing violation theory, limiting application of the theory to hostile work environment claims.

Where the decision in Roa breaks new ground is in the Court’s application of the equitable “discovery rule” to claims under the LAD. This could potentially expand LAD-based liability by enabling an employee to pursue an otherwise untimely LAD claim where the employee was reasonably unaware that he or she was the subject of an adverse employment action at the time the action took place, although it is hard to imagine many situations in which this would occur. More importantly, the Court ruled that a discrete post-discharge act of retaliation is actionable under the LAD even if it does not relate to an employee’s present or future employment. As a result, employers will have to carefully evaluate any business decisions that may adversely affect a previously terminated employee.
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