Legal Memorandum: Validity and Effect of Tolling Agreements

Issue: What is the potential validity and effect of tolling agreements intended to suspend the statute of limitations for bringing Title VII hostile work environment claims in federal and/or state court in New York?

Area of Law: Constitutional Law, Employee Law
Keywords: Tolling agreements; Statute of limitations; Title VII hostile work environment claims
Jurisdiction: Federal, New York
Cited Cases: 335 F.3d 152; 827 N.Y.S.2d 762; 52 U.S. 493; 276 F. Supp. 972
Cited Statutes: Federal Law § 73:35 (2008); Federal Law § 73:35, & n.18; 29 U.S.C.A. § 626(d); New York General Obligations Law § 17-301, § 17-103, § 17-103(1)
Date: 06/01/2008

The research did not reveal many cases specifically addressing this issue in the employment-discrimination context in New York state or federal courts, but the authorities reviewed support the general enforcement of tolling agreements.  In one case, Bendik v. Credit Suisse First Boston (USA), Inc., No. 02 Civ. 9554 (CBM), (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 5, 2004), the plaintiff filed his EEOC charge past the filing deadline, and thereafter entered into a tolling agreement. 

The EEOC informed plaintiff [on May 29, 2001] that it could not investigate his charge “because it was not filed within the time limit required by law.”  It informed plaintiff that he had the right to file a lawsuit under federal law within 90 days.  On August 22, 2001, the parties stipulated . . . “that the 90-day period within which Mr. Bendik is required to commence an action as a result of the Dismissal and Notice of Rights dated May 29, 2001 by the [EEOC] is extended to November 2, 2001, and that if such an action is commenced by Mr. Bendik on or before November 2, 2001, CSFB will not assert the 90-day statute of limitations as a defense to that action.”   

Prior to the expiration of the original EEOC filing deadline, the only agreement that the parties had entered into is one stating that “employee intends to apply for disability benefits.  In making such application, it shall not be deemed a waiver of any rights by Employee against DLJ as provided by law.”  Id. […]

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