Employers know that there are numerous laws, both state and federal, that allow employees to sue for perceived violations of their rights. Those laws provide not only a dizzying array of theories of liability but also a variety of different time periods in which the employee can start a lawsuit. Some of the periods can be quite lengthy. In New Jersey, for example, an aggrieved employee normally has up to two years to file an alleged unlawful discrimination claim under state law, and up to six years to bring a claim based on an alleged employment contract.
In a recent case, however, an employer successfully argued that its ex-employee only had six months to file any employment-related claims against it because the employee had agreed to that limit in an employment application. In an important decision, the Court in Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture Company, Inc., Docket No. A-4329-12T3 (App. Div. June 19, 2014) rejected a host of arguments brought by the plaintiff that his prior agreement should be deemed unenforceable, including a claim that such a restriction violated public policy. How the Court reached its result holds lessons for all employers seeking to limit the time period in which they can be sued.
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