Employment Law: New Supreme Court Opinion Rules That Statute of Limitations May Not Be Reduced by Language in Job Application
By: Donna Russo, Esq.
On June 15, 2016, the NJ Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Division’s opinion in Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture Company, Inc. which had held that the statute of limitations for filing a discrimination claim can be limited by language set forth in a job application. The Appellate Division’s opinion of June 19, 2014 is discussed in a prior article.
The employer, Raymours Furniture Company, Inc. had language in its employment application which limited the statute of limitations for filing discrimination claims to six months. The statute is normally two years. The application language stated that the applicant agreed to bring any employment-related cause of action against the employer within six months and waive any statute of limitations to the contrary.
The Supreme Court held that the Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10: 5-2 et. seq., is a public policy imperative and cannot be curtailed by private contract language. The Court stated:
“Hence a contractual limitation on an individual’s right to pursue and eradicate discrimination of any form prohibited under the LAD is not simply shortening a limitations period for a private matter. If allowed to shorten the time for filing plaintiff’s LAD action, this contractual provision would curtail a claim designed to also further a public interest. As to the LAD, there is a marriage of interests that cannot be divorced.