New Jersey Court Approves Use of Statute of Limitations Waivers to Shorten Employees’ Time to Sue

On June 19, 2014, the Superior Court Appellate Division affirmed the validity of a statute of limitations waiver in an employment application.  In Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture Company, Inc., the court enforced a properly written, prominently displayed provision in an employment application that reduced the period of time that an employee could file a state law discrimination claim against the employer from two years to six months.

The Rodriguez decision is a game-changer.  The court specifically found that a six month limitations period for an employee to sue for discrimination under state law is reasonable.   This means that New Jersey employers, by simply adding a statute of limitations waiver to their applications, can limit their exposure to state law discrimination claims by shortening the time period that an employee has to sue.

 Because Rodriguez can be used to dismiss employment claims before a case gets started, it is an important development for all businesses with employees.  To take full advantage of the opportunity presented by this ruling to dramatically reduce the otherwise applicable limitations period, New Jersey employers should immediately include statute of limitations waivers in their applications and employment contracts.