Dana E. Feinstein, Reed Smith Summer Associate, contributed to this blog post.
Employers in New Jersey should be aware that a recent New Jersey Supreme Court decision invalidated a contractual provision that shortened the statute of limitations for bringing a claim for discrimination under the Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”). On June 15, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision and held that employers cannot impose a contractual limit on the two-year time period allotted to an employee to file a claim of employment discrimination under LAD. See Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture Co., 2016 N.J. LEXIS 566 (June 15, 2016).
Sergio Rodriguez, a non-native English speaker from Argentina, signed an employment application when applying for a job at Raymour & Flanigan Furniture Stores. The application stated in bold and capitalized letters that the undersigned agreed “that any claim or lawsuit relating to [his] service with Raymour & Flanigan must be filed no more than six (6) months after the date of the employment action that is the subject of the claim or lawsuit” and that he would waive any conflicting statute of limitations. This contractual six-month limit was far shorter than LAD’s two-year statute of limitations.