The New Jersey Supreme Court recently ruled that New Jersey employers cannot attempt to contractually reduce the statute of limitations for claims brought under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”). The NJLAD prohibits employment discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, familial status, sex or sexual orientation, atypical cellular or blood trait, generic information, physical and mental handicaps, or service in the armed forces.
The NJLAD generally has a two-year statute of limitations; however, employers have attempted to shorten this length of time through provisions in employment applications and agreements. In a recent case, Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture Company, Inc., the New Jersey Supreme Court reviewed an employment application that contained a provision stating that the employee agreed to file any claim or lawsuit against the employer within six months of the action that is the basis of the claim. The Court unanimously overruled the lower courts, stating that the limitations this provision imposed on the employee violate “public policy” and undermine the NJLAD’s enforcement scheme for the elimination of discrimination.