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Monday, June 3, 2019

Should NJ Employees Agree to Shorter Time to File a Lawsuit Against Employer? Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act

Employers sometimes shuffle a blaze of papers in front of an employee and tell him/her that all employees must sign the papers as a condition of continued employment. One of the papers they sometimes push employees to sign is a paper saying that if they decide to file a lawsuit, that they consent to a certain statute of limitations to file the lawsuit. Their suggested statute of limitations is invariably shorter than that permissible by law; why else would the employer want it?

The “Statute of Limitations” to file a lawsuit is the time frame set by legislation where a person needs to file the lawsuit to enforce rights or seek redress after injury or damage. The policy underlying such enactment of laws regarding statutes of limitations, concerns the belief that there is a point beyond which a prospective defendant should no longer need to worry about the possible commencement in the future of a lawsuit against him. There are also judicial evidentiary concerns, that the law rightly or wrongly may disfavor older uncorroborated allegations and evidence, and that no one should be able to sit on their rights for an unreasonable amount of time without forfeiting his/her claims.

Different types of claims have different Statutes of Limitations. Claims brought under The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination must be brought within two years of the termination or last act of discrimination.

When the time clock for the Statutes of Limitations starts running in any given lawsuit is itself an issue that can be legally contested by the employer when the employer raises it as a defense. The employer may assert that the clock has run out and that the employee can no longer file a lawsuit, it’s too late, in hopes of getting the case quickly dismissed. An example of when this may happen is when there is an issue as to the date of last act of discrimination or even the correct termination date itself; i.e, was it the date the employer decided to terminate the employee and sends a termination letter, or the date the employee received the letter, or the last day employee shows up for work, etc. To avoid being barred by a Statute of Limitations employer’s defense, it is best to file early rather than risk being barred.

Some employers have been known to require employees to sign a paper stating they consent that any lawsuit arising out of their employment shall be brought within 3 months, or 6 months, etc. of their last day of work or alleged wrongdoing by the employer.

It Is an Unlawful Employment Practice for Employers to Require Employees to Consent to a Shortened Statute of Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit Under New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

As of July 1, 2018, the date the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act was signed into law, it became an unlawful employment practice to require employees or prospective employees to consent to a shortened statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit under New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, or to waive any of the protections provided by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

Anti-Retaliation Provision

The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act was incorporated into the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). So incorporated, the anti-retaliation provisions of the NJLAD applies to the prohibitions against requiring employees consent to a shortened statute of limitations:

§ 10:5-12. Unlawful employment practices, discrimination

It shall be an unlawful employment practice, or, as the case may be, an unlawful discrimination:

d.) For any person to take reprisals against any person because that person has opposed any practices or acts forbidden under this act.

Do not sit on your rights, or you may lose the right to file your claim.

I am an experienced, aggressive and compassionate employment attorney who will be aggressive about enforcing your rights. If your employer has an employment practice requiring employees to consent to a shortened statute of limitations or retaliated against you for objecting to this practice, or if you think you have been retaliated against for asserting your rights, it is essential for you to contact an experienced, aggressive and successful employment discrimination and whistleblower attorney who will be aggressive about enforcing your rights as soon as possible.

If you have been discriminated against, or demoted, had your hours cut, terminated, harassed or been subjected to retaliation for complaining about, objecting to, refusing to participate in, or reporting what you believe is your employer's illegal or improper conduct, you should contact this law firm as soon as possible.

If you are being subjected to such unlawful workplace acts or retaliation, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation. I accept whistleblower and discrimination cases from all over New Jersey.

New Jersey employment attorney, Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout the state, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.

 



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