Friday, April 1, 2011

Can an Employer in the Employment Application Shorten the Statute of Limitations for Anti-Discrimination Claims?

The answer, rather uniformly, is affirmative. Recently, in Dunn v. Gordon Food Services, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13387 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 10, 2011), Chief Judge Russell upheld the employer's shortening of the statute of limitations where the employment application with Ms. Dunn, on its last page, had eleven clauses to which the applicant had to agree as a condition of being considered for employment, and the fourth clause stated that the applicant agreed "that any action or suit against [the employer] arising out of any employment or termination of employment, including but not limited to claims arising under the State or Federal civil rights statutes, must be brought within one year of the event giving rise to the claim or be forever barred."  This clause went on to state that the applicant "waive[d] any statute of limitations to the contrary."  The Court, citing a plethora of authorities, both inside and outside the Sixth Circuit upholding such provisions, sustained the defense motion for summary judgment based on that clause.  See also Ravenscraft v. BNP Media, Inc., No. 09-C-6617, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37919, 2010 WL 1541455, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 15, 2010); PSC Info Group v. Lason, Inc., 681 F. Supp. 2d 577, 587 (E.D. Pa. 2010); Cole v. Federal Exp. Corp., No. CV-06-3485, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71431, 2008 WL 4307090, at *9 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 19, 2008); Vincent v. Comerica Bank, No. H-05-2302, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28613, 2006 WL 1295494, *5-6 (S.D. Tex. May 10, 2006); Badgett v. Federal Express Corp., 378 F. Supp. 2d 613 (M.D.N.C. 2005); Fink v. Guardsmark, LLC, No. CV 03-1480-BR, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16970, 2004 WL 1857114, at *1 (D. Or. Aug. 19, 2004); Johnson v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., No. C.A. 02-69 GMS, 2003 WL 1089394, at *1 (D. Del. Mar. 6, 2003).

Please be sure to visit our website at http://RobertBFitzpatrick.com