The New Jersey Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in a case in which the Appellate Division ruled that language in an employment application that shortened the statute of limitations created an enforceable contract. We previously reported on the Appellate Division’s decision here.
In its decision, the Appellate Division focused on the fact that the provision limiting the statute of limitations to six months in the employment application was clear and conspicuous because it appeared under a large, bold heading and the paragraph itself was capitalized. The Appellate Division rejected the plaintiff’s argument that shortening the time in which he could file suit was contrary to public policy. The Appellate Division cited a United States Supreme Court case holding that a limitations period could be shortened contractually as long as the shorter period was reasonable. New Jersey courts have upheld this principle in other contexts, and the Appellate Division expanded it to the employment context in this case.
The Supreme Court’s decision will determine whether employers may use similar provisions to shorten the amount of time an employee has to file a claim. It should be noted that the Appellate Division’s ruling only applied to state law claims.