Lakisha McMillon v City of Kalamazoo 


On October 13, 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court reconsidered a case from January 21, 2021, involving Lakisha McMillon and the City of Kalamazoo. Originally, McMillon filled out a job application in 2004 but wasn’t hired. The application purported to include a clause that required any employment-related lawsuits to be filed within nine months from the incident. Over a year later, the city contacted her for a different job, which she accepted in 2005, and she filled out the required paperwork all over again.

Fourteen years after being hired, in 2019, McMillon sued the city for discrimination based on race, sex, and disability, as well as for retaliation and harassment, which included incidents that had occurred 24 to 36 months prior. The city sought to dismiss the lawsuit, citing the nine-month limitation period from the 2004 application. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals agreed with the city and dismissed the case.

McMillon then appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. The key issue was whether the nine-month limitation period she allegedly agreed to in 2004 was still valid for her employment that began in 2005. The court found that it wasn’t clear whether McMillon knew this clause would still apply, suggesting a lack of mutual agreement on these terms, and ruled that the issue presented a question of fact for a jury to decide. As a result, the court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals that supported the city, vacated the remainder of its judgment, and sent the case back to the Kalamazoo Circuit Court for further proceedings.

Additionally, the Supreme Court raised questions about whether employment agreements that shorten the time to file lawsuits like McMillon’s, should be legally allowed, or whether they violate public policy, especially those limiting the time to bring civil rights claims. These questions point to broader issues about the fairness and legality of such contractual limitations in employment settings. The Michigan Supreme Court is deciding this exact issue in Attorney Aikens’ case, Rayford v. American House

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