Sign This Or Else: Dealing With Employment Agreements That Cut Off Your Rights

The statute of limitations in employment cases limits the amount of time an employee has to bring a claim against their employer, and in recent years, it has been shortened through various methods. More frequently, we’re seeing employment contracts that include a shorter statute of limitations than the time allowed by other laws in the state and forced arbitration agreements that prevent employees from taking legal action as a whole. Unfortunately, the courts have also frequently upheld these agreements, preventing employees from bringing important issues to light in court.

Some specific areas have been protected from these unreasonable limits, such as the 300-day limitation on filing complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) for workplace discrimination claims, or other significant laws designed to prevent unfair treatment of employees, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act. This means that your employer cannot force you to agree to have less time to file a charge with the EEOC, or, for example, to accept less than minimum wage.

These laws may serve as the bastions for protection against unreasonable limitations, as even some discrimination suits have been rejected under contractual limitations, as seen in the Michigan Court of Appeals’ opinion in Timko v. Oakwood Custom Coating, Inc. In this case, Oakwood Custom Coating, Inc. used an arbitration agreement that shortened the statute of limitations to six months for any employment-related claims. Timko fought this agreement, stating that it was a contract of adhesion and that the shortened statute of limitations was unreasonable. The Court of Appeals upheld the limitation, finding that the contractual limitations of six months – even in an employment application – was not inherently unreasonable.

What Can I Do For My Case?

There are ways, however, for you as an employee to protect yourself from unreasonable limitations periods. First, be sure to check to see if you signed an agreement that limited when and where you can file claims against your employer related to your employment. Also, you should file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as soon as possible – even if you are in a union and they told you they are trying to get your job back. Pursue any wage and hour claims in court as soon as possible, and if you have a whistleblower case, you only have 90 days in Michigan to file suit.  If you’re forced to arbitrate, and within a certain amount of time, it’s important to examine the arbitration agreement closely to determine the scope of the agreement and whether or not it applies to the case that you want to file.

Your first step in any potential case of employment litigation in Michigan should be to call a law firm, like Carla D. Aikens, P.L.C.. We’re fighting unfair limitations on your rights, with one case currently waiting to be heard by the Michigan Supreme Court. Schedule a free consultation today and allow us to fight your case.

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