“Or . . . pigs are never satisfied till they eat everything in sight.”
And by “pigs,” I mean greedy employers who sense that the time is right to continue to push nervous courts (nervous about not being reappointed by a governor who meddles by intimidating the third branch of government and threatening non-appointment with those he doesn’t agree with) to further limit workers’ rights.
New Jersey’s Supreme Court is considering a case in which the defendant, furniture store Raymour & Flanigan, limited the “statute of limitations” – the time period in which a person has to consider whether or not they wish to file a suit.
And how did Raymour & Flanigan limit this time period? In a job application. In other words, if you want to even be considered for employment, you’ve got to start giving up rights before you even work a minute.
Plaintiff Sergio Rodriguez filed a discrimination suit nine months after he was fired from Raymour & Flanigan, which nine months would normally be not even halfway along the two year statute of limitations for such a suit. Yet, because he was forced – and I mean forced if he wanted to even be fairly considered for the job – to sign away his rights to limit the statute of limitations to six months, he was “out of time” to file a suit.
If the Supreme Court of New Jersey doesn’t do the right thing here, and I fear that given the recent bullying tactics by our governor they won’t, then this needs to be changed legislatively or it’s going to be the first step on a fast train to hell for New Jersey workers.
If employers can limit statutes of limitation as well as damages rights, the right to a jury, etc., we might as well do what Shakespeare suggested and do away with all the lawyers, do away with the judges and while we’re at it, with juries and courthouses (except, of course, if you’re a corporation or a rich person, then, of course, lawsuits are fine).
This is disgusting, and it wouldn’t even bear comment unless I was so nervous about the recent tortured decisions out of our courts. Judges are being intimidated into deciding discrimination and retaliation cases narrowly when the statues are, by legislative instruction, to be decided “liberally.”
I join my employment practitioner colleagues who have decried the Appellate Division’s decision and beg the Supreme Court to think of what is right and just before thinking about whether or not the word “contract” constitutes an imprimatur from heaven. Such contract terms should be voidable, or even void as per public policy.