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Important Employment Law Update Regarding Statute of Limitations Waivers

On January 15, 2021, in Thompson v Fresh Products LLC, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held that an employee cannot waive the statutory limitation periods contained within the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by agreeing to a shorter contractual period of limitations. In Thompson, the employee had agreed to a shorter (6 month) statute of limitations period in the employee handbook acknowledgment. The employee brought claims under the ADA, ADEA, and claims under Ohio law. The 6th Circuit ruled that the contractual limitations period was enforceable under Ohio law, but the “limitations periods in the ADA and ADEA give rise to substantive, non-waivable rights” and cannot be modified by contract. This means that Michigan employers may continue to limit the statute of limitations period for state law claims, but cannot do so for federal claims under ADEA, ADA, etc.

If you have questions regarding this change in law, contact Nancy Chinonis at Cline, Cline & Griffin, PC.


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