SW Legal studies in Business

Contractual Limit on Time for Suits by Employee Held Reasonable
Description Appeals court held that an agreement signed by an employee when hired that any claim related to employment matters must be brought within 180 days of the event or be barred was reasonable. An employee who sued for age discrimination a year after he was fired lost his ability to bring the suit because it was past the 180 days.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words At-Will; Employment Contract; Period of Limitation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Timko worked for Oakwood for several months before he was fired for poor performance. When he was hired he signed an "Authorization and Understanding" form that said, among other things, that he would bring "any action or suit against the firm arising out of my employment or termination of employment [including civil rights claims] within 180 days of the event giving rise to the claims or be forever barred. I waive any limitation periods to the contrary." A year after Timko was fired, he sued Oakwood for age discrimination. The trial court dismissed the suit because Timko had agreed to the 180-day period of limitation. Timko appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The 180-day period of limitation, by which an at-will employee agreed that any employment-related claim had to be brought within that time, was reasonable. The employer provided the at-will employee consideration in the form of employment and wages, so the period of limitation clause was enforceable. The fact that the employee could not negotiate over the standard form contract does not make it unenforceable. The 180-day limit is not inconsistent with federal employment rights, such as those for age discrimination.
Citation Timko v. Oakwood Custom Coating, Inc., 244 Mich.App. 234 (2001 WL 9066, Ct. App., Mich., 2001)

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