Friday, April 21, 2006

FMLA Limit by Employer Violates Public Policy

Workplace Law Prof Blog quotes federal Judge Richard Alan Enslen on an employer’s attempt to shorten the filing period for FMLA claims:

Defendant Stryker Medical Division set a trap for the unwary when it hired Plaintiff Timothy R. Conway. The name of the trap was a six-month limitation on any claim brought under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA"). Plaintiff nominally agreed to the trap when he signed a form application for employment complete with legal language promising that he had read it (though of course, no production worker would ever attempt to negotiate form language, which is offered on a take it or leave it basis and which is why workers pay little attention to such forms). When Plaintiff was discharged by Defendant, he consulted with Plaintiff' s attorney who filed suit on his behalf after the expiration of the six-month period, but well before the expiration of the statutory limitation period. The trap has now been sprung by Defendant's filing of a Motion for Summary Judgment premised on the artificial limitation period. The Court is no party to the unconscionable limitation on FMLA claims and now holds it to be unenforceable under the terms of FMLA and as a matter of public policy.

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