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Check calendar when employee files lawsuit covered by employment agreement

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

A federal court hearing a North Carolina case has dismissed a discrimination lawsuit based on failure to file that lawsuit within a shortened time limit that the parties had agreed they would use.

Recent case: Leonia Allen worked for Federal Express and signed an employment agreement promising to file any employment-related lawsuit within six months of the alleged wrongdoing.

Allen took FMLA leave. When she got back, FedEx placed her on a different shift. She was then fired for allegedly making a gesture at her supervisor.

She sued, alleging that she had been denied her FMLA rights. She also claimed she had been terminated in retaliation for complaining.

The court dismissed her first claim because she had not filed the lawsuit within six months. (The retaliation claim will continue because Allen did file her complaint within six months.) (Allen v. Federal Express, No. 1:09-CV-17, MD NC 2009)

Final note: If you are considering using an employment agreement to limit the time employees have to file lawsuits, make sure a qualified attorney reviews the contract. A lawyer can help create an agreement that safeguards your company without creating problems where none existed before.

Because such agreements are contracts, you want to make sure you know exactly what you are agreeing to. For example, a poorly drafted employment agreement can limit your right to fire the employee or change other conditions of employment, such as benefits and pay. 

 

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