Employment Law Report

House Bill 320: Impact of a Shortened Statute of Limitations for Employment Claims

Written by: Tyson Gorman with assistance from Lilly Gullett, Wyatt Summer Associate

In the 2024 legislative session, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a law shortening the permissible period for filing wage and hour claims under the Kentucky Wage and Hour Act (KWHA), discrimination claims under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA), and claims of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy in the Commonwealth. Formerly in Kentucky, employment claims regarding wages and hours, discrimination, and wrongful discharge in violation of public policy were subject to a statute of limitations of five (5) years.[1] This typically meant that a plaintiff was required to file a lawsuit against an employer within five (5) years of the cause of action accruing. House Bill 320, sponsored by Representative Daniel Elliott,[2] shortens the statute of limitations to three (3) years for the aforementioned types of claims.[3] 

According to its supporters, this legislation aims to attract potential employers to the Commonwealth by aligning Kentucky’s statute of limitations for employment claims with federal law and competitor states. Similarly, the legislature hopes to aid small businesses by alleviating administrative burdens they deal with daily. Supporters also predict the shortened statute of limitations will encourage those with claims to bring them forward sooner, allowing for a more equitable judicial process for all parties involved. 

 On April 10, 2024, the bill became law without the Governor’s signature. This law will take effect on July 14, 2024 and will apply to such claims brought after this date, as the law does not apply retroactively.

[1] Prior to the adoption of House Bill 320, the statute of limitations period for wage and hour claims under the KWHA, discrimination claims under the KCRA, and claims of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, was subject to Kentucky’s general five-year limitations period under KRS 413.120(2), as long as “no other time [was] fixed by the statute creating the liability” for each claim.

[2] Representative Daniel Elliott has been a member of the Kentucky House since 2016. He represents the 54th district, which includes parts of Casey and Boyle Counties.

[3] House Bill 320 shortens the statute of limitations from five (5) to three (3) years for employment claims under KRS 344.030 to KRS 344.110, and KRS 344.372 (KCRA discrimination claims), KRS 337.385 (wage and hour claims under the KWHA), and Kentucky common law, covering the following employment claims: (1) an action against an employer for unlawful discrimination by employers on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age (forty and over), disability (including pregnancy), or because the individual is a smoker or nonsmoker; (2) an action against an employer for unpaid wages and forced labor or services; and/or (3) an action against an employer for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.

C. Tyson Gorman
Tyson Gorman leads the Firm’s Labor & Employment Service Team.  He has assisted numerous management teams with collective bargaining agreement negotiations and arbitrations.  He also maintains an active litigation practice, assisting clients in all manners of litigation including commercial disputes, employment claims, personal injury/product liability defense, and construction and real property/title matters. Read More