If you aren't certain your workers are properly classified as employees or independent contractors, you're not alone. Unfortunately, the Department of Labor is keeping an eye out for companies that classify workers as contractors when they are legally employees. This is because contractors aren't entitled to employer contributions to payroll taxes, provide workers' comp, unemployment insurance and other benefits. They are also exempt from a number of protective workplace laws.
In a slip copy opinion authored by Judge William J. Martini, U.S.D.J., the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey held that the recently enacted New Jersey Equal Pay Act (NJEPA) does not have retroactive application. Perrotto v. Morgan Advanced Materials, PLC, 2019 WL 192903 (Jan. 15, 2019). The issue came before the court by a Motion to Dismiss, filed by Defendants. The court granted the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss without holding oral argument. This holding is important to employers as the potential damages for violation of the Equal Pay Act are the salary or wages due from the employer plus an additional equal amount as liquidated damages, as well as attorney's fees.
In today's job market, companies need every advantage they can get when it comes to hiring and retention of workers. Requiring new hires to sign restrictive covenants like noncompete agreements could be off-putting to some of the best talent in a limited pool.
When might one company be considered a "joint employer" with another company over the same workers? It's an important question, because joint employers share liability for labor law violations.