As regular readers of our employment law blog know, we try to keep readers apprised of developments in federal and state employment laws and policies. New Jersey recently enacted an omnibus law that all employers should be aware of. The measure expands employee benefits in several key areas, including unpaid family leave, temporary paid family leave insurance and domestic or sexual violence safety leave.
Alert: On March 18, 2019, Governor Murphy signed into law Senate Bill No. 121, which will dramatically and prospectively alter the landscape on arbitration and settlements of claims based on discrimination, retaliation and harassment. The law takes effect immediately. Specifically, the new law provides:
Lately, it seems like a new opinion about the enforceability of arbitration provisions in New Jersey comes out every day. In a newly published Appellate Division opinion, written by the Presiding Judge of the Appellate Division, Jack Sabatino, P.J.A.D., the court held a click through arbitration agreement was unenforceable. At the outset, the Court described the case as exemplifying the "inadequate way for an employer to go about extracting employees' agreement to submit to binding arbitration for future claims and thereby waive their rights to sue the employer and seek a jury trial." The plaintiff, here, alleged religious discrimination in violation of the New Jersey LAD (stemming from a mandatory vaccination policy).
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.
The Trump administration promised to make federal agencies friendlier toward businesses and employers, and some progress has been made on that goal. Recently, the Department of Labor has taken steps to encourage assisted, voluntary compliance with wage and hour laws.
If your company has been considering offering paid family and medical leave, now may be the time to act. According to the IRS, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act established a tax credit for businesses that offer such leave under a compliant policy. Even better, that credit can be taken in 2018, as long as you put a compliant policy in place before Dec. 31 and make it retroactive.
It has been over 50 years since the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but some companies are still running into trouble. Employers are finding themselves liable for discrimination when they treat men and women differently in promotion decisions. Employers can limit their liability for discrimination by adopting objective standards that apply equally to each gender.
In 2017, employee turnover within the restaurant industry was 73 percent. At the Hot Chicken Takeover chain in Columbus, Ohio, that rate is only 39 percent. The difference could be that Hot Chicken Takeover earns employees' loyalty by giving people with complicated work histories or criminal records a real chance at getting a job. The chain is part of the fair chance hiring movement.
If your company works with independent contractors, you may be concerned about the recent litigation surrounding the issue. With the "gig economy" a growing factor in the American economy, workers have been asking courts to rule that they are legally employees rather than contractors.
This past spring was big for followers of progressive political philosophy. The governor signed into law several measures that all New Jersey employers need to heed. This post looks at them both with the goal of encouraging employers to act for the protection of business interests.