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What Does the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act Mean for Employers?

April 13th, 2018 | Written by Benedict F. Valliere, Esq.

Governor Phil Murphy recently signed into law the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (the Act).[i]  This law, among other things, expands New Jersey’s Wage and Hour Law from outlawing discrimination based on sex, to outlawing discrimination in pay based on all protected classes under existing New Jersey Law.  The Act, which takes effect July 1, 2018, will undoubtedly have a significant impact on employers, both public and private.

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What Employers Should Know About Workplace Bullying

April 5th, 2018 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

While New Jersey has extremely extensive laws protecting employees in the workplace, it has yet to pass legislation that would protect employees against workplace bullying. Bullying is generally defined as unwelcome behavior that occurs over a period of time and is meant to harm someone or make them feel powerless. Conduct can include (1) verbal bullying such as, teasing, threatening, name-calling or (2) social bullying, which would include leaving someone out of a meeting purposely or other acts of isolation from workplace activities.

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Proposed Changes in NJ Medical Marijuana Law Bring New Challenges for Employers

April 4th, 2018 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

In a recent press conference, Gov. Phil Murphy addressed the medical marijuana program expansion and listed several changes that will make medical marijuana available to more patients.  He specifically stated his intent to change the culture of the medical marijuana program to make it more patient-friendly.

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Nursing Mothers Protected by Expansion of NJ Law Against Discrimination

January 25th, 2018 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

As employers may already know, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) was amended and expanded in 2014 to provide protections to women affected by pregnancy, child birth or related medical conditions.  Aside from the obvious goal of eradicating unlawful discrimination, the amendment sought to promote healthy pregnancies.  The amendment requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women who choose to continue working throughout their pregnancies and to prevent discrimination of any kind on the basis of pregnancy or pregnancy-related medical conditions.  The amendment made NJLAD, as it applies to pregnancy, one of the most progressive. On Jan. 8, 2018, an additional amendment went into effect, providing for the protection of nursing mothers in the workplace.

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Employers: How Recent Sexual Harassment Scandals May Affect Your Workplace

January 16th, 2018 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

In response to the highly-publicized sexual misconduct and harassment scandals in the workplace that have dominated the headlines in recent months, legislators have acted to address what has surfaced as a matter of grave concern.  Employers should be cognizant of the following proposed legislation, which, if passed, will require proactive steps by employers in order to protect employees and employers alike.

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The Risks of Withdrawing a Conditional Offer of Employment Based on Medical Reasons

November 13th, 2017 | Written by Richard P. Cushing, Esq.

The recent unpublished Appellate Division decision of Philip Marchesani v. J.B. Hunt Transportation, Inc., et al., Appellate Division, Docket No. A-4751-15T2 (decided October 31, 2017), illustrates the challenges faced by employers who issue a conditional offer of employment. 

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Employers: Avoid Comments About Employees’ Religions or Religious Practices

October 23rd, 2017 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

To steer clear of potential issues, employers should follow this plain and simple rule: don’t permit comments about employees’ religions or religious practices in the workplace.

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Court Rules Against Employer for Not Accommodating Employee’s Religious Belief of “Mark of the Beast”

June 28th, 2017 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

Recently, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a near $600,000 award against an employer for failing to accommodate an employee’s religious belief after a biometric hand scanner was installed in the workplace (EEOC v. Consol Energy). The employee claimed that the scanner would label him with the “Mark of the Beast,” contrary to his evangelical Christian religious beliefs.

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Seventh Circuit Rules Civil Rights Law Covers LGBT Bias

April 7th, 2017 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

In a long-awaited decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, an eight to three ruling was rendered on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

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Employer Takeaways From First Official Affordable Care Act Repeal and Replacement Proposal

March 10th, 2017 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

On March 6, 2017, House Republicans offered their first official proposal for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) roll-back.  While much remains to be seen regarding the proposed draft, employers should be mindful of the following as matters unfold:

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Employers: Anti-Discrimination Policies Can Help You Defend Against Vicarious Liability Claims

February 27th, 2017 | Written by Tracy B. Bussel, Esq.

New Jersey Courts have recently acknowledged that an employer is entitled to an affirmative defense to a hostile work environment claim based on the employer having exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct any harassing behavior. To obtain the protection of this defense, an employer must prove that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and to promptly address and correct the alleged behavior, and that the plaintiff employee failed to avail him or herself of preventive or corrective opportunities available, or to otherwise avoid harm. Courts look disfavorably toward claims where there is a policy prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, with instructions on how to report harassment, yet the plaintiff fails to report any such incidents to his/her supervisors, and instead pursues legal action. 

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Lyme Disease Is a Disability Entitled to Protection in the Workplace

September 7th, 2016 | Written by Arthur D. Fialk, Esq.

A recent Appellate Division case, Cook v. Gregory Press, Inc., determined that Lyme disease qualifies as a disability under the Law Against Discrimination (LAD). 

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Avoiding Common Mistakes in Your Employee Handbook

July 7th, 2016 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

A poorly written, outdated, or inconsistent employee manual can hurt your company and lead to potential litigation down the line.  The most common mistakes to avoid are the following:

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NJ Supreme Court Expands Definition of Marital Status Under the LAD

June 29th, 2016 | Written by William H. Pandos, Esq.

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued an important interpretation of New Jersey’s “Law Against Discrimination” (LAD), of which all New Jersey employers should be aware. 

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How Do the New DOL Overtime Rules Affect My Business?

June 1st, 2016 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule regarding overtime wage payment qualifications for the “white collar exemptions” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Covered employers must comply with this rule by December 1, 2016.

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Supreme Court Rules on First Amendment Protection for Demoted Paterson Police Officer

May 11th, 2016 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq. and Kelly A. Lichtenstein, Esq.

In Heffernan v. City of Paterson, a recently decided U.S. Supreme Court case, a government official demoted an employee because he believed that the employee supported a particular non-incumbent candidate for mayor. The Court had to decide if the First Amendment prohibited the government from demoting the employee based on the government’s perception that the employee supported the non-incumbent politician. The Supreme Court held that yes, it did.

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Are Companies Required to Pay Summer Interns?

April 20th, 2016 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

Many companies hire interns over the summer, and mistakenly believe the interns do not have to be paid.  Since these companies are providing high school or college students with valuable work experiences that hopefully will help the students find paying jobs upon graduation, company management sometimes thinks that the experience is sufficient “payment” for the work provided.  However, depending on what these summer interns are doing, the company may need to pay them at least minimum wage. 

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When Can an Employer Require a Fitness-for-Duty Exam?

February 25th, 2016 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

Recently, the Appellate Division found that an employer wrongfully required an employee to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination after receiving an anonymous letter expressing concerns about the employee’s mental condition.

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When Does “HO-HO-HO” Become “WOE, WOE, WOE”? Top 10 Ways to Prevent Your Company Holiday Party from Turning into Potential Litigation

December 8th, 2015 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

While many companies sponsor holiday parties, the consumption of alcohol, coupled with dancing and a casual environment, can lead to various types of possible internal complaints and lawsuits. Here are ten tips to help your company avoid litigation:

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Protecting Your Company From Harassment & Discrimination Lawsuits

October 13th, 2015 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

In Hobson v. Tremmel, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint against her employer for discrimination. Her complaint alleged a hostile work environment, sexual harassment and retaliation. Recently the Appellate Division upheld this dismissal. In upholding the dismissal, the Appellate Division pointed out the following:

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Avoiding Hostile Work Environment & Sexual Harassment Liability

August 12th, 2015 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

A recent opinion by the New Jersey Appellate Division, Jones v. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, confirms that employers must take proactive measures to protect employees from being subjected to a hostile work environment. In Jones, the Court was asked to address whether the plaintiff, a temporary employee who worked as a machine operator at the defendant’s manufacturing facility from March 2010 to October 2011, and subsequently as a permanent employee for a short period in early 2012, could maintain a sexual harassment hostile work environment claim against the defendants.

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How the DOL’s Proposals For Exemptions to Overtime May Affect Your Business

July 20th, 2015 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

Under current Department of Labor (DOL) regulations, employees who are called “managers” are exempt from overtime if they make more than $455 a week or $23,660 per year, even if they perform routine, non-managerial tasks. On June 29, 2015, President Obama announced that he wants to double that threshold to $970/ week, or $50,440 per year, in 2016.

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Pregnancy is Now a Protected Class Under NJ Law

June 18th, 2015 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

New Jersey recently enacted the Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act (ANJPWFA) as an amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). This amendment explicitly prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees in the workplace, when the accommodation is recommended by the employee’s physician.

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Snow Days and Exempt Employees

May 1st, 2015 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

Spring is finally here…your company has made it through the harsh winter of 2015! Did your employees who are exempt from overtime miss any work due to the weather? Did you deduct their salary or paid time off for missing work? Before the next winter begins, you should know the Department of Labor’s rules regarding deducting an exempt employee’s salary and paid time off.

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Exempt vs. Non-Exempt: Avoiding Wage Violations

April 13th, 2015 | Written by Leslie A. Parikh, Esq.

Most employees are classified as either “exempt” or “non-exempt” for purposes of New Jersey and Federal wage laws.  Salary and type of work are significant factors in evaluating the exempt or non-exempt status of an employee. 

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Employers Beware…Have You “Banned the Box”?

April 1st, 2015 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

As of March 1, 2015, all public and private employers that have 15 or more employees are now prohibited from asking a job applicant about his or her criminal record until after the first job interview, unless the applicant voluntarily discloses such information. Governor Christie signed the   “Opportunity to Compete Act” last year, but the Act’s requirements did not begin until March 1 of this year.

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Defending Sexual Harassment Claims Against Employers

March 10th, 2015 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

On Feb. 11, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued Aguas v. New Jersey, a case that has significant implications for employers in sexual harassment cases, and raised the bar on what a Plaintiff needs to demonstrate to win the case against his or her employer. 

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Why Performance Reviews are Important

February 20th, 2015 | Written by Deborah B. Rosenthal, Esq.

The NJ Superior Court Appellate Division recently reiterated the importance of employers conducting thorough and complete performance reviews of employees.

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