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New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law Update: NJDOL Issues New Guidance

In response to many questions about the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law, which will go into effect on Monday, October 29, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) issued a detailed list of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on October 24, 2018. Many of the answers to the FAQs simply restate the provisions of the proposed regulations, but others clarify open questions. Below are some of the more significant clarifications the NJDOL provided (verbatim from the NJDOL’s FAQs). Our own FAQ responses in our three-part blog series provide additional information on the new sick leave law.

New Jersey Mandates Drug Testing Of Direct Support Staff

All applicants and employees working in any New Jersey Department of Human Services (“DHS”) funded, licensed or regulated program serving adults with developmental disabilities are subject to mandatory drug testing, effective May 1, 2018. Under the Stephen Komninos’ Law, New Jersey Public Law 2017, Chapter 238, covered employers are required to administer pre-employment, random and reasonable suspicion drug testing. The law does not require alcohol testing.

The Latest Buzz: New Jersey Employer Must Reimburse Injured Employee for Cost of Medical Marijuana

Executive Summary: Rejecting Freehold Township’s claim the entire case was barred by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a workers’ compensation judge ruled the municipality must reimburse its employee for the cost of medical marijuana to treat his work-related injury. This contrasts with a recent decision from Maine’s highest court, which held that compliance with an administrative order compelling an employer to subsidize an employee’s use of medical marijuana constitutes aiding and abetting, which is a violation of the CSA.

New Jersey Bill Seeks to Increase Family Leave Insurance Benefits

On March 13, 2017, a bill that would increase both the duration and, for lower paid workers, the weekly amount of Family Leave Insurance (“FLI”) benefits was introduced in the New Jersey Senate and referred to the New Jersey Senate Labor Committee for review.

Morristown, New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Notice and Poster Now Available

In advance of the January 11, 2017 effective date of the Morristown Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, the Town of Morristown, New Jersey just released its “Notice of Employee Rights to Paid Sick Time” (in addition to a Spanish version of the notice). Employers in Morristown must provide this notice to all new employees at the time of hire and to current employees as soon as practical. In addition, the notice must be posted in a “conspicuous and accessible place” in each location where employees are employed. Finally, the notice must be posted and distributed to employees in English and, if at least 10 percent of the employer’s workforce has a primary language other than English, it must be published in those languages as well.

New Jersey Bill Seeks to Bar Pre-Hire Inquiries into Candidate Compensation History

The New Jersey State Assembly is considering a bill (A-4119) that would amend the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) to prohibit an employer from seeking compensation information on a candidate. If passed, the legislation will affect the hiring process in New Jersey, including requiring changes to application materials, interview questions, and negotiations over compensation.

Paid Sick Leave Comes To Morristown

On September 13, 2016, the Morristown Town Council passed Ordinance No. 35-2016, which will soon require all private employers in Morristown to provide paid sick time to employees. The ordinance goes into effect on October 4, 2016 for non-unionized employees, and at the expiration of any collective bargaining agreement currently in effect for unionized employees.

Morristown, New Jersey, Passes Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Private-sector employees who work at least 80 hours during a calendar year in Morristown, New Jersey, will be entitled to paid sick leave under Ordinance No. 35-2016, passed by the Morristown Town Council on September 13, 2016.

Morristown Becomes New Jersey’s 13th Municipality to Enact a Paid Sick Time Law

On September 14, 2016, Morristown, New Jersey became New Jersey’s 13th municipality to require private employers to provide paid sick time to employees.1 The Morristown ordinance takes effect on October 4, 2016, leaving employers little time to modify policies and ensure compliance.

New Jersey Bills Would Burden Employers with Scheduling and Pay Rules

Both the New Jersey General Assembly (A1117, reported out of committee on April 4) and Senate (S1397, introduced on February 11, 2016) have introduced bills to enact the “New Jersey Schedules That Work Act,” a law that would dramatically curtail New Jersey employers’ ability to schedule their employees’ shifts.

New Jersey Bill Requires Notification to Employees of Schedule Changes 14 Days in Advance

A bill making its way through the New Jersey legislature provides that an employee may request, and an employer must consider, changes to work hours, work locations, and more consistent work hours, among other terms and conditions of employment, as a matter of right. The employer, in turn, must engage in a “good faith interactive process” to consider the employee’s request and explain the basis for any denial.

New Jersey Agency Issues Regulations on Statewide “Ban-the-Box” Law

As previously reported, on August 11, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed “The Opportunity to Compete Act” – New Jersey’s so-called “ban-the-box” law – which restricts the ability of covered employers to inquire into, and use, criminal records. On November 2, 2015, New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which is responsible for enforcing the Act, released “The Opportunity to Compete Act Rules” (Rules). The Rules became effective on December 7, 2015. This Insight will provide an overview of the Act and also will highlight key portions of the new rules.1

Final Regulations Issued by the NJDOL for New Jersey Employers Regarding Ban the Box

Last month, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) released final regulations to further define some of the ambiguous terms contained in New Jersey’s “Ban the Box” law, titled the Opportunity to Compete Act (OTCA), which went into effect March 1, 2015. As a reminder, OTCA prohibits most New Jersey employers from requiring an applicant to complete a job application that makes any inquiries regarding the applicant’s arrest or criminal record, or from making any inquiry (verbal or written) concerning an applicant’s arrest or criminal record during the “initial employment application process,” which runs from the employer’s first “contact” with the applicant concerning potential employment and concludes when the employer has conducted a first interview of the job applicant, with some industry exceptions.

New Jersey Appellate Court Rules Arbitration Agreement in Employee Handbook Unenforceable

In C.M. v. Maiden Re Insurance Services, LLC, No. L-3622-13 (App. Div. Sept. 18, 2015), the New Jersey Appellate Division held that an employee was not compelled to arbitrate her employment discrimination claims, notwithstanding her confirmed receipt of a handbook containing an arbitration agreement. Electronic confirmation that the employee received the handbook was not enough to constitute a knowing waiver of her constitutional rights to have her claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) decided by a jury, as

New Jersey Arbitration Agreement Declared Invalid Without Express Waiver of Employee’s “Right to a Trial”

Many employers have turned to mandatory employment arbitration agreements as a way to control the cost, duration, and publicity of employment litigation. New Jersey courts will enforce properly drafted agreements that require employees to arbitrate their employment-related claims, including statutory discrimination and retaliation claims.

Quinlan Revisited: Employees Who Steal Personnel Records May Not Necessarily Be Fired, But At Least They May Be Prosecuted

Five years ago, in Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corporation, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a trusted employee's act of stealing and using her employer's confidential personnel documents in furtherance of her discrimination lawsuit constituted protected activity under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("LAD").1 On June 23, 2015, the court revisited this highly controversial decision in State v. Saavedra, stating, to the surprise of many, that Quinlan "did not endorse self-help as an alternative to the legal process in employment discrimination litigation." Instead, the court held that Quinlan did not require the dismissal of the indictment of a Board of Education employee who unlawfully took confidential student documents to support her LAD suit against her employer and she could still be criminally prosecuted for her actions. The court held, however, that Quinlan could be a basis for a justification defense against such prosecution.

More Headaches for NJ Employers as Six More Towns Pass Sick Leave Ordinances

The proliferation of municipality sick leave laws in New Jersey continues with no sign of letting up. Passaic, East Orange, Paterson, and Irvington recently passed their own paid sick leave ordinances, and voters in Trenton and Montclair approved similar laws in the recent election. It is imperative for employers in these cities to take proper precautions and look closely at current sick leave policies.

New Jersey Bans the Box: Rules About Learning the Criminal Histories of Jobs Applicants Are Changing

New Jersey employers with 15 or more employees will be prohibited from inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal history in the initial employment application beginning on March 1, 2015. New Jersey is the latest state to join a growing number of states that have enacted what is commonly referred to as “Ban the Box” bills.

New Jersey Governor Christie Signs Ban the Box Law

On August 11, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the “The Opportunity to Compete Act”—also referred to as the “ban the box” law—adding New Jersey to the growing list of states where employers are prohibited from asking criminal conviction questions on initial employment applications.

Legal Alert: Jersey City Passes Paid Sick Leave Law; Applies to Employees Who Work At Least 80 Hours Per Calendar Year in City

Executive Summary: The Jersey City Council voted 7-1 to pass a bill that will provide paid sick leave for workers in New Jersey's second largest city. Any business with 10 or more employees must offer as many as five paid sick days per year. Businesses with fewer employees will be required to provide unpaid sick days. The ordinance carries civil penalties, creates a private right of action for aggrieved employees, and empowers the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services to audit employers and investigate and adjudicate complaints.

Legal Alert: New Jersey Governor Signs Social Media and Gender Parity Laws

Executive Summary: On August 29, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law two pieces of legislation that will have a significant impact on employers. A-2878, the "Facebook bill," prohibits employers from requiring or requesting employees to disclose their name, password or other means for accessing their personal account on a social networking website. A-2648 amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to prohibit retaliation against employees who disclose or request pay information, including information regarding their compensation, benefits, or occupational category, based on a reasonable belief that there is a discriminatory pay practice occurring in the workplace.

Domestic Violence Victim Leave Law Enacted in New Jersey.

The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), which was extended in February 2013, is a federal law that provides funding toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposes automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allows civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted. The Act also establishes the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice. The law’s coverage extends to male victims of domestic violence, and also includes dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Since the extension and expansion of VAWA earlier this year, a number of states have taken steps to enact domestic violence laws, or to strengthen existing legislation in that area.

"Ban the Box" Bill Introduced in New Jersey Senate

A bill was recently introduced in the New Jersey Senate that would significantly restrict an employer’s ability to ask about and consider a current or future employee’s criminal history in the employment process. Bill No. S.2586, also known as the Opportunity to Compete Act (OCA) or “Ban the Box” bill, would prohibit private and public New Jersey employers from directly or indirectly inquiring about a candidate’s criminal history until after a “conditional offer of employment” has been made.

No Tortious Interference Where Information Provided to Prospective Employer Was Truthful.

The plaintiff, who was terminated for violating company policy, later received an offer of employment from a new employer contingent on a background check. When the prospective employer learned from the prior employer the reason for the plaintiff’s termination, it withdrew the offer. The plaintiff sued his prior employer for, inter alia, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage.

New Law Requires Adoption Agencies to Perform Background Checks for Agency Employees.

On December 15, 2008, Governor Corzine signed into law bill S111, which requires all employees of adoption agencies that have been approved, or are seeking approval, by the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) to undergo criminal background and child abuse background checks.
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