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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 Legislative Update, Part II: What’s in the Works for New Jersey Employers?

On March 14, 2016, a bill (A3471) was introduced that would require all employers in Essex, Hudson, Camden, Mercer, and Middlesex counties to pay their employees at least $20 per hour from January 1, 2017, through January 1, 2022, at which point the minimum wage would revert to the state’s current minimum wage.

Jersey City Proposes Groundbreaking Minimum Workweek Ordinance

The City of Jersey City, New Jersey, recognizing that building service employees compose “a significant portion” of those who work in the City, is considering an ordinance to establish a minimum 30-hour workweek for them. The measure, launched by City Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jr., and backed by Mayor Steve Fulop, seeks to mandate that employers provide certain building services employees with at least 30 hours of work per workweek.

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 Bill Could Dramatically Change State Class Action Litigation

On March 7, 2016, a bill was introduced in the New Jersey Senate that, if enacted, would dramatically alter class action litigation in New Jersey. The bill, S1845, would permit litigants to immediately appeal to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court judicial determinations as to the certification or decertification of a class of plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit. Such interlocutory appeals would be allowed as a matter of right. Under the existing system, a litigant who wishes to challenge a class certification determination must file a motion for leave to file an interlocutory appeal, which is rarely granted.

Recently Enacted New Jersey Laws Affecting Employers

In January, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law two new bills about which New Jersey employers should be aware. One creates an optional state retirement plan marketplace for small businesses, while the other directs the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) to create an online information portal to create a webpage dedicated to providing information about family leave rights and benefits.

New Jersey Legislative Update—What’s in the Works for New Jersey Employers

Since the beginning of 2016, the New Jersey Legislature has been busy introducing bills that would impose new requirements on New Jersey employers and employees. Those new bills are described below.

New Jersey Court: Meal Preparation, Other Tasks Properly Part of “Companion” Duties Under Old Test

In 2013 the Department of Labor announced new regulatory language that substantially limited the scope of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s companionship exemption. Those regulations, of course, were challenged through litigation which remains ongoing, and their implementation by the USDOL was delayed until many months after the original effective date of January 1, 2015. Though the new companionship services regulations have taken effect, pending review by the U.S. Supreme Court, claims brought under the prior regulations continue to work their way through the court system. A federal district court in New Jersey decided one such case last week, finding an FLSA claimant had failed to properly plead that she was not exempt from minimum wage and overtime under the prior version of the exemption. Simoliuniene v. Estate of Maszer, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25953 (D.N.J. Mar. 1, 2016).

New Jersey Appellate Division Clarifies When Employers Can Require Employee Psych Examinations

The circumstances under which a company or organization may require an employee to undergo a medical examination can be confusing for employers, and for good reason: The “rules” are cobbled together from a variety of sources and are from the model of clarity. The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey recently attempted to synthesize and clarify these rules in the case of In re Williams, a decision whose importance will likely increase as disability and reasonable accommodation issues continue to be fertile ground for plaintiffs’ attorneys. 2016 N.J. Super. LEXIS 15 (App.Div. Jan. 25, 2016)

New Jersey Court Finds Employer Improperly Required Employee to Submit to Fitness-for-Duty Exam

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division recently held, in a case of first impression, that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) permits a New Jersey employer to require an employee to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination in limited circumstances. Quoting an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Enforcement Guidance, the court found that fitness-for-duty examinations are permissible only when an employer “has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that: (1) an employee’s ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by a medical condition; or (2) an employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition.” In the Matter of Paul Williams, Township of Lakewood, No. A-0341-15T2 (January 25, 2016)