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New Jersey eAuthority (March 26, 2014)

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Signs Sick Leave Ordinance Into Law; New Jersey Legislators to Withhold Payment From State Vendors That Owe Unemployment Contributions ; New Bill Would Suspend Interest Payments on Mortgages for Employees Aggrieved by Violations of the New Jersey WARN Act; New Jersey’s Version of “Ban the Box” Bill Reintroduced to Senate; Bill Introduced to Assist Unemployed Job Applicants in New Jersey; New Jersey Bill Seeks to Increase Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees; Bill Protects Employees Impacted by Emergency Weather Conditions; Removal From Key Account and Placement on Performance Improvement Plan Not “Adverse Employment Actions,” New Jersey District Court Holds; Employer’s Handbook Disclaimer Renders Agreement to Arbitrate Unenforceable, New Jersey District Court Holds ;

New Jersey Supreme Court to Decide Whether ‘Watchdog’ Whistleblower Can Claim Retaliatory Discharge

The New Jersey Supreme Court will review a terminated company executive’s whistleblower claim to determine whether in allegedly raising concerns about the safety and efficacy of his employer’s products, he would be protected from firing by the state’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”), even though voicing such concerns was part of his job. Lippman v. Ethicon Inc. et al., No. A-65/66-13 (certification granted Mar. 14, 2014).

New Jersey High Court to Decide Whether Employee Theft of Confidential Documents May Be Exempt from Prosecution

The Supreme Court of New Jersey has agreed to decide whether employees who steal confidential documents from their employers to support whistleblower lawsuits are entitled to exemption from criminal charges stemming from the theft. State v. Saavedra, No. A-68-13 (certification granted Mar. 14, 2014).

Newark Follows Jersey City to Enact Paid Sick Time Law

On January 29, 2014, the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey signed into law an ordinance that requires private employers to provide paid sick time to employees. With this new law, Newark joins Jersey City, which enacted an ordinance mandating paid sick leave for private sector employees in September of last year.1 There are key distinctions between Newark’s ordinance and Jersey City’s ordinance. Notably, Newark’s ordinance requires paid sick time and does not provide the option of unpaid sick time; collective bargaining agreements may expressly waive the provisions set forth in the ordinance; and individuals who work for small employers (with fewer than 10 employees) are capped at 24 hours of paid sick time per calendar year.

Newark, New Jersey Enacts Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

The City of Newark has passed a “paid sick leave” ordinance mandating that all private employers in the City provide employees with paid sick time. Newark joins Jersey City as the only cities in New Jersey to enact such legislation and the eighth city nationwide to do so.

Taking Documents to Support Discrimination Claims Can Be Prosecuted As Theft, Notwithstanding Quinlan, New Jersey Appellate Division Holds

In State v. Saavedra, 2013 WL 6763248 (App. Div. Dec. 24, 2013), a public sector employee learned that he could be indicted for criminal theft for taking his employer’s highly confidential, original documents, even if his actions would have been protected in a civil suit under Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corp., No. 204 N.J. 239 (2010).

New Jersey Employers Face New Pregnancy Accommodation Requirements

On January 21, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act (PWFA) after nearly unanimous support in the State Assembly and Senate. The PWFA, which took effect immediately, applies to all New Jersey employers and amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) to include pregnancy as a protected category. In addition to prohibiting discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, the PWFA requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees who request accommodation upon the advice of their physician unless undue hardship on the business operations of the employer would result.

Legal Alert: Newark City Council Passes Paid Sick Leave Ordinance; Mayor Expected To Approve Measure

Executive Summary: Following Jersey City's lead, New Jersey's largest city is poised to enact an ordinance that would require employers to provide up to 40 hours per year of paid sick time to Newark employees.

New Jersey Employers Must Provide Pregnant Employees Accommodations under New Law

A new New Jersey law prohibits pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and requires employers to provide pregnant employees with reasonable, pregnancy-related accommodations, upon request, absent a showing of undue hardship. California and Maryland are other states that have extended their accommodation requirements to pregnant workers. The New Jersey law, signed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on January 21, 2014, is effective immediately. The law amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-12, which now protects 17 characteristics from discrimination.

Legal Alert: New Gender Equity Poster and Notice Required for New Jersey Employers

Executive Summary: The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has issued the final form for required gender equity posters and notices. Effective January 2014, New Jersey employers with 50 or more employees must conspicuously post a notice informing employees of their right to be free of gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment.