A former school board employee who removed confidential documents to assist in her employment lawsuit filed against the school board may be criminally prosecuted, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled, affirming an Appellate Division decision. State v. Saavedra, No. A-68-13 (June 23, 2015). The Supreme Court’s decision could strengthen employers’ ability to protect their confidential documents, while forcing attorneys to seriously question the advisability of accepting and using documents from clients who may have improperly obtained them from their employers.
Articles Discussing General Issues In New Jersey Labor & Employment Law.
How to Comply with the New Jersey ‘Ban the Box’ Law
In New Jersey, The Opportunity to Compete Act, otherwise known as the “Ban the Box” bill, restricting employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal background during the initial stages of the application process, became effective March 1, 2015. (For more information, see our article, New Jersey Governor Christie Signs ‘Ban the Box’ Legislation.)
New Jersey’s “Ban the Box” Law Takes Effect March 1, 2015
Executive Summary: The New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act (the “Act”), known as the “Ban the Box” law, will go into effect on March 1, 2015. The Act prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal background during the initial employment application process. Employers should ensure that their applications and hiring processes are in compliance with the Act before it takes effect next month.
NJ Employers Dealt Another Blow in Classifying Independent Contractors
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently confirmed that the “ABC” test is the one to be used by employers to determine whether someone is an independent contractor under wage and hour laws, further eroding the ability of employers to classify individuals as independent contractors. In Hargrove v. Sleepy’s LLC (No 10-cv-1138), the Third Circuit certified a question of law to the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding the appropriate test to determine independent contractor status under the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law and Wage Payment Law. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held the more restrictive ABC test to determine whether someone should be classified as an independent contractor.
New Jersey Supreme Court Restricts Ability to Label Workers as Independent Contractors
Executive Summary: On January 13, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision that will likely have a far reaching effect on employers by severely limiting their ability to classify workers as independent contractors. In Hargrove et. al. v. Sleepy’s, LLC, the Court held that the “ABC” test, derived from the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Act, governs whether a plaintiff is an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of resolving a wage-payment or wage-and-hour claim under New Jersey law.
Newark, New Jersey Provides Guidance on Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
The City of Newark has released new guidance and “Frequently Asked Questions” to assist employers with compliance with the new paid sick leave time ordinance, which became effective on June 21, 2014.
Nurse’s Vaccination Refusal on Secular Grounds Not Misconduct, New Jersey Court Rules
Hospitals that require caregivers to be immunized against influenza are often sued to force them to exempt employees with religious objections from getting the shots, but last week a New Jersey court turned the argument for religious exemption on its head when it ruled in favor of a nurse whose objections to vaccination were purely secular.
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.
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.
Criminal Prosecution for Employee’s Theft of Employer’s Documents May Proceed, New Jersey Court Rules
An employee who removes or copies her employer’s documents for use in her whistleblower or discrimination case may be prosecuted criminally for stealing, a New Jersey state court has ruled. State v. Saavedra, No. A-1449-12T4 (App. Div. Dec. 24, 2013). The employee had taken highly confidential original documents owned by her employer, contending that she did so to support her employment discrimination suit. The Court’s decision could have serious implications on whistleblower claims in the state.
New Jersey Court Rules Individual Can Be Criminally Prosecuted for Taking Confidential Information to Support Civil Whistleblower Claims
In 2010, the New Jersey Supreme Court created a qualified privilege for an employee taking documents to support an employment discrimination suit.1 However, this past December, in State of New Jersey v. Ivonne Saavedra,2 the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, ruled that the qualified privilege should not be applied to protect a criminal defendant from a grand jury indictment for “official misconduct” for having taken those documents to support a retaliatory discharge claim.
New Notice Requirements for New Jersey and Jersey City Employers
Beginning January 6, 2014, all New Jersey employers with at least 50 employees, whether working inside or outside of New Jersey, will be required to conspicuously post and distribute to employees a new gender equity notice. The notice advises employees of their rights to be free from gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits, or other employment terms and conditions under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Pay Act of 1963. (For a detailed discussion of this notice requirement, see our article, New Jersey’s Mandatory Gender Discrimination Notice Available.)
Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Adopted in Jersey City, New Jersey
On September 26, 2013, Jersey City, New Jersey became the latest jurisdiction to mandate that private sector employees receive paid sick leave. Jersey City joins a handful of U.S. cities1 with a mandatory paid sick leave requirement: San Francisco, California; New York City, New York; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington.2 Additionally, paid sick leave requirements exist in Connecticut and Washington, D.C. The ordinance takes effect January 24, 2014. However, for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in effect on the ordinance’s effective date, the ordinance covers them on the date the CBA terminates.