Joining the vast majority of jurisdictions in the country, New Jersey has enacted a law to protect trade secrets. The New Jersey Trade Secrets Act (â€œNJTSAâ€), signed by Governor Chris Christie on January 9, 2012, is a version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (â€œUTSAâ€). A total of 47 states have now adopted some variation of the UTSA. The new law is effective immediately. The full text of the NJTSA can be found at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/S2500/2456_R1.HTM.
Articles About New Jersey Labor And Employment Law.
On November 16, 2011, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed a finding that registered nurses who were paid on an hourly basis were exempt from the overtime requirements of the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (â€œNJWHLâ€), even though the regulation applicable at the time only extended the â€œprofessionalâ€ exemption to employees compensated on a â€œsalary or fee basis.â€
In an ASAP published on October 17th, Littler reported that, in recent amendments to its overtime regulations, New Jersey had inadvertently eliminated the exemption for sales employees paid on commission, which closely tracked an exemption in Section 7(i) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (sometimes known as the “inside sales” exemption).
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (â€œNJDOLâ€) has placed new burdens on employers. A newly issued notice entitled, â€œEmployer Obligation to Maintain and Report Records,â€ requires employers to (1) post this notice immediately in the workplace; (2) provide each employee hired prior to November 7, 2011, a written copy of the notice no later than December 7, 2011; and (3) provide employees hired after November 7, 2011, a written copy of the notice at the time of hire. A copy of the Notice is available here.
In 2009, New Jersey passed a law requiring the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (â€œDLWDâ€) to issue regulations providing that any employer who is required to maintain and report records regarding wages, benefits, and taxes pursuant to state law â€œshall conspicuously post notificationâ€ of the obligation to maintain and report those records.
New Jersey recognizes the right of a worker to prepare to compete with his or her employer even while in the employerâ€™s employ, provided the preparation does not involve taking the employerâ€™s confidential and proprietary information and property. However, New Jersey also recognizes that the worker owes a duty of undivided loyalty to act solely for â€” and in the best interests of â€” his or her employer. The workerâ€™s right, therefore, does not curtail his duty to his employer, a New Jersey Appellate Division court has confirmed. Baseline Services, Inc. v. Kutz, 2011 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2309 (NJ App. Div. Aug. 25, 2011) (per curiam). Finding against the disloyal employee, the Court ordered him to pay his former employer the lost net profit on the contract it did not obtain because of his conduct.
A new civil action for the misappropriation of trade secrets, with remedies for the aggrieved holder of a trade secret, would be created under legislation passed by the New Jersey General Assembly and the New Jersey Senate. The New Jersey Trade Secrets Act (A-921) must be signed by Governor Chris Christie before becoming law. Once signed, the Act will take effect immediately. It will not apply retroactively.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (â€œNJDOLâ€) has adopted the federal regulations regarding white collar overtime exemptions, repealing existing state regulations and eliminating inconsistencies between the two regulatory schemes. This will provide employers with greater certainty regarding proper worker classifications and puts New Jersey in line with the majority of states that track certain federal overtime exemption requirements. The new regulations are effective immediately.
The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, long-considered one of the most broad-based whistleblower protection legislation in the United States, has been further expanded by the New Jersey Supreme Courtâ€™s holding that a CEPA plaintiff may recover lost wages without proving, or even alleging, a constructive discharge.
A new New Jersey law prohibits employers in the state from publishing job advertisements, in print or on the Internet, that exclude unemployed individuals from applying. This makes New Jersey the first state to enact an explicit prohibition against such limiting language. The legislation, effective June 1, 2011, provides a penalty for employers that â€œknowingly and purposefullyâ€ publish advertisements excluding unemployed individuals from consideration for a position.
New Jersey has taken the first step towards bringing the Stateâ€™s regulations on overtime exemptions in line with federal law. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (â€œNJDOLâ€) on March 21, 2011, proposed to adopt the federal regulations regarding overtime exemptions and repeal the existing State regulations. The move would eliminate needless inconsistencies between the two regulatory schemes and provide greater certainty to employers and employees regarding appropriate worker classifications. The current proposal comes on the heels of the NJDOLâ€™s adoption of federal regulations regarding practices in rounding employeesâ€™ wages.
In a groundbreaking decision on an issue of first impression, the New Jersey appellate court has held that a plaintiff may proceed with a punitive damages claim against her former employer despite the fact that a jury found that she failed in proving the common law tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress under New Jersey law. Rusak v. Ryan Automotive, L.L.C., No. A-2002-09T1 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Feb. 8, 2011).
The New Jersey Supreme Court has held that a wage claim may be timely even though the alleged discrimination occurred outside the New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination’s two-year statute of limitations. Alexander v. Seton Hall Univ., No. A-87-09 (Nov. 23, 2010). According to the Court, this is because each alleged discriminatory paycheck is a separate act, re-starting the limitation period. The Court, however, limited the plaintiffs’ damages to the two-year period from the date they filed their complaint.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled 5-2 that an employee who engages in self-help and circumvents the pretrial discovery process by secretly copying her employer’s records for use in a discrimination lawsuit may be insulated from discipline and/or termination. The Court’s decision in Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corp., No. A-51-09 (Dec. 2, 2010), adopting a totality-of-circumstances approach, gives employees who believe they were discriminated against more legal protections than ever while making it more difficult for employers to respond to employee misconduct.