COVID-19 concerns have swept across the country in the last weeks. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other governing bodies have called upon all Americans to do what they can to slow the transmission of the disease by practicing social distancing. For employers, that means seriously considering allowing their employees to work remotely.

Continue Reading Remote Working: What Employers Need To Know

Companies are finding themselves in an unprecedented situation, needing to make determinations that keep their employees safe while complying with state and federal laws during the current global health challenge.

Navigating responsibilities, employee rights, and requirements for compliance require complex calculations for employers with the recent spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). While the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other federal and state guidelines can provide instructions for those that have contracted the illness, measures dictated by social distancing are less clear cut.

So what are the factors that should be taken into consideration? Travel restrictions, implementation of remote work policies, and limiting exposure in offices that are open are all part of the current decisions facing businesses.

What are the most important points to consider at this time?


Continue Reading Employers Navigate New Territory With COVID-19 Risks and Accommodations

There is legal significance if is a person is deemed to be an “employee,” as opposed to an independent contractor. That determination is likely to be significant for a number of reasons, including: tort liability under respondeat superior; payroll taxation; workers’ compensation insurance; benefits; and statutory employee protections. Employers are required to protect their employees from workplace discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Moreover, they are required to pay their “employees,” in accordance with the Wage Payment Law, the Wage and Hour Law, and the Unemployment Compensation Law. Independent contractors, on the other hand, are not subject to the same.


Continue Reading Employee vs. Independent Contractor? Important, Yet, Sometimes Confusing Distinctions

On February 18, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy unveiled a sweeping proposal that significantly strengthens the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The proposed legislation was the result of a two year study of workplace employment discrimination and sexual harassment conducted by the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. It also mirrors the current societal shift in attitudes about workplace discrimination and sexual harassment. Employers need to be cognizant of these proposed changes and the current climate.

If enacted, New Jersey would require all employers to provide anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training. The New Jersey Supreme Court held that trial court should consider whether or not an employer made training available to supervisors and all employees when deciding whether or not an employer has been negligent in preventing sexual harassment. This proposed change would require training.


Continue Reading Proposed New Jersey Legislation Aimed at Combating Workplace Bias and Sexual Harassment

Over the past decade, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has reported that retaliation is the most common issue alleged by federal employees and the most common discrimination finding in federal sector cases. Nearly half of all claims made to the EEOC are retaliation claims.

The EEOC found that other employers retaliated in violation of the law in greater than 40% of the reported claims, a fact which employers must be aware of. The same is likely true under the anti-retaliation provisions as set forth in the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Hence, it is essential that employers take affirmative remedial steps to prevent retaliation. Moreover, employers must immediately and effectively address retaliation if it is reported.


Continue Reading Employers Must Be Extremely Wary of Retaliation Claims

Effective February, 1, 2020, New Jersey will join other 16 states (AL, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, ME, MA, MI, NY, NC, OR, PA, VT, WA, & WI) and 17 local governments (San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, New Orleans, Jackson, MS, Kansas City, MO, New York City, Albany County, NY, Suffolk County, NY, Westchester County, NY, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richland County, SC, & Salt Lake City) in prohibiting employers from requesting salary history from job applicants.

Continue Reading NJ to Prohibit Employers from Requesting Salary History from Job Applicants

The second largest consumer tax preparer in the United States has just been hit with a lawsuit filed by former employees alleging a “no-poach” conspiracy between the company and its franchisees, according to a complaint filed in New Jersey federal court.

In the suit, the former Jackson Hewitt employees seek to represent any person who worked at one of the tax company’s locations between January 2000 and December 2018. This proposed class action suit is seeking treble damages, attorney fees, and an injunction that would prohibit the company from using agreements that prevent employees from moving between Jackson Hewitt locations going forward.


Continue Reading Jackson Hewitt Hit with “No Poaching” Clause Lawsuit

Question: Can an employer legally withdraw a prospective employee’s job offer before that particular individual actually begins working at the company?

It happens more frequently than one might think, but under a variety of different circumstances. There are many reasons why a company might rescind an offer of employment, such as: a candidate’s criminal history, failed drug test, or unsatisfactory background check results; negative references; falsification of application materials; budget cuts; cancelled or postponed projects or contracts with customers; installment of a new executive; an eleventh-hour, about-face decision change by the hiring manager; belated realization of previously unnoticed or overlooked evaluation-altering information about the candidate; unfavorable post-offer experience or interactions with the candidate; and many others.


Continue Reading Can an Employer Legally Withdraw a Job Offer After It’s Been Made?

A New Jersey state jury hit Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp with nearly $1.5 million in net damages over a former company executive’s claims that she was fired in retaliation for whistleblowing. The jury in turn rejected the pharma company’s stance that the employee had been properly terminated for violating company policies.

In a 7-1 votes, the jury awarded $1,816,040 to Min Amy Guo in her whistleblower suit, in which she alleged that she was fired from Novartis for raising concerns in 2012 that a potential cancer drug study for Afinitor by the pharmaceutical distribution company McKesson Corp was possibly a kickback to McKesson to help sell the medicine.


Continue Reading Novartis Hit with $1.5M Whistleblower Suit, Avoids Punitive Damages

Confidential settlement agreements reached between employers and employees resolving claims of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment may not be so secret anymore.

On March 18, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law Senate Bill 121, which amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-12 (“NJLAD”), by declaring unlawful and unenforceable any provision in any employment contract or settlement agreement concealing, or attempting to conceal, details relating to a claim of discrimination, retaliation, or harassment. Furthermore, and perhaps even more concerning to employers, the amendment prohibits the contractual waiver of any substantive or procedural rights or remedies relating to a claim of discrimination, retaliation or harassment.


Continue Reading New Law Bans Non-Disclosure of Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Settlements