Effective November 5, 2020, New Jersey public and private sector employers will have a new set of health and safety mandates to follow if they plan to allow or require employees to perform services at a New Jersey worksite. Although many of the requirements have most likely already been adopted as best practices, failure to adhere to the requirements will now carry fines and penalties for non-compliance including, but not limited to, business closure. An employee complaint system will be implemented for violation reporting. Accordingly, all employers should be mindful of the requirements and ensure immediate implementation.

Continue Reading New Requirements for New Jersey Employers as COVID-19 Numbers Continue to Rise

On May 28, 2020, Governor Murphy signed legislation to fix the deadline to file property tax appeals for the 2020 year to July 1. The regular tax appeal deadline was April 1 (or May 1 for municipalities undergoing a reassessment or revaluation.) The Supreme Court previously extended the deadline due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, but the final deadline was not fixed by the Court. The new law now establishes July 1 as the firm deadline. The law also extends the time frame to September 30, 2020 for the county boards of taxation to decide appeals.

Continue Reading New Jersey Property Tax Appeal Filing Deadline Extended to July 1, 2020

In a recent opinion, the Third Circuit ruled that an arbitrator, not a state or federal judge, should decide claims raised by workers alleging that they were mischaracterized as “independent contractors” in violation of the New Jersey Wage Payment Law (“WPL”), N.J.S.A. § 34:11-4.1 et seq.

Continue Reading Third Circuit Rules Class Action Wage Claim Should be Arbitrated Under Franchise Agreement

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

A former Cinnabon employee in Washington can now move forward with a proposed antitrust class action suit over the company’s allegedly anticompetitive “no-poaching” agreements. These agreements are alleged to prevent franchises from hiring away workers from other Cinnabon franchises, thereby eliminating wage competition.

Continue Reading Cinnabon ‘No-Poach’ Lawsuit Moves Forward

The U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers announced last week that they have prepared a bill that would establish that a business simply licensing a trademark, such as in the case of a license from a franchisor to a franchisee, would not create a so-called “joint employer” relationship.

Joint employment is the sharing of control and supervision of an employee’s activity among two or more businesses. This new bill, called the Trademark Licensing Protection Act of 2018, declares that if a company is licensed to use a trademark, this should not be enough to establish “an employment or principal agent relationship” between the two licensing entities.


Continue Reading House Lawmakers Unveil New Joint Employer Bill

Eight national restaurant chains have agreed to drop provisions in their franchise agreements that prohibit franchisees from hiring fellow franchisees’ employees. The removal of the “no-poach” hiring stipulation will be effective at all of their locations nationwide.

This move comes at the heels of announcements from Attorneys General from 10 states and the District of Columbia to investigate these “no-poaching” agreements. In addition to criminal and civil enforcement by both the state and federal governments, several franchisors are also facing federal class action lawsuits from employees alleging they were adversely affected by “no-poach” agreements.


Continue Reading Franchisors Face Class Action Lawsuits & Government Enforcement over “No-Poach” Agreements

With the recent news out of Washington that the Department of Labor has withdrawn Administrator’s Interpretation 2016-1 (its previous informal guidance on joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)), and with the National Labor Relations Board pulling back the broad joint employer standard set in the 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. case, many are under the impression that the joint employer storm has passed.

While these are certainly welcome developments, franchisors should be careful not to dismiss the threat of joint employer liability too quickly. This is particularly true if you have outlets located in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and/or West Virginia.


Continue Reading Joint Employer: Still a Potential Threat