Employment Law Alert

Employment Law Alert

News and Updates on Employment Law

Category Archives: Policies/Handbooks

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New Jersey Appellate Division Requires Arbitration Provisions to Include Specific Waiver of Right to Sue in Court

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
Two recent New Jersey Appellate Division decisions have serious implications for employers utilizing or contemplating arbitration provisions. In both decisions – Kelly v. Beverage Works NY Inc., decided on November 26, 2014, and Dispenziere v. Kushner Cos., decided on November 21, 2014 – the Appellate Division relied on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s September decision in Atalese v. U.S. Legal Services Group, which held that an arbitration provision was unenforceable because it lacked “clear and unambiguous language” that the party signing the agreement is waiving its right to sue in court.… Continue Reading

New Jersey Appellate Division Decision Stresses Importance of Meaningful Anti-Harassment Policy and Training

Posted in Discrimination, Policies/Handbooks
An effective anti-harassment policy has long been recognized as a key component to an employer’s avoidance of liability for allegations of sexual, racial, or other harassment under New Jersey law. The New Jersey Appellate Division in Dunkley v. S. Coraluzzo Petroleum Transporters recently reinforced this fact, and the decision provides a helpful reminder to employers that adopting clear anti-harassment policies, providing regular training to its workforce, and immediately addressing allegations of harassment/discrimination once presented, are important factors that may help them avoid liability for the conduct of employees who violate such policies.… Continue Reading

NJ Adopts “Ban the Box” Prohibiting Inquiries into Criminal History During Initial Employment Application Process

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
On August 11, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law “The Opportunity to Compete Act” – more commonly referred to as “ban the box” – which prohibits employers from inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process. The law will take effect on January 1, 2015 and preempts any local laws (such as Newark’s 2012 ordinance) addressing the same subject.… Continue Reading

Susan Nardone to Serve as Panelist at Upcoming NJBIA Employment Seminar

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
Every day, employers are required to understand and navigate the often tricky employment laws that apply to their workplaces. The topic generating the most attention of late is workplace bullying - from proposed legislation that would provide a remedy to the bullied employee to policies that employers can put in place to address workplace bullying. While no state has passed bullying legislation, most agree that it is only a matter of time.… Continue Reading

Arbitration Agreement Nullified by Employee Handbook Disclaimer According to NJ District Court

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
Employers often use arbitration programs with employees to elect a forum that eliminates jury trials and class actions. A New Jersey District Court recently found that the employer’s handbook containing a provision which, gives the employer the exclusive ability to change the provisions of the handbook without notice to employees, invalidated an employee’s arbitration agreement. … Continue Reading

NJLAD Amended to Target Potential Pay Discrimination

Posted in Discrimination, Policies/Handbooks
On August 28, 2013, New Jersey Governor Christie signed Assembly Bill No. 2648, amending the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD") to prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who disclose to or request information from other employees or former employees regarding job title, occupational category, pay (including benefits), gender, race, ethnicity, military status and national origin for the purpose of investigating or taking legal action against potential pay discrimination. The amendment, effective immediately, does not require employees or former employees to divulge this information.… Continue Reading

Governor Christie Signs Legislation Protecting Social Networking Accounts of Employees

Posted in Policies/Handbooks, Privacy
On August 29, 2013, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that prohibits most employers from requiring employees or prospective employees to disclose user names and passwords for social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The new law, which goes into effect December 1, 2013, makes New Jersey the 13th state to enact legislation protecting the social networking accounts of employees. The Gibbons Employment Law Alert previously covered the proposed bill before it became law.… Continue Reading

New Jersey Employers Required to Provide Domestic Violence Leave

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
On July 17, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act (NJ SAFE Act). Effective October 1, 2013, the law requires private and public employers with at least 25 employees to provide unpaid leave to any employee who was a victim of domestic violence or whose child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner was a victim of domestic violence.… Continue Reading

New Form I-9 To Go Into Effect On May 7, 2013

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released an updated Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. Beginning May 7, 2013, the new Form I-9 must be used for all new hires, including reverification or rehires. The new Form I-9 denotes a revision date of March 8, 2013 in the lower left hand corner of the form and is available on the USCIS's website. Employers are not required to complete the new Form I-9 for current employees if they have maintained properly-completed unexpired forms on file for those employees.… Continue Reading

Federal Government Taking More Steps to Protect Trade Secrets

Posted in Employment Agreements, Policies/Handbooks, Privacy, Restrictive Covenants
The federal government continues to take aim at those who violate trade secrets rights. On December 28, 2012, the Theft of Trade Secrets Clarification Act of 2012 (S. 3642) became law, expanding the definition of trade secrets under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA). In addition, as previously reported in a Gibbons IP Law Alert blog, the President is expected to sign legislation recently passed by Congress that triples the damages for a violation of trade secrets protection laws and provides technical changes to patent applications and protections. Also worthy of note is an 82-page report from the U.S. Department of Justice issued last month detailing federal enforcement efforts concerning trade secrets theft.… Continue Reading

Complying with the EEOC’s and New York’s Criminal Background Check Laws

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
As previously reported, in April 2012 the Equal Employment Opportunity Community (EEOC) issued its Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, updating and clarifying its prior guidance on the subject. Compliance with state and local laws on the subject can present a challenge for employers. Mitchell Boyarsky and Peter J. Dugan of the Gibbons Employment & Labor Law Department discuss these challenges in a recent article published in the New York Law Journal.… Continue Reading

How Employers Can Combat the Flu

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
Flu season is here. Even when pandemic levels of the influenza virus are not expected, the flu nevertheless impacts businesses whose employees become ill and/or need to take time off for flu-related reasons. With limited restrictions, employers are permitted to adopt policies and practices to encourage flu prevention, to control workplace flu outbreaks and to maintain optimal efficiency during flu season, provided that their practices are applied consistently, non-discriminatorily and in keeping with published employment policies and handbooks.… Continue Reading

NLRB’s Third Social Media Report Includes Model Social Media Policy

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
On May 30, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board's Acting General Counsel issued a third report on social media cases. This report follows the Board's August 2011 and January 2012 reports on the subject, which we previously discussed. The guidance contained in the three social media reports is applicable to most private sector employers, unionized or not.… Continue Reading

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Continues to be “Employer Friendly”

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA") is a federal law that, in part, makes it a crime to access a computer in an unauthorized manner. In the employment context, the statute has proven valuable in protecting confidential and proprietary information that employees can access on their employers' electronic systems. Recent decisions by the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and Third Circuits emphasize the breadth of the CFAA's application to the workplace.… Continue Reading

What Employers Can Do About the Flu

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
Flu season is here. While pandemic levels of the influenza virus are not predicted for the 2011-2012 flu season, the virus nevertheless impacts businesses whose employees become ill and/or need to take time off for flu-related reasons. With limited restrictions, employers are permitted to adopt policies and practices to encourage flu prevention, to control workplace flu outbreaks and to maintain optimal efficiency during flu season, provided that their practices are applied consistently, non-discriminatorily and in keeping with published employment policies and handbooks.… Continue Reading

NJ Department of Labor Issues New Poster Notification for All Employers

Posted in Policies/Handbooks, Wage & Hour
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development ("DOL") recently issued a new notice regarding the maintenance and reporting of employment records. All New Jersey employers must immediately begin providing a copy of the notice upon hire to any employee hired after November 7, 2011. For all pre-existing employees, the notice must be provided by December 7, 2011. Provision of the notice may be provided by hard copy or electronic mail. In addition to these distribution requirements, the notice must immediately be conspicuously posted at each worksite either by displaying it alongside other required workplace postings in a readily visible and accessible location or on an employer-run Internet or intranet site that is used exlusively by employees and to which all employees have access. Failure to comply with the distribution and and posting requirements carries a fine of up to $1,000, in addition to possible criminal penalties.… Continue Reading