Employment Law Alert

Employment Law Alert

News and Updates on Employment Law

Category Archives: Policies/Handbooks

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Court Compels Arbitration of Lawsuit Filed by Employees Discharged After Discovery of Personal Text Messages About a Coworker on a Company-Issued iPad

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
A recent decision from the District of New Jersey granting a motion to compel arbitration not only reinforces the strong federal policy in favor of arbitration, but also highlights issues pertaining to company-issued devices and employees’ personal use of these devices.… Continue Reading

EEOC to Release Respondent Position Statement to Charging Party Upon Request

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued new, nationwide procedures allowing a Charging Party or his/her representative to request copies of Respondent employer’s position statement and non-confidential attachments during the investigation of his/her charge of discrimination. The new procedures apply to all position statements submitted after January 1, 2016. Employers must be cognizant of this new rule and strategically craft positions statements with an eye towards disclosure. Specifically, employers need to carefully separate confidential information into separately labeled attachments to avoid inadvertent disclosure to the Charging Party.… Continue Reading

Plainfield Becomes 12th New Jersey Municipality to Approve Paid Sick Leave

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
On March 14, 2016, Plainfield became the 12th New Jersey municipality to approve paid sick leave. The Plainfield ordinance, which will take effect on July 14, 2016, requires that, with certain exceptions, employees working in Plainfield for at least 80 hours per year accrue at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employers with ten or more paid employees must provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year, and employers with less than ten paid employees must provide sick time up to 24 hours, except for employees who are child care workers, home health care workers and food service workers who are entitled to up to 40 hours of paid sick time. Employees begin to accrue sick time on the first day of their employment and are entitled to begin using their accrued time on the 100th calendar day of their employment. Additionally, employees are permitted to carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to the next calendar year, but employers are not required to carry over more than 40 hours. … Continue Reading

Ban the Box Law Amendments Are Now Effective in Philadelphia

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
On March 14, 2016, the amendments to Philadelphia’s “ban the box" law went into effect. The amendments to the city’s Fair Criminal Record Screenings Standards Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), signed into law by Philadelphia’s then Mayor, Michael Nutter, on December 15, 2015, create additional restrictions under the Ordinance on how and when an employer may consider a prospective employee’s criminal background during the application process (beginning when an applicant makes an employment inquiry and ending when the employer has extended a conditional offer of employment).… Continue Reading

The Walls Have Ears: NLRB Invalidates Employer’s Prohibition on Recording in the Workplace

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
Whole Foods Markets received the proverbial ugly holiday sweater in the form of a December 24, 2015, 2-1 decision by the National Labor Relations Board that declared its policy prohibiting recording in the workplace unlawful. The decision in the cases Whole Foods Markets, Inc. and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 919 and Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, focused on two rules contained in Whole Foods’ General Information Guide. The first prohibited the recording of meetings, with the laudable, express goals of encouraging “open communication, free expression of ideas, spontaneous and honest dialogue and an atmosphere of trust.” The only exceptions were when the recording was approved by management or all parties to the conversation consented. The second rule also prohibited the use of a recording device in order to “eliminate a chilling effect on the expression of views that may exist when one person is concerned that his or her conversation with another is being secretly recorded.” Seems fair, right? Not according to the NLRB.… Continue Reading

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