On November 6, 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court granted certification in Aguas v. State of New Jersey, 2013 WL 1136115 (App. Div. Mar. 20, 2013), a pro-employer ruling on the issue of employer liability for sexual harassment by supervisors. In Aguas, the Appellate Division affirmed summary judgment for the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) on the plaintiff’s claims for sexual harassment and hostile work environment created by her supervisors because the DOC had demonstrated due care in adopting and implementing an effective anti-sexual harassment policy, and because it conducted an investigation within a reasonable time period following plaintiff’s complaints. Accordingly, the court held that plaintiff could not demonstrate that the DOC negligently administered its anti-sexual harassment policy or aided the harassment through the authority it delegated to the offending supervisors. The Supreme Court’s opinion on review could have a significant impact on the steps employers should take to prevent and respond to sexual harassment claims involving supervisors.
New Jersey employers should start preparing for the state’s “ban the box” bill, formally known as the “Opportunity to Compete Act,” which goes into effect on March 1, 2015. For our answers to frequently asked questions about this new law, see our blog post, “FAQs About the New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act (aka New Jersey’s “Ban the Box” Law).”
Many years ago, I learned the “EAR” listening method. It’s simple and effective, and it has since served my clients and me well.
As the New Year is upon us, we remind New Jersey employers with 10 or more employees of their obligation to annually distribute to their New Jersey employees, via written or electronic means, the required notice under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) in both English and Spanish. The notice must be completed with the appropriate contact information prior to distribution to employees and posting in the workplace.