Keeping Up With New Jersey Employment Law Developments

It was a busy January 2020 in Trenton, with the state enacting several new employment laws, with more apparently on the way. This is in addition to the slew of new laws adopted in 2019 impacting New Jersey employers. Here’s a summary of recent employment law developments in New Jersey just one month into 2020, a look at what may be on the way, and a recap of 2019’s changes.

New Jersey to Become First State to Guarantee Severance Payments Due to Mass Layoffs

On January 21, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law Senate Bill 3170, which expands New Jersey’s Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (New Jersey WARN Act) well beyond the requirements of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988. The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 19, 2020, and will make New Jersey the first state to guarantee payment of severance to employees affected by mass layoffs.

New Jersey Resumes Efforts to Amend ABC Test for Independent Contractor Status, Passes Slate of Laws Targeting Misclassification

The New Jersey legislature closed out 2019 by trying to push through a bill that would have substantially amended the state’s “ABC test” for determining independent contractor status, and effectively prohibited New Jersey companies from utilizing independent contractor workforces. On January 14, 2020, the state senate introduced S863, which presents many of the same problems for New Jersey businesses that its predecessors did.

New Year, New Minimum Rates: State-by-State Minimum Wage Updates for 2020

In 2020, a number of states’ minimum wage rates will increase. The following chart lists the states’ (and certain major localities’) minimum wage increases for 2020—and future years if available—along with the related changes in the maximum tip credit and minimum cash wage for tipped employees. The federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per

Second Circuit Stamps Out Approval Requirement for FLSA Claims Settled Via Rule 68 Offers of Judgment

On December 6, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held in Yu v. Hasaki Restaurant, Inc., No. 17-3388, that judicial approval is not required to settle Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims via a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68(a) offer of judgment.

Employers Beware: New Jersey Enacts One of the Toughest “Wage Theft” Laws in the Country

On August 6, 2019, Acting Governor Sheila Oliver signed the New Jersey Wage Theft Act (WTA) into law. The law has been touted by proponents as the toughest wage theft statute in the country. Notwithstanding its name, the WTA goes far beyond attempting to prevent and punish intentional “wage theft” by significantly expanding the liability even the best-intentioned employers will face for state wage law violations.

Third Circuit Rules That FAAAA Does Not Preempt New Jersey’s ABC Test for Determining Independent Contractor Status

On January 29, 2019, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) does not preempt New Jersey’s ABC test for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee.

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law, Part III

The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law (PSLL) goes into effect on October 29, 2018. We have received hundreds of questions in the last few weeks from employers seeking guidance on what they must do to comply with the law in advance of its looming effective date. This is part three in a three-part series answering some of these frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law, Part II

The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law (PSLL) goes into effect on October 29, 2018. We have received hundreds of questions in the last few weeks from employers seeking guidance on what they must do to comply with the law in advance of its looming effective date. This is part two in a three-part series answering some of these frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law, Part I

The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law (PSLL) goes into effect on October 29, 2018. We have received hundreds of questions in the last few weeks from employers seeking guidance on what they must do to comply with the law in advance of its looming effective date. This is part one in a three-part series answering some of these frequently asked questions.

Reexamining Reasonableness: What Employers Should Know About the Third Circuit’s Take on the Faragher-Ellerth Defense

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in Minarsky v. Susquehanna County, No. 17-2646 (July 3, 2018). The decision, which vacated the entry of summary judgment in favor of an employer that had asserted the Faragher-Ellerth defense to a sexual harassment claim based upon a hostile work environment, provides some important lessons for employers.

New Jersey 2018 Legislative Update: 11 Bills That Employers Should Watch

On January 16, 2018, Democratic candidate Phil Murphy was sworn in as the 56th governor of the State of New Jersey, replacing Republican former governor Chris Christie. As reflected in the Report of the Labor and Workforce Development Transition Advisory Committee, Governor Murphy’s administration is poised to advance legislation that will have a significant impact on employers doing business in New Jersey.

New Jersey Enacts Expansive Equal Pay Law

On April 24, 2018, newly-elected Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, which amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) by significantly expanding existing pay equity protections for New Jersey employees, imposing difficult defense burdens on New Jersey employers, and creating a six-year statute of limitations for pay equity claims under the NJLAD.

New Year, New Pay: A State-by-State Roundup of Minimum Wage Increases for 2018

In 2018, the federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees. The following table summarizes the statewide minimum wage increases that have been announced for 2018, along with the related changes to the maximum tip credit permitted and minimum cash wage allowed for tipped employees.

New Jersey Bill Seeks to Significantly Restrict the Use and Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements

On November 9, 2017, the New Jersey Senate introduced Senate Bill 3518, which would drastically limit an employer’s ability to enter into, and subsequently enforce, restrictive covenants (or “non-compete” agreements) with employees. The bill would also impose certain notice and monetary obligations on employers that seek to enforce restrictive covenants against their former employees.

Ninety Seconds Is Not Enough: Third Circuit Rules That Break Policy Violates the FLSA

In Secretary United States Department of Labor v. American Future Systems, Inc., No. 16-2685 (October 13, 2017), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether an employer’s failure to compensate employees for periods of 20 minutes or less time when they were relieved of all work-related duties violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

New Jersey Court Invalidates Regulation Defining ‘Simple Misconduct’ Under Unemployment Law

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, recently invalidated a regulation of the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Act (UCA) that attempted to define, for the first time in codified form, the concept of “simple misconduct” by an employee that can limit his or her eligibility for unemployment benefits under the UCA.