Recreational Marijuana Is Legal in New Jersey: What Employers Need to Know

On February 22, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA). Among other things, the 240-page measure legalizes the recreational use of marijuana for adults age 21 and older and—unfortunately for employers—places significant burdens on companies doing business in New Jersey with respect to marijuana and the workplace.

New Jersey Enacts COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Presumption Bill for Essential Workers

On September 14, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill (SB) 2380 into law. SB 2380 creates a rebuttable presumption of workers’ compensation coverage for COVID-19 cases contracted by “essential employees” during a public health emergency declared by an executive order of the governor. The law is effective immediately and retroactive to March 9, 2020.

Employers Beware: COVID-19–Related Employment Lawsuits Are Heating Up

For the last several months, employers have been forced to learn how COVID-19 spreads, how to maintain or resume safe work environments, and how to navigate a complex web of new and existing laws and regulations implicated by the pandemic. Employers have also had to contend with a growing wave of COVID-19–related employment litigation.

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.

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.

New Jersey Ban the Box Update: Ogletree Deakins Submits Comments to New Jersey Department of Labor’s Proposed Regulations

As previously reported, the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) has requested comments on its proposed regulations implementing the Opportunity to Compete Act (also known as the “ban the box” law). On March 30, 2015, Ogletree Deakins submitted detailed comments and questions to the NJDOL. A copy of that letter is available here. A public hearing on the proposed regulations was held on April 7, 2015, and the final regulations are expected to be issued this spring.

New Jersey Veterans May Soon Be Entitled to Preferential Hiring in Non-Civil Service Jurisdictions

On December 3, 2015, Senate Bill 2145 was approved, 62-0, by the New Jersey Assembly. (The bill had already been passed by the New Jersey Senate in May.) If signed into law, the bill would authorize counties and municipalities whose hiring preferences are not subject to civil service hiring rules to give veterans preferential treatment

Expanded Protections Proposed for Breastfeeding Employees in New Jersey

On November 16, 2015, a bill was introduced to extend the protections of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to breastfeeding mothers. If enacted, New Jersey Assembly Bill 4696 would require New Jersey employers to provide a reasonable accommodation for breastfeeding mothers, including reasonable break time each day and a suitable room or other location with privacy (other than a toilet stall), in close proximity to the work area, for the employee to express breast milk.

Bill Proposed to Restrict New Jersey Employers’ Ability to Obtain Salary and Benefits Information from Prior Employers

On November 16, 2015, a bill was introduced that would prohibit employers from seeking, obtaining, or requiring current or prospective employees to provide information about their compensation and benefits history at their prior employer. 

New Jersey Annual Notice Reminders With Deadlines Fast Approaching

New Jersey employers should be aware of two impending annual notice requirements. First, employers must distribute to each employee working in New Jersey a written copy of the Gender Equity Notice on or before December 31 each year and must obtain a signed acknowledgement from each employee in writing or by means of electronic verification.

Elizabeth Becomes the Tenth New Jersey City to Require Paid Sick Leave

On November 3, 2015, voters in the City of Elizabeth approved a paid sick leave ordinance, making it the tenth municipality in the State of New Jersey to require paid sick leave. The ordinance, which goes into effect on March 2, 2016 (120 days after voter approval) is nearly identical to sick leave ordinances already passed in the cities of Passaic, East Orange, Paterson, Irvington, Montclair, Trenton, and Bloomfield. Each of these ordinances closely tracks, but is not identical to Newark’s paid sick leave ordinance, while Jersey City’s sick leave ordinance does not track Newark’s ordinance.

Jersey City Expands Paid Sick Leave Ordinance to Small Businesses, Increases Penalties for Noncompliance

On October 30, 2015, the Jersey City mayor approved a change to the city’s existing paid sick leave law (Ordinance 15.145), purportedly to bring the sick leave ordinance more in line with those of other New Jersey cities that have since passed their own paid sick leave ordinances. One major change is that the law will require employers with fewer than 10 employees to allow workers to accrue up to 24 hours of paid sick time and up to 16 hours of additional unpaid sick time annually—except for healthcare workers, food service workers, and child care workers who care for small children, all of whom are entitled to up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year. Prior to the change, such small businesses were only required to provide employees with the ability to accrue up to 40 hours of unpaid time off.

New Jersey Advances Bill to Ban Most Employee Credit Checks

On December 14, 2015, the New Jersey Assembly Labor Committee released another bill—A2298—seeking to prohibit most credit checks on employees. Essentially the same as prior bills that failed in the New Jersey legislature (including those we reported on in 2010 and in 2012), A2298 would prohibit employers from obtaining a credit report, or requiring an employee or prospective employee to consent to provide a credit report unless (a) the employer was required by law to obtain one, or (b) the employer reasonably believed that the employee had engaged in a specific activity that was financial in nature and constituted a violation of law.

New Jersey Arbitration Agreement Declared Invalid Without Express Waiver of Employee’s “Right to a Trial”

Many employers have turned to mandatory employment arbitration agreements as a way to control the cost, duration, and publicity of employment litigation. New Jersey courts will enforce properly drafted agreements that require employees to arbitrate their employment-related claims, including statutory discrimination and retaliation claims.

New Jersey Ban the Box Reminder

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).”

New Jersey Governor Christie Signs Ban the Box Law

On August 11, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law “The Opportunity to Compete Act”—also referred to as the “ban the box” law—adding New Jersey to the growing list of states where employers are prohibited from asking criminal conviction questions on initial employment applications. This law is much more limited than prior similar bills introduced in New Jersey and, while restricting employers’ ability to inquire about criminal history information, does not impose the more onerous requirements found in other states’ laws.

New Jersey Gender Equity Notice Now Available—Employer Obligations Start January 6, 2014

The New Jersey Department of Labor has just made available the gender equity notice that must be posted and distributed to New Jersey employees pursuant to P.L. 2012, c. 57, which was signed into law in September of last year. Beginning on January 6, 2014 (the date that the notice will be published in the New Jersey Register), New Jersey employers with 50 or more employees (whether or not all 50 employees work inside or outside the state of New Jersey) must take the following steps:

New Jersey Assembly Introduces Bill to Invalidate Restrictive Covenants and Non-Disclosure Agreements for Employees Eligible for Unemployment

The New Jersey Assembly recently introduced a bill (A3970) which if enacted, would eviscerate New Jersey employers’ abilities to enforce reasonable noncompetition agreements, nonsolicitation agreements, and non-disclosure agreements in many circumstances. Under the tersely-worded bill, any unemployed individual found to be eligible to receive unemployment benefits pursuant to the unemployment compensation law “shall not be bound by any covenant, contract, or agreement, entered into with the individual’s most recent employer, not to compete, not to disclose, or not to solicit.”