New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission Releases Interim Drug Testing Guidance

On September 9, 2022, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) issued long-awaited interim guidance to employers regarding the use of a Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert (WIRE) to “detect[] and identify[] an employee’s usage of, or impairment from, a cannabis item or other intoxicating substance.” In addition, the NJ-CRC also released a template “Reasonable Suspicion Observed Behavior Report” form that employers may, but are not required to, use in connection with workplace drug testing.

New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s Rules and Regulations for CREAMMA Are Here: What Employers Need to Know

As we previously reported, on February 22, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA), which, among other things, legalized the recreational use of marijuana in New Jersey for adults age 21 and older. In addition, CREAMMA imposed on employers certain obligations with respect to marijuana and the workplace, including certain antidiscrimination and drug testing provisions.

New Brunswick New Jersey’s Paid Sick & Safe Leave Law Goes Into Effect

On December 17, 2015, the City of New Brunswick passed its own paid sick leave ordinance, making it the eleventh municipality in the State of New Jersey to require paid sick leave. The ordinance becomes effective on January 6, 2016, but employees must wait until May 5, 2016 (or 120 days after they started work, if hired after January 6) to start using their accrued paid leave.

New Jersey Appellate Court Rules Arbitration Agreement in Employee Handbook Unenforceable

In C.M. v. Maiden Re Insurance Services, LLC, No. L-3622-13 (App. Div. Sept. 18, 2015), the New Jersey Appellate Division held that an employee was not compelled to arbitrate her employment discrimination claims, notwithstanding her confirmed receipt of a handbook containing an arbitration agreement. Electronic confirmation that the employee received the handbook was not enough to constitute a knowing waiver of her constitutional rights to have her claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) decided by a jury.

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.

Disagreement Between State Senate and Assembly Stalls Paid Sick Leave Bill

On June 22, 2015, the New Jersey Senate Labor Committee approved S785, a bill that would provide mandatory paid sick leave to all New Jersey employees. The bill is similar to A2354, passed by the Assembly Budget Committee, in that it would require employers to provide either 40 or 72 hours of paid sick leave to employees, depending on the size of the employer. The proposed laws would allow employees to accrue such leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, and permit employees to use the leave for their own medical illness, preventive doctor appointments, or illness or appointments for family members (among other reasons). The bills would also implement additional notice and posting requirements for all New Jersey employers.

New Jersey Bill Seeks to Guarantee Job Protections to Organ and Bone Marrow Donors

A bill (A4360), which was introduced on May 8, 2015, seeks to amend the Temporary Disability Benefits Law (TDBL) (N.J.S.A. 43:21-25 et seq.) to require that individuals disabled in connection with donating organs or bone marrow be restored to their original position of employment when the period of disability ends, or to an equivalent position

New Jersey Division on Civil Rights Workplace Posting Update

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) quietly issued another round of updated mandatory posters (with a revision date of 5/8/2015), which are now available on its website. The revised posters (English and Spanish versions of the agency’s Discrimination in Employment, Public Accommodation, Family Leave Act, and Housing posters) contain new contact information reflecting

New Jersey Superior Court Has Concurrent Jurisdiction to Decide Employment Status Under Workers’ Compensation Act, New Jersey Supreme Court Holds

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently held that the Superior Court of New Jersey has concurrent jurisdiction with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation to adjudicate a worker’s employment status for purposes of assessing the applicability of the exclusive remedy provision of New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Act.

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds Just Doing Your Job May Be Whistleblowing

On July 15, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the protections of the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) extend to so-called “watchdog” employees—those employees whose regular job duties involve monitoring compliance. In Lippman v. Ethicon (A-65/66-13, July 15, 2015), the court rejected the defendants’ argument that watchdog employees must be acting outside of

New Jersey Family-School Partnership Act Seeks to Provide Leave for Involvement in School Activities

Another bill (S2935) proposed by New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg on May 19, 2015, would require employers with at least 25 employees to permit their employees to take up to 40 hours of leave to participate in school activities or childcare events for their children, such as sporting events, parent-teacher conferences, and other

Senate Majority Leader Introduces Bill That Would Dramatically Curtail New Jersey Employers’ Ability to Alter Work Schedules

On May 19, 2015, New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg introduced a bill (S2933) as part of a package of legislation seeking to dramatically regulate the scheduling and compensation of employees in New Jersey. The bill, entitled the “New Jersey Schedules That Work Act,” would require employers to engage in a “timely, good faith interactive process” whenever they receive a request for a schedule change from an employee.

Update on Local Paid Sick Leave Ordinances

In the recently decided matter of New Jersey Business and Industry Association, et al v. City of Trenton (L-467-15, April 16, 2015), the court held that Trenton’s paid sick leave ordinance applies only to employers based in Trenton, and not to employers “whose employees have to come to Trenton for . . . more than 80 hours.” Counsel for the City of Paterson also appeared on the record in that matter and stated that the Paterson ordinance likewise should only apply to businesses located in Paterson.

Third Circuit Applies Strict Interpretation of FMLA’s Inpatient Care Regulation, Requiring Overnight Stay

In Bonkowski v. Oberg Industries, Inc., (3d Cir. May 22, 2015), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employee who was admitted to the hospital moments after midnight, and who was discharged more than 14 hours later, was not entitled to protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) because he did not meet the “overnight stay” requirement in the FMLA regulations. The court noted that the pre-midnight time spent by the employee in the hospital’s waiting room prior to his admission did not count toward the overnight stay requirement.

Whistleblower Must Identify the Law, Rule, or Regulation Violated by the Employer Prior to the Summary Judgment Stage, District Court of New Jersey Holds

The U.S. District Court of New Jersey recently reaffirmed that under New Jersey’s whistleblower law, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), a plaintiff asserting that her employer’s conduct is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy concerning the public health must identify the applicable law, rule, or regulation prior to summary judgment.

Third Circuit Finds Motor Carrier Exemption to Overtime Inapplicable to Truck Driver Under the “Small Vehicle Exception”

On March 11, 2015, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that the motor carrier exemption to the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) did not apply to a truck driver who operated vehicles lighter than 10,000 pounds, even though she spent more than half her time operating vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more.

Third Circuit Holds Option to Convert Terminated Employees into Independent Contractors Sufficient Consideration to Support Release

In connection with a wholesale reclassification of certain sales agents from employees to independent contractors, Allstate Insurance Company terminated the employees and offered them the opportunity to work as independent contractors in exchange for the execution of a release of all claims arising prior to the conversion. On February 13, 2015, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that Allstate’s offer to permit terminated employees to convert to independent contractors was sufficient consideration to support the employees’ corollary release of discrimination claims.

“Uber Bill” to Regulate Ride-Sharing Services Companies Advances in State Assembly

A bill to regulate ride-sharing service companies (known as “transportation network companies”), such as Uber and Lyft, is making its way through the state legislature (A3765/S2742). Earlier versions of the bill clearly stated that drivers providing services on behalf of such transportation network companies would not be considered employees, consistent with the position of the companies that drivers are independent contractors.