On January 19, 2017, and on February 13, 2017, two bills (A4515 and S3014) were introduced in the New Jersey Legislature that would amend the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to specifically prohibit employers from discriminating between employees on the basis of sex by paying “a rate of compensation, including benefits, which is less than the rate paid to employees of the other sex for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility.” The bills do provide, however, that an employer may pay its employees a different rate of compensation or provide “less favorable employment opportunities” if (1) the employer can establish that the decision to do so is based on a seniority or merit system that does not discriminate on the basis of sex, or (2) if it is based on other legitimate, bona fide factors other than sex such as training, education, experience, or the quantity or quality of production. The bills also would prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee for disclosing information about rates of compensation, job titles, occupational categories, genders, races, ethnicities, military statuses, or national origins of employees and/or former employees.
OSHA’s COVID-19 National Emphasis Program and Enforcement Response Plan: 10 Q&As for Employers Who May Need to Comply
In what is likely the final predicate for issuing a COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS), on March 12, 2021, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) “targeting specific high-hazard industries or activities” in which there is a “hazard of contracting SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), the cause of COVID-19.” The NEP also “includes an added focus to ensure that workers are protected from retaliation.” The NEP is effective immediately and will remain in force no longer than a year from March 12, 2021.
Beginning September 1, 2019, employers that sponsor cash balance plans and certain merged plans can sleep easier. Revenue Procedure 2019-20, issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on May 1, 2019, opens the IRS’s determination letter program for individually designed “statutory hybrid plans” and certain “merged plans.” Plan sponsors will recall that beginning January 1, 2017, the IRS’s determination letter program for individually designed plans was significantly curtailed by Revenue Procedure 2016-37. Revenue Procedure 2016-37 provided that plan sponsors of individually designed plans could seek a determination letter from the IRS only for initial plan qualification, plan terminations, or other circumstances to be provided by the IRS at a later time.
On September 8, 2011, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its inaugural written enforcement directive for in-cidents of workplace violence. The directive will be used by district supervisors and area directors in evaluating whether to conduct an investigation into allegations of workplace violence. Moreover, the directive lists inspection procedures to be followed by compliance officers while conducting inspections as well as potential methods of abatement available to employers.