On March 29, 2011, Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill (A3359) designed to protect the employment prospects of unemployed individuals. The law, which went into effect immediately, prohibits employers from “knowingly or purposefully” publishing, in print or on the Internet, an advertisement for any job vacancy in New Jersey that contains: 1) any provision stating or suggesting that the qualifications for a job include current employment; 2) any provision stating or suggesting that the employer will not consider or review an application for employment submitted by any job applicant currently unemployed; or 3) any provision stating or suggesting that the employer will only consider or review applications for employment submitted by job applicants who are currently employed. The law does not apply to advertisements requiring that candidates hold current or valid licenses or certifications or hold a current job with that employer. Penalties include $1,000 for a first violation and will increase with subsequent violations. This law does not create a private cause of action for individuals against potential employers.
On April 27, with Justice Samuel Alito writing for the 5-3 majority (Justice Sonia Sotomayor abstained), the U.S. Supreme Court addressed class-action arbitration when the parties’ agreement was silent regarding the aggregation of multiple parties’ claims. According to the Court, the arbitration panel’s imposition of class arbitration – despite the parties’ stipulation that they had not reached an agreement on this issue – is “fundamentally at war” with the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) principle that arbitration is a matter of consent.
Court Rejects Age and Gender Bias Claims A federal appellate court recently found that an employee who was fired for insubordination was not meeting an employer’s legitimate business expectations after she engaged in arguments with her co-workers, the general manager, and the owner of the business. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals further found that
Punitive Damages Not Appropriate in Negligent Hiring/Retention Case Where Employer Had No Reason to Believe Employee Was a Danger to Customers
In this case, the Court affirmed a jury’s decision not to award punitive damages against the employer, where the employee attacked a patron with a 10-inch knife following an argument, after which his co-workers retrieved and tried to dispose of the knife. Plaintiff, the victim of the attack, claimed the employer should be punished for ignoring the employee’s “FEAR ME” tattoo, which violated company policy; for refusing to make him remove it promptly; and for hiring him without references and without obtaining a social security number.