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A Second Chance: NJ Employer Escapes Liability Where It Rectifies Discriminatory Conduct
On May 17, 2023, in Schoenberg v. The Devereux Foundation, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed summary judgment for an employer, on a complaint filed by a former employee alleging gender and pregnancy discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). The Court found that even where the employer had discriminated against the employee by revoking a job offer when it learned the employee was pregnant, the employer had rectified the situation and made the employee “whole” by reinstating the offer. The Court concluded that the employee unreasonably rejected the offer.
New York State Department of Labor Updates its Mandatory Sexual Harassment Policy Requirements
As New York State employers are well aware, effective October 9, 2018, New York State Labor Law Section 201-g requires that employers adopt a sexual harassment policy and provide annual employee sexual harassment training. Employers may adopt the State’s Sexual Harassment Model Policy or establish their policy so long as it meets the State’s minimum standards for compliance, which can be found here . Alternatively, employers may utilize the State’s model sexual harassment training for annual compliance.
NJ District Court Awards Rule 11 Sanctions in Favor of Employer for Frivolous Suit
On March 31, 2023, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, in the matter of Desire v. Dreamwear Inc., imposed Rule 11 sanctions in favor of an employer based on the filing of a frivolous Second Amended Complaint. This case serves as an important reminder that filing frivolous claims will not be tolerated by the court and when warranted, employers should move for sanctions.
Dina Mastellone To Present For Labor & Employment Law Panel At The New Jersey State Bar Association's 2023 Annual Meeting & Convention
Firm Partner, Employment Law & Litigation and Human Resources, Counseling & Compliance specialist Dina M. Mastellone will present at the New Jersey State Bar Association's 2023 Annual Meeting & Convention in Atlantic City, NJ on May 18th.
No Signature, No Settlement: NJ Appellate Division Reiterates Settlements Reached at Mediation Absent a Signed Agreement Are Unenforceable
On March 28, 2023, in a published decision in Gold Tree Spa, Inc, v. PD Nail Corp., the New Jersey Appellate Division extended the New Jersey Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Willingboro Mall, Ltd. v. 240/242 Franklin Ave., LLC and confirmed that settlements reached at mediation are unenforceable when the parties do not sign a term sheet before mediation comes to a close, irrespective of whether mediation is voluntary or court-ordered. Although the Gold Tree case involved a commercial dispute, the decision contains important lessons for employers and employment law practitioners.
NJ Appellate Division Rules No Age or Disability Bias in Termination of 60-Year-Old Employee
On March 29, 2023, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed an employer’s win after a former employee claimed he was fired on the basis of his age and disability. In Estate of Zoto v. Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless, Inc., the Appellate Division ruled that where an employee offers no evidence of age discrimination and fails to submit any documentation of a medical disability to his employer, there is no violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).
To Click or Not to Click: NJ Appellate Division Reaffirms Enforceability of Electronic Arbitration Agreements
On March 7, 2023, in Dakota Powell vs. Prime Comms Retail LLC, the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that a former employee must arbitrate her claims of race discrimination, rather than pursue them in court due to her electronic acknowledgement of a Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate upon hiring. The decision in Powell further confirms the growing acceptance of arbitration agreements by the New Jersey courts in New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) cases.
Practical Considerations On The Speak Out Act
The Federal Speak Out Act Limits Confidentiality Over Resolved Claims Against Employers For Sexual Harassment And Assault. Here Are Some Practical Pointers For New Jersey Employers.
Combating Human Trafficking: New York Enacts Posting Requirements & Recognition Training for Hospitality & Transportation Employees
On July 20, 2022, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed eight pieces of legislation into law aimed to provide support and resources to victims of human trafficking. These laws impose new training requirements for employees in the hospitality and transportation industries, in addition to requiring crucial information be posted in the restrooms of human trafficking hotspots like airports, bus terminals and truck stops.
Dina Mastellone and Brigette Eagan to Present "Employment Law & HR Outlook For 2023" Webinar for New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers
Firm Partner Dina M. Mastellone, Esq. and Counsel Brigette N. Eagan, Esq. will present an Employment Law and HR Outlook for 2023 webinar for the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers on January 19th.
Dina Mastellone To Present Workplace Investigations Webcast for NJICLE
Firm Partner Dina M. Mastellone, Esq. will present a webcast for NJICLE entitled "Workplace Investigations: Understanding Micro-Aggressions, Implicit Bias, and the Impact of Long-Term Virtual Workplaces on Employees and Workplace cultures.
Compliance Alert For New Jersey Employers: Updated Employment Posters issued by the DCR
The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) recently adopted new and amended regulations concerning the "Display of Official Posters of the Division on Civil Rights” which require employers to display two updated posters in the workplace. The first poster informs employees of the prohibition under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) against discrimination and harassment in the workplace based on a protected status. The second poster informs employees of their right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave in a 24 month period to care for a family member or bond with a newly born or placed child under the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA). The NJFLA applies to employers of 30 or more employees.
Timing is Everything: NJ Appellate Division Compels Arbitration of Employee’s Sex Harassment Claims
On October 26, 2022, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Rourke v. Herr Foods, Inc. once again confirmed that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts the 2019 amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) invalidating employment agreements that require employees to waive rights pertaining to claims of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation. Thus, the employee was required to proceed to arbitration on his sexual harassment, sexual assault and retaliation claims.
Dina Mastellone To Present on Labor & Employment Law Panel at NJSBA Mid-Year Meeting
Firm Partner & Human Resources Counseling & Compliance specialist Dina M. Mastellone, Esq. will present at the 2022 New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) Mid-Year Meeting.
Dina Mastellone and Jennifer Roselle to Present Webinar "Updated Guidance on Drug Testing, Discipline & Cannabis In The Workplace" for New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers
Genova Burns Partners Dina Mastellone, Esq. and Jennifer Roselle, Esq. will present a webinar for the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers on October 27th entitled, "High Maintenance: Updated Guidance on Drug Testing, Discipline & Cannabis In The Workplace."
High Maintenance: The NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission Rolls Out Long-Awaited Guidance On Drug Testing, Discipline, & Cannabis In The Workplace
Employers, note that the Guidance from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is only a temporary gap-fill. The Commission has yet to issue standards on the required certification process for those workplace experts who will be designated to detect an employee’s on-the-job impairment from cannabis (among other substances). Here’s what New Jersey employers need to know now.
You Snooze You Lose: NJ Appellate Division Affirms Dismissal of Sleep Apnea Disability Bias Class Action
On August 15, 2022, the New Jersey Appellate Division declined to reinstate a disability bias class action brought by a New Jersey Transit train operator who was required undergo a sleep apnea screening due to the results of his physical examination as required by NJ Transit’s policy stemming from safety concerns as a result of a 2016 train accident.
Is Age Just A Number?
On August 15, 2022, in Cronin v. Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., et al., the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District of New Jersey’s grant of summary judgement to Booz Allen on Cronin’s age discrimination claims, finding that Cronin was unable to show that Booz Allen’s non-discriminatory reasons for not hiring her were “so plainly wrong that it cannot have been [Booz Allen]’s real reason.” Absent such a showing, the Third Circuit would not overturn the decision of the District Court.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Employer Escapes Liability in FFCRA COVID Litigation
America may be moving forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, but employers continue to deal with its aftermath as they face lawsuits alleging violations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
A Real “Who Dunnit?”: Dispute Over Unsigned Arbitration Agreement Means Judges Must Wear Detective’s Cap
On July 18, 2022, the New Jersey Appellate Division provided a perfect reminder why all employers and HR professionals should diligently confirm that new hires complete all on-boarding paperwork. In Bhoj v. OTG Management, LLC, the Appellate Division reversed a trial court’s order compelling arbitration, finding that the terminated employee’s failure to sign or acknowledge receipt of an arbitration agreement presented a factual mystery that required a more in-depth investigation by the judge before she could enforce an unsigned arbitration agreement.