08.29.2023The ABC’S Of The EEOC’S Proposed Regulations On Pregnancy: Accommodations In The WorkplaceEffective July 27, 2023, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) requires employers with 15 or more employees, to accommodate pregnancy and pregnancy-related complications in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the federal agency charged with enforcing the PWFA, recently issued proposed regulations clarifying employer obligations and employee rights under the PWFA. The PWFA requires employers to provide qualified employees and applicants with known limitations relating to pregnancy, childbirth or related mediation conditions with reasonable workplace accommodations, unless the accommodation causes an undue hardship. The key terms, underlined for clarity, are explained herein.
08.14.2023After the Injury: NJ District Court Reiterates Indefinite Light Duty & Unpaid Leave is Not a Reasonable AccommodationOn July 12, 2023, in Wraith v. Wayfair, Inc., the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted summary judgment in favor of an employer, dismissing a former employee’s claim of disability discrimination and failure to accommodate in violation of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA), the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) and the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law (PSLL) following an on-the-job injury. The District Court found that the employer did not have a duty to accommodate an indefinite light duty or indefinite leave under the law where the only information provided was a physician note indicating the employee could not return to work.
08.02.2023Cleaning House: New Jersey Enacts Building Service Worker Retention Law On July 24, 2023, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law Assembly Bill 4682/Senate Bill 2389 protecting non-managerial and non-professional service workers, who work at eligible locations, from sudden and unexpected loss of employment due to changes in ownership. New Jersey’s new law is the second of its kind in the United States.
05.25.2023A 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.
04.27.2023New York State Department of Labor Updates its Mandatory Sexual Harassment Policy RequirementsAs 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.
04.25.2023NJ District Court Awards Rule 11 Sanctions in Favor of Employer for Frivolous SuitOn 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.
04.13.2023No 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.
04.10.2023NJ Appellate Division Rules No Age or Disability Bias in Termination of 60-Year-Old EmployeeOn 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).
03.14.2023To Click or Not to Click: NJ Appellate Division Reaffirms Enforceability of Electronic Arbitration AgreementsOn 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.
01.23.2023Practical Considerations On The Speak Out ActThe 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.
12.22.2022Compliance Alert For New Jersey Employers: Updated Employment Posters issued by the DCRThe 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.
11.03.2022Timing is Everything: NJ Appellate Division Compels Arbitration of Employee’s Sex Harassment ClaimsOn 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.