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Employees 70 & Older Gain New Life With Expanded Protections Against Age Discrimination in the Workplace
On October 5, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation expanding the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) providing increased protections against age discrimination for workers 70 years of age and older. The new legislation closes loopholes by repealing provisions permitting age discrimination in hiring, promoting, and retirement practices, while increasing available remedies to those facing age discrimination in employment.
Brigette Eagan Discusses Bill That Would Broaden NJ's Prohibition Against Age Discrimination in NJBIZ
Genova Burns Counsel Brigette N. Eagan, Esq. discusses "Extended protection" A bill unanimously approved by both houses of the Legislature that would broaden the state’s prohibition against age discrimination in a recent NJBIZ article.
NJ Supreme Court Issues A Grim Prognosis For Employers Facing Hostile Work Environment Claims
After losing in both the trial and appellate courts, Armando Rios, Jr., an ex-Pharmaceutical Executive, managed to sway the minds of the Justices on the State’s highest court to revive his hostile work environment claim. Rios claimed his direct supervisor twice referred to Hispanics by a racial epithet thereby creating a hostile work environment. The lower courts held that two incidents are not severe or pervasive enough to constitute a hostile work environment and dismissed his case. A unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court, however, disagreed and reversed the lower court decisions.
NJ District Court Gives Employers Hope in the Fight Against FMLA Misuse
On May 28, 2021, the U.S. District for New Jersey in VanHook v. Cooper Health Systems, granted Cooper’s summary judgment against its employee’s discrimination and retaliation claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The District Court agreed with the employer that the record confirms the employee’s abusive and dishonest actions and granted the employer’s motion of summary judgment.
NJ Supreme Court Strikes Adverse Employment Action Requirement in Failure to Accommodate Claims
On June 8, 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Richter v. Oakland Board of Education affirmed the Appellate Division’s ruling that an employee asserting a failure to accommodate claim does not have to separately establish that she suffered an adverse employment action in addition to demonstrating her employer’s inaction in failing to reasonably accommodate her disability.
NJ Appellate Narrows the Road in Auto Dealership’s Sexual Harassment Case
On May 18, 2021, in McBride v. Atlantic Chrysler Jeep, the New Jersey Appellate Division revived a Sales Consultant’s hostile work environment case against a car dealership after the Law Division previously dismissed it in the dealership’s favor. The employee claimed that she was terminated for rejecting her supervisor’s sexual advances and alleged the dealership was vicariously liable for the supervisor’s conduct. The trial court granted the dealership’s motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Appellate Division overturned the trial court’s decision and sent the case back to the Law Division to proceed to trial.
The Devil is in the Details: NJ District Court Demands Details of Sexual Harassment to Defeat Motion to Dismiss
On April 12, 2021, the New Jersey District Court for the District of New Jersey in Spence v. New Jersey, et al., granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss an employee’s sexual harassment and retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). The employee claimed she was sexually harassed by her co-worker and that her supervisors took retaliatory action against her for reporting the alleged sexual harassment. The District Court found that the employee failed to sufficiently plead her sexual harassment claim for lack of pervasive harassment, and in part failed to sufficiently plead her retaliation claim for lack of temporal proximity.
Doubling Down on the FAA: NJ District Court Strikes Down the NJLAD’s Prohibition Against Arbitration
Earlier this year, in a matter of first impression, the Monmouth County Law Division in Janco v. Bay Ridge Automotive Management Corp. held that the amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) which prohibits a waiver of any right or remedy available under the NJLAD was superseded by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). In its decision on March 25, 2021 in New Jersey Civil Justice Institute v. Grewal, the United States District Court followed suit and enjoined the State AG from enforcing Section 12.7 of the NJLAD that would invalidate arbitration agreements between employers and employees. This decision represents a significant victory for employers on the enforceability of arbitration agreements in harassment, discrimination and retaliation cases in New Jersey.
Cause & Effect: NJ Appellate Division Rules Correlation Does Not Imply Causation in Disability Discrimination Suit
On March 4, 2021, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Kalim v. Urban Outfitters, Inc. affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of a former employee’s wrongful termination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).
Let’s Go to the Video Tape: NJ Appellate Division Rules Video Dooms Nurse’s Age Discrimination Case
On March 3, 2021, the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the dismissal of a 49-year old Nurse’s age discrimination case against St. Peter’s University Hospital. The Nurse, who was fired after using force to restrain a hospital patient, claimed the incident with the patient was merely a pretext for age discrimination, even though the surveillance video demonstrated otherwise.
FAA Trumps NJLAD: NJ Superior Court Upholds Employer’s Arbitration Agreement in NJLAD Case
In a matter of first impression, the Monmouth County Law Division in Janco v. Bay Ridge Automotive Management Corp., found that a former employee’s claims brought under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination were subject to the arbitration agreement that she signed when she was first hired. The Court further held that the recent amendment to the Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) which prohibits a waiver of any right or remedy available under the NJLAD was superseded by the Federal Arbitration Act.
Requiring the COVID-19 Vaccination at Work: Issues for NJ Employers to Consider When Developing a COVID-19 Vaccination Program
We have seen recent articles speculating on whether employers can require their employees to take an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment or continued employment. Here, without giving any legal advice, for private (non-governmental) New Jersey employers, odds are that this type of employment rule will be permissible, with certain limitations, discussed herein.
New Jersey Enacts New COVID-19 Workplace Safety Protocols
Effective 6:00 am on Thursday, November 5, 2020, pursuant to Governor Phil Murphy’s October 28, 2020 Executive Order 192 (“EO 192” and “Order”), every New Jersey business which operates with employees and customers physical present at the worksite, will be required to comply with the State’s new COVID-19 workplace safety protocols.
Harris Freier Insight on COVID-19 Lawsuits in the Workplace Featured in New Jersey Law Journal
Partner Harris S. Freier was recently interviewed by New Jersey Law Journal for their article “People Are Now Suing Their Bosses Over COVID-19 at Work, But Can They Win in Court?”
NJ Supreme Court Enforces Arbitration Agreement Despite Failure to Specify Forum, Arbitrator, & Governing Law
On September 11, 2020, in a unanimous decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court found that New Jersey law does not require that an arbitration agreement identify the arbitrator, name the arbitral forum, describe the arbitrator selection process, or provide for the governing law, so long as the agreement to arbitrate includes a clear and unmistakable waiver of the right to a jury or other civil trial of the claims.
Don’t Fear The Click-Box: NJ Supreme Court Upholds Electronic Employee Arbitration Agreements
On August 18, 2020, in a landmark decision for employers, the New Jersey Supreme Court released its long-awaited opinion in Skuse v. Pfizer (A-86-18) (082509), holding that an employee must arbitrate her employment discrimination claims agreed to in an electronic employee arbitration agreement. The decision reverses the Appellate Division’s January 2019 decision, which had imposed heightened requirements on employers obtaining employees’ assent to arbitration agreements.
Supreme Court Finds Federal Law Bars LGBT Employment Discrimination
The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) held today that the ban on sex discrimination in the federal employment law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, covers employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender identity.
Is That Even Discrimination? New Jersey District Court Reiterates That Disabled Employees are not Immune to the Effects of Negative Job Performance
On April 13, 2020, the District Court for the District of New Jersey granted the employer’s Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed an employee’s claim of disability discrimination in the matter of Rooney v. NVR Inc. The Court determined that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that a genuine factual dispute existed to suggest that Defendant terminated his employment based on his disability.
School’s Out: Third Circuit Upholds Termination of Former History Teacher for Instruction on Holocaust Denial Theories
On February 22, 2020, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s dismissal of discrimination, hostile work environment, and wrongful termination claims filed by a former non-tenured high school History teacher, and self-proclaimed non-practicing Muslim of Egyptian decent
New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) Releases COVID-19 FAQ's
On March 19, 2020, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) released a Guidance addressing frequently asked questions regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Specifically, the DCR addresses protections and obligations under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).