08.15.2023You Can Say What?! New Jersey District Court Rejects Claims of Hostile Work Environment On July 29, 2023, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Tavares v. Builders FirstSource Northeast Group, Inc., granted Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment most notably finding that racist and sexual comments that Plaintiff used to support his claim of hostile work environment did not rise to the “severe and pervasive” standard necessary to support a claim. This case harkens back to the notorious case of Heitzman v. Monmouth County, 321 N.J. Super. 133 (App. Div. 1999), where several anti-Semitic comments were found insufficient to meet the “severe and pervasive” standard. Heitzman was of course cited by every defense lawyer for the next decade to try to defeat hostile work environment claims. So, the question becomes does Tavares mean that the New Jersey courts will become more skeptical of plaintiff’s claims and more supportive of employer defenses like in Heitzman, despite the Me Too movement and the seeming reluctance by the New Jersey judiciary to grant summary judgment to employers? The answer is context matters. There are lessons from Tavares to be sure, but it does not yet herald a major shift to employers in the New Jersey courts.
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.
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.
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.
06.16.2022It’s Settled . . . Or Is It? NJ Appellate Division Rules The NJLAD Does Not Prohibit Non-Disparagement Clauses in Settlement Agreements On May 31, 2022, in Savage v. Township of Neptune, the New Jersey Appellate Division partially upheld, and partially overturned, a trial court’s enforcement of a private settlement agreement, holding that although the settlement agreement’s non-disparagement clause was enforceable and not violative of the statutory prohibition against enforcing non-disclosure provisions in harassment/discrimination/retaliation cases, the employee’s allegedly disparaging statements did not actually violate the non-disparagement clause as written.
05.24.2021NJ Appellate Narrows the Road in Auto Dealership’s Sexual Harassment CaseOn 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.
05.20.2021The Devil is in the Details: NJ District Court Demands Details of Sexual Harassment to Defeat Motion to DismissOn 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.
12.19.2019#7 Genova Burns’ 30th Anniversary Countdown of the Most Influential Cases, Events and LawsAs Genova Burns celebrates its 30th anniversary serving the legal needs of clients throughout New Jersey and across the Northeast, we will be counting down the top 30 legal cases, events and laws that have left a significant impact on society, business, politics, and lifestyle here in the Garden State. #7 is New Jersey's first case addressing workplace sexual harassment