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New Jersey Employment Laws

New Jersey employment law is a comprehensive system which provides some of the strongest protections in the nation for New Jersey employees. New Jersey employees are protected against discrimination and whistle-blowing retaliation. New Jersey employment law provides for leave of absence for childbirth, adoption of a child, or serious health conditions. New Jersey has its own wage and hour laws that regulate minimum wage and overtime pay for New Jersey employees.

New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (the “LAD”) applies to all employers. The LAD prohibits discrimination or harassment in employment for a prohibited reason, including race, religion, color, gender, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, marriage status, domestic partnership or civil union status, sexual orientation, identity, and disability. The list of protected job-related activities is expansive and includes recruitment, interviewing, hiring, promotions, discharge, compensation, and any term, condition or privilege of employment.

The LAD prohibits both intentional and inadvertent discrimination because of a discriminatory animus or bias. Intentional discrimination includes different treatment of individuals, as well as harassing statements or overt conduct. Indirect discrimination can include practices or policies that have an adverse impact on employees of protected categories. For example, requiring workers to be over six foot tall may have a disparate impact on woman and therefore violates the LAD. If, however, an employer can establish that the requirement is necessary to perform the job and there is no alternative available, then the policy would not violate the LAD.

New Jersey Whistle Blowing Protection

The Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) prohibits New Jersey employers from retaliating against employees who disclose, object to, or refuse to participate in actions which they reasonably believe are either illegal or in violation of public policy. CEPA protects all New Jersey employees and independent contractors. The New Jersey Supreme Court has described CEPA as the most far-reaching whistleblower statute in the nation. CEPA has been found so expansive that it even protects employees who erroneously accuse their employer of a wrong doing in good faith. New Jersey employees should beware, however, that in most circumstances they must advise a supervisor, in writing, and give reasonable time to correct the problem.

New Jersey Family Leave

New Jersey has two leave laws. New Jersey’s Family Leave Act (“FLA”), is one of the most far-reaching. For example, public and private employer must provide covered employees leave of absence of up to twelve weeks upon the birth or adoption of a child or a serious health condition of a child, parent, spouse or partner in a civil union.

Similarly, New Jersey Family Leave Insurance Law (NJFLI”) (often referred to as the Paid Family Leave Law) applies to all employer that are also subject to the New Jersey unemployment compensation law. Like the FLA, the NJFLI allows employees paid leave for employees after birth of a child or to care for seriously ill family members. However, unlike the FLA, under the NJFLI leave is payable for six weeks.

New Jersey employees seeking FLA coverage must have been employed within the state by the same employer for at least twelve months and have worked at least one-thousand base hours during twelve months immediately preceding the leave.

Coverage under NJFLI is afforded to New Jersey employees have either: (1) worked at least 20 calendar weeks and earned at least $145, or (2) earned at least 1,000 times the New Jersey minimum wage.

New Jersey’s Wage and Hour Law

New Jersey’s Wage and Hour law provide for minimum wages, maximum hours, overtime pay, age a minor can be employed, home-based businesses, pay periods, and what pay must be withheld from an employee’s wages.

In New Jersey pay periods must be regular, and not less than twice a month. The New Jersey minimum wage is $7.25 per hour worked each week, and “time and a half” for every hour over forty hours worked in a week. Employers must deduct for taxes, employee portion of unemployment contribution and for other statutorily enumerated reasons. However, New Jersey employers may not deduct wages for things like breakage, cash register shortages, or other reasons not specifically enumerated in the regulations.

Minors can begin to be employed at eleven years old but the types of jobs they can perform are limited until they are eighteen. For example, at age eleven children can deliver newspapers and at the age of twelve children can do some job additional jobs, such as nursery work and gardening. The types of jobs that children can work continue to expand at the age of fourteen and again at sixteen. At eighteen any work in New Jersey can be performed.

The New Jersey Industrial Homework Law and Regulations require that employers obtain necessary permits, licenses, certifications before operating in-home business manufacturing certain good and products.

If you believe that you have been discriminated, wrongfully terminated, harassed, or your employer is not paying you what you are owed, our New Jersey employment attorneys can help. McLaughlin & Nardi’s attorneys regularly represent both employers and employees in court and in arbitration litigating New Jersey employment disputes. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing employers and employees in all aspects of labor and employment law. To learn more about what we can do to help, please e-mail us or call one of our lawyers at (973)890-0004.