Articles Posted in Labor and Employment Law

Published on:

Under New Jersey employment law, criminal charges can have a significant impact on government employment beyond the penalties carried by the criminal charges themselves. paterson-pd-andrew-300x211 These effects impact both civil service and non-civil service employees.

Suspensions While Criminal Charges Are Pending

First, a public employee may be suspended while criminal charges are pending.

Published on:

Appellate Division Demonstrates Why It Makes Sense to Pursue Civil Service Disciplinary Appeals.

New Jersey civil service employees have protections which other employees do not.  The heart of this is the opportunity to appeal major discipline imposed by their employers.  A recentcop New Jersey appellate decision in the case of In the Matter of Malikah Spencer, Essex County, Department of Corrections, demonstrates that this process gives New Jersey civil service employees a fair hearing in these appeals, and demonstrates why civil service employees should pursue appeals of employer imposed major discipline.

Background

Published on:

New Jersey employment law recognizes the concept of “joint employers.”  Under this legal doctrine, an employee can have two employers even though he only gets paid by one.  The doctrine provides that when more than one entity acts as a person’s employer, both are jointly

small-business-1-300x199
responsible for complying with employee protection laws such as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (known as CEPA or the New Jersey Whistleblower Law).

The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey explained in the case of Pukowsky v. Caruso that the following factors are to be considered when determining whether the joint employer doctrine should cause a person or business to be a joint employer of an employee for employment law purposes.

Published on:

New Jersey employment law has few more contentious areas than tenure rights for public school teachers.  I previously wrote about the Appellate Division decision in Parsells v. Board of Education of the Borough of Somerville.  The case was subsequently appealed, and the New

https://www.newjerseylawyersblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/195/2021/01/teacher.1-300x200.jpg
Jersey Supreme Court upheld the Appellate Division’s decision while modifying it and establishing an important rule of law for when a teacher can be found to have waived her New Jersey tenure rights.

Background

Published on:

UPDATE: This post was originally published on January 3, 2023.  On May 22, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey granted a writ of certiorari, meaning it will review the Appellate Division’s opinion in this case.  The original post is below.  Stand by for more.

ORIGINAL POST: 

In many areas of New Jersey employment law, the scope of an arbitrator’s powers is a significant question.  This is particularly true in the adjudication of tenure charges against New Jersey teachers and principals.  The Appellate Division of New Jersey’s Superior Court squarely addressed this issue in the recently published decision in the case of Sanjuan v. School District of West New York.

Published on:

Independent Contractors versus Employees Under New Jersey Employment Law

Under New Jersey employment law, the classification of a worker as an employee or independent contractor has significant ramifications for both the employer and employee, including the ability of the employer to shift the cost of insurance, payroll taxes and benefits to the employee, and relieving it from having to pay time and a half for overtime.  The New Jersey Supreme Court explained in the seminal case ofbuilding-home-construction-contractor-blueprint-architecture-300x200 Hargrove vs. Speepy’s LLC, that there are different, fact sensitive tests for this determination depending on the context, such as for wage issues, workers compensation and unemployment.  More recently, the Supreme Court addressed this issue in the context of whether an employer must make contributions for disability and unemployment in the case of East Bay Drywall, LLC vs. New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Background: East Bay’s Business Model

Published on:

New Jersey civil service law provides significant protection for employees serving in civil service jurisdictions which other employees, even other government employees who are not inus-supreme-court-300x200 the civil service system, do not enjoy.

Layoffs.  A layoff is the cessation of a permanent employee’s employment for economic reasons or efficiency, triggering the rights and procedures provided by New Jersey civil service law to those affected by layoffs.  Demotions for reasons of economy, efficiency or related reasons are also treated as layoffs. Demotions in the form of reduction in hours are also layoffs.  A civil service employee is entitled to all applicable civil service due process protections if her position does not meet the definition of a layoff. Layoffs cannot be used as discipline. Whether her position is abolished or not, if she is affected by a layoff the Civil Service System gives her significant protections if she is subjected to any employment action for other than economy or efficiency outside a layoff plan approved by the New Jersey Civil Service Commission.

Pre-Layoff Actions, Alternatives.  An employer must try to avoid layoffs, and if that is not possible then to lessen the extent and impact by using pre-layoff actions. Before instituting layoffs, voluntary or involuntary, the employer must consult with the union for the affected employees.  Examples of voluntary alternatives include leaves of absence without pay while keeping seniority; furloughs; reduction of work hours; job sharing; and providing optional temporary demotional titles.

Published on:

How a New Jersey Civil Service employee’s separation from service is characterized, either “in good standing” or “not in good standing,” has significant consequences, particularly on the employee’s ability to obtain future government employment, and may even effect her employment in the private sector.  Moreover, if the employee iscouncil-of-state-535721__340-300x103 found to have abandoned her position she may be involuntarily terminated.  Thus, the right to appeal these characterizations is important.

When a Resignation is Considered to be in Good Standing

Obviously, civil service employees want their separations to be considered in good standing, which will allow them to be reemployed.  This will also allow them to answer that they resigned in good standing when asked at job interviews even for private sector jobs.  For a resignation to be considered “in good standing” the requirements under New Jersey civil service law are that the employee actually was in good standing when she resigned and that she gave her employer at least 14 days notice, either verbally or in writing (the employer may consent to shorter notice which would allow the resignation to be in good standing despite a shorter notice period).  The resignation is considered accepted when the notice is received by the employer. The employer may allow an employee to rescind her resignation prior to the employee’s last day.

Published on:

New Jersey disability laws apply to civil service employment decisions such as hiring and promotion.  However, applicants with physical or psychological conditions must still be able to perform the essential functions of their prospective jobs with reasonable accommodation.  Fortunately, New Jersey civil service law provides a process tocomputer-300x200 protect the rights of applicants while ensuring that they are able to provide the vital public services of their prospective positions.

The Hiring and Promotion Process

The Civil Service Commission’s Regulations provide for disqualification from employment if an applicant:

Published on:

New Jersey Civil Service law gives significant protections to government employees in jurisdictions which have adopted civil service. It provides an appeals process that private sector employees and government employees inimagesCAWQ89PS jurisdictions which have not adopted civil service do not enjoy.  Most government employment decisions which do not involve minor discipline can be appealed to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission.  Beyond that, decisions of the Civil Service Commission may be appealed to New Jersey’s appellate courts.

The Appeal Process

New Jersey Civil Service Commission decisions are considered “final agency actions”  which may be appealed directly to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey “as of right.” This means that the Appellate Division has no discretion in whether to hear the case or not – it must hear the appeal.  Appeals to the Appellate Division from final decisions of the Civil Service Commission must be filed in writing within 45 days after the decision.

Contact Information