Articles Tagged with “New Jersey employment law.”

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creative-signstop-age-discrimination-260nw-520754950-300x215Amazingly, despite the law being clear for many years that age discrimination in employment is illegal, and despite the fact that both research and experience have shown the value of mature workers, age discrimination against older employees continues to be widespread in New Jersey and the country at large.  Both the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination provide strict prohibitions against employers and supervisors discriminating against older employees.

Sometimes, however, the boundaries of these laws are unclear, and guidance from the Courts is required.  On November 6, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued an important decision affecting the rights of state and local government employees under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

The Mount Lemmon Fire District Case and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

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chalk-1551571__340-300x229In the case of  Bound Brook Board of Education v. Ciripompa, the Supreme Court reviewed the extreme deference which courts are required to give arbitrator’s decisions.  However, the Supreme Court explained that this deference to the arbitrator is not unlimited.

In the Bound Brook case, two tenure charges were filed against a teacher.   The teacher, who had tenure, had allegedly been engaging in pervasive misuse of his employer-issued computer and inappropriate conduct toward female coworkers, allegedly often in the presence of or involving students.  After an investigation, the Board determined that the teacher should be fired and tenure charges were filed against the teacher.

The first count of the tenure charges was “conduct unbecoming.” The second count was not labeled, but contained allegations of inappropriate conduct and harassing behavior toward coworkers, some of a sexual nature, and occasionally involving students.  Like the local board of education, the New Jersey Commissioner of Education likewise found dismissal warranted and submitted the charges for review by an arbitrator pursuant to the TEACHNJ Act.

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frankfort-105591_960_720The Supreme Court of the United States has recently issued an opinion holding that, even perceived speech or associations (as opposed to just actual speech or associations) are protected by the Civil Rights Act.

A police officer, Jeffrey Heffernan, working in Paterson, New Jersey filed suit seeking redress for his demotion after he had been seen speaking to staff members for a candidate running for mayor and holding a yard sign supporting that candidate.  The candidate was running against the incumbent mayor who had appointed Heffernan’s superiors.  Heffernan was specifically demoted due to his “overt involvement” in the candidate’s campaign.

Unbeknownst to Heffernan’s superiors, Heffernan did not actually support the candidate, but was merely picking up the sign for his ill mother.

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employment_law_damages.jpgThe New Jersey Supreme Court recently clarified an employment law issue which has been vexing employment lawyers for decades. In its recent landmark decision in Hargrove versus Sleepy’s LLC, the Supreme Court laid out the rules for determining when a worker should be considered an employee under different New Jersey employment laws. The specific laws it addressed governed the payment of wages and overtime to employees.

This is an extremely important issue for both employers and employees – it normally determines whether a worker will get benefits such as health insurance and 401(k), and whether the worker or employer will be responsible for paying the worker’s payroll taxes, not to mention overtime.

Background

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construction 9-10.JPGThere are severe civil and administrative penalties for misclassification of workers who should actually be employees as independent contractors. If a worker is classified as an employee, the employer must pay approximately an additional 7.5 percent of her salary in payroll taxes, as well as workers compensation insurance, and the benefits which other employees get. This gives businesses a strong incentive to classify workers as independent contractors. However, this has long been illegal under both federal and New Jersey Employment law.

New Jersey has found this practice to be widespread in the construction industry, depriving workers of benefits, social security taxes, and forcing the employer to pay self-employment tax, or the employer’s portion of the payroll taxes. Additionally, the New Jersey Legislature has found that this puts businesses currently classifying workers as employees at a competitive disadvantage with those whose do not because of the higher costs they bear. New Jersey therefore enacted the New Jersey Construction Industry Independent Contractor Act.
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