Articles Tagged with “New Jersey employment lawyer”

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New Jersey employees have significant protections during mass layoffs under New Jersey employment law.

In 1988 the United States Congress passed the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “WARN” Act).  The Act went into effect in 1989.  The purpose of the Act was to try to assist employees with large layoffs orwarn-300x201 large plant or factory closures. The Act essentially required advanced notice and other assistance to workers so that they would have time to find other employment.

In December of 2007 New Jersey passed its own Act similar to the federal WARN Act which was officially called the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act, but is often just referred to as the New Jersey WARN Act in reference to its federal counterpart.

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The bedrock principle of New Jersey Civil Service law is that merit and fitness should be the only factor considered in employment decisions, and discrimination, nepotism, cronyism, politics and bribery should be eliminated in public sector employment.  The gateway to this system is the New Jersey Civil Service examination process, which ensures that hiring and promotion are based on merit, not other impermissible considerations. Indeed, the New Jersey Constitution requires that whenevernational-gallery-of-art-1380105-m-300x248 possible, merit and fitness for hiring and promotions be determined by examination.  The New Jersey Civil Service Act and Regulations implement this constitutional principle.  Therefore, the principal means for determining merit and fitness for hiring and promotion of classified, career, permanent civil service employees is the New Jersey Civil Service examination process, which is administered by the New Jersey Civil Service Commission.

Obviously, then, civil service examinations are extremely important to applicants for hiring and promotion.  But the human condition is that mistakes occur, and the New Jersey Civil Service system is administered by humans, and so mistakes are made. Therefore there is a process for appeals.  Our New Jersey civil service attorneys represent state and local government employees in all aspects of New Jersey employment law, including civil service appeals.

Below is an overview of the New Jersey Civil Service examination system, and how candidates for hiring or promotion can appeal when a mistake is made.

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Under New Jersey employment law, a school board must bring tenure charges when it wants to discipline a tenured teacher.  The teacher can then appeal the tenure charges to the New Jersey Commissioner of Education.  The Department of Education then refers the case to an arbitrator for determination of whether or not the charges should be sustained.  New Jersey’s Appellate Division recently examined the procedures for appealing such a tenure arbitration decision in the case of Ragland v. Board of Education of the City of Newark.


Larhonda Ragland was a tenured teacher in the Newark Public School System.  She received consecutive summative evaluations of “ineffective” or “partially ineffective” based on poor student achievement and classroom observations.  The Board therefore served her with tenure charges of inefficiency.  She challenged the Board’s evaluation process, and the Department of Education the referred the charges to an arbitrator.

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The New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued an important employment law decision in the case of  Barila v. Board of Education of Cliffside Park regarding the ability of unions to bargain away employee benefits enjoyed under prior contracts.teacher-300x224

Benefits, such as time off, are terms and conditions of employment which may be bargained for in collective negotiations.  (The term “collective negotiations” is used in the public sector instead of “collective bargaining” because, unlike in the private sector, government employees do not have the right to strike under New Jersey employment law.)  The resulting contract (or “collective negotiation agreement”) sets the terms and conditions of employment, provided the parties have bargained in good faith and the employees receive the minimum levels required by statute.

In this case, under prior contracts between the Cliffside Park Board of Education and the teachers union, including the most recent one in effect from 2012 through 2015, longer term employees could carry over and be paid for their unused sick days up to $25,000.  Not all employees could do so, however, because the New Jersey Legislature had passed a law limiting payment for unused sick time to $15,000 for employees who commenced work on May 21, 2010 or thereafter.  The statutory limit did not apply to employees who started work before May 21, 2010.

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New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

New Jersey employment law has long been in the forefront of protecting employees’ civil rights baby-feetand prohibiting discrimination in the workplace.  While Congress did not pass Title VII until 1964, the Legislature passed the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination in 1945.  Since then the LAD has been expanded to protect more types of workers from discrimination because of who they are and give them a wider array of rights and protections.  Most recently, in 2014 the Legislature passed the New Jersey Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, again which amended the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, this time to prohibit discrimination against pregnant workers, and to require reasonable accommodation for physical arising from pregnancy, recovery from childbirth, and breastfeeding.  It prohibited employers from penalizing employees for being pregnant.

The Appellate Division of New Jersey’s Superior Court recently issued the first published opinion interpreting the New Jersey Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in the case of Kathleen J. Delanoy v. Township of Ocean.

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school-93200__340-300x200In New Jersey, certifications are generally required for all professional staff members in public schools and other institutions regulated by the New Jersey Department of Education.  There are various types of certificates based on the type of employment you are seeking (i.e., teachers, principals, school psychologist, etc).

Emergency certificates are issued to a limited amount of personnel within the educational services category including school social workers, school counselors, and associate library media Specialists.  For a full list of positions where emergency certificates may be issued, please visit New Jersey’s Department of Education website.

The regulation governing emergency certifications is N.J.A.C. §6A:9B-5.12, which sets forth when, by whom, and for what reasons emergency certificates may be issued.  Emergency certificates may be issued at any point in the school year but, regardless of when they are issued, they expire on July 31st of each year.  They serve an important  purpose by allowing a board of education to apply for an emergency certificate for a candidate if that particular board of education is unable to locate a candidate with a provisional or standard certificate to fill the position.

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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.


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