Please note that, in light of Governor Murphy's recent "stay at home" order in New Jersey due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McLaughlin & Nardi, LLC's attorneys and staff are working remotely at this time. However, we are still ready, willing, and able to address all of your individual and business legal needs. Please contact us by phone at (973) 890-0004 or email at info@esqnj.com. We are committed to providing the same high level of legal services that our clients have come to expect over the years. Thank you.

Articles Tagged with “New Jersey Employment Lawyers”

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The New Jersey Supreme Court once again expanded  the enforceability of arbitration agreements under New Jersey employment law.  In its opinion in Skuse vs. Pfizer, Inc., the Court left in place the requirements necessary for agreements to arbitrate employee/employer disputes columns-round-300x201under New Jersey employment law, but in its application let the exceptions swallow the rule.

Pfizer’s Arbitration Agreement

Pfizer adopted an arbitration “agreement” – actually, more of a policy.  It was not a contract signed by an employee and Pfizer.  Rather, the employee was deemed to have agreed to arbitrate employment disputes if she continued working for Pfizer for sixty days after the policy’s effective date.  Employees were notified by email (to over 28,000 employees) about the policy and given a deadline to “acknowledge” having received it.  Whether the employees did or did not acknowledge receipt, they would be deemed to have “agreed” to the policy by their continued employment.  There was a training module with four slides which purported to explain the policy; one of the slides gave the employees the option to print a copy, but they were not given a copy by Pfizer; another thanked the employee for taking the training.  In the FAQ section of the training module employees were told that if they did not agree they would be fired.

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Employment Law Evidence Issues

Our employment lawyers represent employees and employers in all aspects of New Jersey employment law.  One of the most litigated issues is the evidence which an employee must present to demonstrate that retaliation or discrimination was behind an adverse action, such as supreme-administrative-court-3565618_960_720-300x200firing or demotion.  The Appellate Division recently issued an important decision on the ability of jurors to infer retaliation from circumstantial evidence.

The Yatauro Case

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In the tough economic times brought on by COVID-19, many governors and veterans-300x200mayors, including New Jersey’s Governor Murphy, have said that widespread layoffs may be necessary if federal assistance is not forthcoming.  Our attorneys represent New Jersey Civil Service employees, and we see the struggles they are facing.  Given this, we thought the time was right to review the layoff rights available under New Jersey Civil Service law.

 
Layoffs

A layoff is the termination of a permanent employee’s employment because of economic reasons.  Demotions or reduction of hours for economic reasons are also treated as layoffs, triggering the rights and procedures applicable to layoffs.

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Epidemic, Coronavirus, Lurking, Virus
As a result of the coronavirus (“COVID19”), the state and federal governments have been taking significant steps to enact laws to assist with relief efforts, particularly in relation to the economic strain that many individuals, families, and businesses are facing as a result of widespread closures, business limitations, and stay-at-home orders.

The federal government previously passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which provides emergency relief in relation to job protection and paid leave. Now Congress is working on a new stimulus bill which would provide $2 trillion in relief aid through several different avenues.  This bill has not yet been passed and therefore is still subject to change at this point. However, it appears that several core areas are likely to remain and be ultimately signed into law.

This includes: unemployment assistance, rebates to individuals (relief checks), tax credits to businesses which were closed or significantly effected by COVID-19 and continued to pay employees, bailout loans for major companies such as airlines and hotels (this is perhaps the area most disputed in Congress and therefore most subject to change), and funding to hospitals and health care facilities.

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Addict, Addiction, Amsterdam, Cannabinol
New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) protects employees from adverse employment actions (being fired or demoted for instance) based on any protected characteristic such as disability, race, gender, age, etc.  For employees with disabilities, the LAD has been interpreted by the Courts  to require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.

In July of 2019, Governor Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, amending New Jersey’s Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (“CUMMA”). This amendment  added several provisions, including that it is now unlawful to take adverse employment action against an employee who is registered as someone permitted to obtain and use medical marijuana. However, this does not protect an employee from being fired or otherwise subject to an adverse employment action for possession of marijuana at work or using during work hours or at the workplace location.

While this is a new law, the Courts have already been coming to much the same decisions.  Indeed, in the case of Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., the court considered a case where an employee was fired in 2016 when the employers found out that he used medical marijuana (legally) as part of his cancer treatment/pain management.  Plaintiff sued the former employer for unlawful discrimination and failure to accommodate a disability.  The trial court dismissed the action based on the law’s language (which has since been removed as part of the amendment) that nothing in the act “shall be construed to require an employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any workplace.”)

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Hello everyone, I am Pauline Young. I am one of the partners here at McLaughlin & Nardi, LLC.  First of all, I should say forgive me for my informal attire today, with the coronavirus, we are working with what we have here.

New Jersey Coronavirus Employment Issues

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A main goal of the New Jersey Civil Service Act is to ensure that employment decisions are based on merit and fitness, and therefore to prevent discrimination, political cronyism, corruption and nepotism from being a consideration.  Thus, the Legislature has given civil service office-workers-2-300x200employees the ability to appeal most employer imposed discipline to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission.

Right to Appeal Major Discipline to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission. 

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Qualified candidates for permanent, career, classified New Jersey Civil Service veterans-300x200employment who meet the Civil Service definition are eligible to receive a veterans and disabled veterans preference, which increases their ranks on eligible lists.  The courts have explained that the purpose of the preference is to “reward those whose military commitments, commissioned or enlisted, were of such a nature and duration as to interfere substantially with an individual’s civilian status.”

Veterans Eligible for Preference

Not all “veterans”, as the term is generally used, are eligible for a New Jersey Civil Service preference.  Only “veterans” and “disabled veterans” of certain military operations as defined by the New Jersey Civil Service Act are eligible.   Thus, veterans of some military operations, such as, for example, Operations Earnest Will, Nimble Archer and Praying Mantis, in the Persian Gulf Region in 1987 and 1988, are excluded.

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Hello.

This is Robert Chewning from McLaughlin & Nardi.  I am here today to talk about Civil Service Commission appeals, specifically list bypass appeals.

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Collectively, New Jersey state and local governments are the largest employer in the State.  Most of these jurisdictions are governed by the New Jersey Civil Service Act.  In New Jersey Civil Service jurisdictions, hiring, firing, promotion and discipline is governed by the Civil Service Act and Regulations.  This makes the Civil Service System one of the most important elements in New Jersey employment law.

The Use of Eligible Lists in Hiring and Promotion

Candidates for initial hiring and promotion in the permanent, career, unclassified civil service are selected and appointed based on their civil-service-jobs-300x200placement on eligible lists (also referred to as “certifications”).  There are five types of eligible lists: Open competitive lists, promotional lists, regular reemployment lists, police and fire reemployment lists, and special reemployment lists.

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