Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus

Supreme Court Delivers Blow to Public-Sector Unions

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court weakened public-sector unions by ruling that thousands of “partial public employee” home health care workers in Illinois do not have to pay mandatory “fair share” fees to cover the union’s cost of collective bargaining.  The Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn limits the viability of public-sector unions in the home-care industry, which has been a rare source of union growth over the past decade.

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Supreme Court Rules for Employers on Contraceptive Mandate

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that could help ease the burdens placed on many employers by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores , the Court ruled that the federal government cannot force owners of closely-held, for-profit corporations to provide insurance coverage for certain types of contraception that violate their religious beliefs.

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Shortening Of Statute Of Limitations By Agreement Contained In Employment Application Deemed Enforceable

In a decision that affects every employer and employee in the state, the New Jersey Appellate Division has held that a contractual provision contained in an employment application that shortens the statute of limitations for employment claims to six months is enforceable.  Read the rest of this entry »

Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD): Policies and Practical Considerations

As more and more employees are using their own mobile, electronic devices for work, employers must recognize and address the many issues that arise from this practice. Today employees typically own three separate electronic devices (smart phones, tablets and laptops), which all potentially can be used for work. In the very near future, e-mails and other work-related information may be viewed and exchanged through Google glasses, smartwatches, smart cars and even smart homes. One estimate indicates that by next year, there will be over fifteen billion electronic devices in existence.

BYOD

What happens if one of these devices that contain an employer’s important business information is lost or stolen? What happens if an employee is terminated and refuses to remove company data from their device? Who owns the phone number or LinkedIn site that an employee has used to amass significant contacts with the employer’s customers and clients? Does checking e-mails at home constitute work for which an employee must be paid? Are employee-owned devices subject to discovery in the event that litigation occurs? All of these are important questions that an employer must address in a comprehensive BYOD policy.

For more information on what a comprehensive BYOD policy should address and other practical considerations, read the rest of the alert here.

New Jersey Inching Closer to Another Law Prohibiting Employer Discrimination Against the Unemployed

In 2011, Governor Christie signed into law a bill making it illegal (with certain exceptions) for an employer or an employer’s designee to “knowingly or purposefully publish, in print or on the Internet, an advertisement for any job vacancy in this State” which states that a requirement for the job is the applicant’s current employment or that the employer will not consider or review an application for employment from any job applicant who is currently unemployed.  N.J.S.A. 34:8B-1.  The statute did, however, permit employers to state that they would only consider applicants who are currently employed by their own companies, and also did permit employers to require an applicant to meet certain educational or licensing requirements consistent with the position.  The constitutionality of this provision was upheld in New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development v. Crest Ultrasonics, 434 N.J. Super. 34 (App. Div. 2014). Oregon, the District of Columbia and New York City passed similar laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against unemployed individuals.

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New EEOC Guidelines on Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace

On March 6, 2014, the EEOC issued two new publications addressing rights and responsibilities regarding religious dress and grooming in the workplace under Title VII.  Given the steady increase in charges of religious discrimination filed with the EEOC, it is hoped that these practical guidelines will assist employers in complying with the law.

bigbox_religious_garb_grooming_2_2

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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Governor Christie Signs Law Prohibiting Pregnancy Discrimination

On January 8, 2014, we reminded New Jersey employers about a pending bill (S-2995/A-4486) that would amend the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by adding a provision prohibiting discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

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Employers Publishing Job Ads Beware

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Earlier this week, the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the constitutionality of a New Jersey law forbidding companies from discriminating against unemployed job candidates. 

N.J.S.A. 34:8B-1 prohibits employers from publishing an advertisement stating that a job applicant must be currently employed for their applications to be accepted, considered, or reviewed. The law was passed in 2011 during the economic downturn when laid off workers were seeking jobs and faced additional roadblocks when they found that companies would not consider their applications if they were unemployed.

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Highlighting 2013 and Looking Ahead to 2014 for New Jersey Employers

NewYearSparkler2014

Happy New Year! As New Jersey employers ready themselves for the coming year, we’re taking a quick look back on 2013 and then looking ahead to some potential developments employers should keep an eye on throughout 2014.

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New Employment Obligations for the New Year

As the new year approaches, employers should prepare for changes and new employment obligations that go into effect in January 2014 on both the state and federal level.

New Jersey employers should be reminded that, effective January 1, 2014, the minimum wage increases to $8.25 per hour.  Each September thereafter, the minimum wage will be automatically adjusted based on changes to the Consumer Price Index, and any additional changes will become effective on the following January 1.  If you have employees who work outside of New Jersey, be sure to check these local laws too, as a number of other states have also implemented changes to their respective minimum wage laws.  New York, for example, is increasing its minimum wage to $8.00 per hour effective December 31, 2014, and will increase the minimum wage in each of the following 2 years.

Beginning January 6, 2014, New Jersey employers will also be required to post and distribute a new poster on gender equity in pay, compensation, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment.  The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has published the gender equity poster on its website in both English and Spanish.

New Jersey Gender Equity Poster (English)

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