Insights & News

Employment NewsFlash
Jersey Strong Extends to the Workplace

September 30, 2013
Client Alert


New Jersey is certainly stronger than the storm, but it is now also tougher on employers due to a slew of new employment laws. These six developments should be on the radar for any business with employees or contractors in New Jersey.
Social Media
New Jersey law now restricts employer access to the personal social media accounts of employees and job applicants, joining 12 other states in doing so. Although Gov. Chris Christie gutted the harshest provisions from the bill passed by the legislature, many restrictions remain in place and are summarized here.

Absences
Twenty days of job-protected leave are now available to employees who are victims of domestic violence or sexually violent crimes. The new law applies to businesses with at least 25 employees, but it does not specify whether employees outside of New Jersey count toward the 25-employee threshold. Advice for administering leave requests under the new law is available here.

Compensation
New Jersey law now protects employees who share their compensation and benefits information with co-workers, provided it is shared in the context of the employees’ investigation into compensation discrimination. Such employees may not be terminated or subjected to other disciplinary action. Employers of 50 or more employees (regardless of whether those employees are all based in New Jersey or elsewhere) will be required to post for their New Jersey employees a separate notice regarding gender-based pay discrimination, in a form of notice to be approved by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workplace Development.

Telecommuters
An out-of-state business that allowed just one employee to telecommute from her personal residence in New Jersey was deemed by a New Jersey court to be doing business in New Jersey for purposes of business taxation. This court decision serves as a reminder of the impact of state-specific laws on out-of-state employers, as many states do not hesitate to reach across state lines in certain instances. The full text of the decision is available here.

Contractors
Appropriately classifying independent contractors has far-reaching consequences for businesses, including for purposes of taxation and employment laws. New Jersey’s independent contractor test, which places more emphasis on economic independence than the federal test, has led to such confusion that the New Jersey Supreme Court has been asked by a federal court to issue a clarifying opinion. Further details are available here.

Mediation
According to the New Jersey Supreme Court, mediation agreements will no longer be enforceable in New Jersey unless memorialized in writing at mediation. Although the decision applies in a variety of contexts, New Jersey employers should be particularly mindful of this requirement if they mediate disputes with or between employees where legal rights are waived or money changes hands. 

Stradley Ronon keeps clients apprised of important developments in federal, state and local employment and labor law. As a member of Meritas, the world’s largest association of independent commercial law firms, we also have immediate access to our worldwide network of employment lawyers, allowing us to secure region-specific employment guidance and to seamlessly litigate worldwide.

 

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