On October 5, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (A681) amending the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to expand protections for the state’s older workers. While the NJLAD already prohibited age discrimination, it contained an exception permitting employers to decide not to hire or promote workers over 70 based on their age. The new
In early 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a series of bills aimed at identifying and penalizing entities for misclassification of employees as independent contractors. Yesterday, Governor Murphy signed four additional laws into effect to build upon and expand these efforts: A5890, A5892, A5891, and A1171.
These laws build upon…
On June 4, 2021, the New Jersey legislature passed legislation (A5820/S3866) enabling the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in place since March 9, 2020. Under the legislation, the majority of New Jersey’s COVID-19 related Executive Orders will lapse on July 4, 2021. The legislation specifically keeps fourteen Executive Orders in place until January 1, 2022 (which may be subject to further extension):
- Executive Order 106 (Eviction Moratorium)
- Executive Order 111 (Healthcare reporting)
- Executive Order 112 (COVID-19 Health Care Responders)
- Executive Order 123 (Insurance Premium Grace Periods)
- Executive Order 127 (Rulemaking Deadlines)
- Executive Order 150 (Outdoor Dining Protocols and Process to Expand Premises for Liquor License Holders)
- Executive Order 159 (Extension of Certain Statutory Deadlines)
- Executive Order 170 (Extension of Certain Statutory Deadlines)
- Executive Order 178 (Extension of Certain Statutory Deadlines)
- Executive Order 207 (Enrollment in NJ Immunization Information System)
- Executive Order 229 (Utility Shut-off Moratorium)
- Executive Order 233 (Stimulus Payments Exempt from garnishment)
- Executive Order 237 (Summer Youth Overnight and Day Camps)
- Executive Order 242 (Lifting of Restrictions)
On June 8, 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court made two significant rulings in Richter v. Oakland Board of Education. First, the Court held that an employee need not establish an adverse employment action as an element for a failure-to-accommodate claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). This holding built on prior case law, particularly in the context of retaliation claims, and was not unexpected given the broad remedial purpose of the NJLAD. The second holding, however, is much more significant and may have far-reaching implications. Specifically, the Court held that the exclusive remedy provision of the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Act’s (WCA), also known as the “workers’ compensation bar,” does not prevent an employee from recovering for physical injuries through a claim under the NJLAD, and there is no need for the employee to show an intentional wrong (which is generally required to recover for physical workplace injuries outside of the workers’ compensation context). This is a major shift in the law governing workplace injuries and potentially opens a host of new available damages in certain circumstances.
Continue Reading NJ workers’ compensation exclusivity not so exclusive anymore: NJ Supreme Court issues major ruling on the New Jersey workers’ compensation bar and NJLAD failure to accommodate claims
As previously discussed, on May 24, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the lifting of COVID-19 mask requirements for certain employers, while continuing to require masks for others. In a point of frustration for many New Jersey employers, the requirements seemed to require masking and social distancing in an inconsistent manner, and imposed…
UPDATE: On May 26, 2021, Governor Murphy announced that he will be signing another Executive Order, effective Friday, June 4, 2021, that will: (1) Allow employers to implement policies for vaccinated employees to forego masking & social distancing; and (2) Rescind the requirement for mandatory remote work arrangements. We will provide further guidance on these…
Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, in January 2020, Governor Murphy signed into law sweeping changes to New Jersey’s mini-WARN act. The first-of-its-kind law in the nation required mandatory severance payments for employees who lost their jobs in a mass layoff. We discussed details of the changes here. The law was scheduled to…
New Jersey has confirmed that employers can mandate their employees be vaccinated for COVID-19. This move aligns New Jersey with federal guidance previously issued by the EEOC. Other states, such as California, have also issued similar guidance and the trend is expected to continue.
Consistent with federal guidance from the EEOC, the New Jersey guidance provides that employers may require employees to be vaccinated to be present on the worksite, however, employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees who: (i) have a disability, (ii) have been advised not to get the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding, or (iii) who will not get the vaccine due to sincerely held religious beliefs. Note, however, that if no reasonable accommodation can be provided, an employer can enforce its policy of excluding unvaccinated employees from the workplace. …
Continue Reading New Jersey issues guidance confirming employers can mandate COVID-19 vaccines
On February 22, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (NJCREAMMA) and other related bills into law which legalize and regulate recreational cannabis use and possession for adults over the age of 21. With the enactment of NJCREAMMA, New Jersey now prohibits employers from discriminating against employees for off-duty recreational marijuana use (or decision not to use). These requirements are effective immediately.
Prior to the enactment of NJCREAMMA, New Jersey employers were prohibited from discriminating against individuals who are certified to use medical marijuana and required to engage in the interactive process with employees who request accommodations for medical marijuana use. NJCREAMMA extends the discrimination prohibitions to recreational marijuana users and prohibits employers from refusing to hire, discharging, or taking “any adverse action against an employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or other privileges of employment because that person does or does not smoke, vape, aerosolize or otherwise use cannabis items.” In addition, these prohibitions extend to positive drug tests where solely cannabinoid metabolites are present in the employee’s system.
Continue Reading New Jersey legalizes recreational marijuana use: What this means for employers
On October 28, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 192, which will require a series of workplace protections for workers beginning on November 5, 2020. Importantly, nothing in Executive Order 192 repeals, supersedes, or modifies the requirement of Executive Order 107 that requires businesses to “accommodate their workforce, wherever practical, for telework or work-from home arrangements.” Employers with in-person staffing are also expected to keep staffing to the “minimum number necessary” and to abide by all other restrictions regarding indoor capacity limitations.
Now, in addition to the prior requirements, workplaces that require or permit a workforce to be physically present at a worksite must, at minimum:…
Continue Reading New Jersey implements additional safeguards for workers in response to rising COVID-19 cases