New Jersey Employment Beat

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

On June 9, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced on Twitter that he was “signing an Executive Order LIFTING [New Jersey’s] STAY-AT-HOME ORDER” as the state enters “Phase 2” of the recovery process.  Many news outlets and employers took this announcement to mean there would be significant changes for New Jersey businesses.  However, the executive orders the Governor signed on June 9, 2020 brought only incremental change and will not adjust operations for most New Jersey office workers.

As New Jersey continues on the road to recovery, Executive Order 152 eliminates the earlier requirement that mandated (with limited exceptions) that New Jersey residents remain at home.  This Order, however (along with many of the recent New Jersey executive orders slowly lifting Covid-19 restrictions) is focused more on recreational and personal activities than workplace operations.  Specifically, the Order adjusts requirements for permissible indoor and outdoor gatherings, allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people and indoor gatherings of up to 25% of a building’s capacity, to a maximum of 50 people.  Such gatherings are also subject to several additional requirements, including wearing face coverings, demarcating six feet, and arranging for contactless payment for any fees and/or donations wherever feasible.Continue Reading New Jersey “lifts” stay at home order – but little changes for most employers

New Jersey started the reopening process, lifting restrictions on certain business operations the State previously shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As employers in these industries resume operations, there are many legal considerations, including adopting policies and practices to ensure compliance with the State’s required mitigation efforts.

While New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is permitting many outdoor industries to reopen as the summer season approaches, these businesses will remain subject to an array of legal requirements. The specific requirements for each industry are laid out in a series of Executive Orders signed by Governor Murphy, including: EO 142 (non-essential construction, non-essential retail), EO 143 (beaches & boardwalks), EO 146 (charter boats and watercraft rentals), and EO 147 (outdoor recreation). While the exact requirements vary by industry, all of the requirements are aimed at maintaining social distancing, limiting person-to-person contact, and mitigating exposure risks for employees and customers.Continue Reading New Jersey slowly begins lifting operating restrictions for certain industries

As the Garden State continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed Executive Order 125, expanding the industries subject to additional mitigation requirements.  This Executive Order includes similar requirements to those set forth in Executive Order 122, discussed here, but applies these requirements to the Restaurant and Transportation Industries.

Bars and dining establishments are already subject to restrictions limiting their services to delivery and takeout.  Under Executive Order 125, they must also adopt policies that, at a minimum:
Continue Reading New Jersey implements additional mitigation requirements for restaurants and transit providers

On April 14, 2020, Governor Murphy signed bill S2374 into law, marking the second time since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak that the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) has been amended. Our blog post about the prior change is available here. The NJFLA, which covers all employers in the state with 30

On April 14, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed S-2353, which amends the New Jersey Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (New Jersey’s mini-WARN statute) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we previously reported here, New Jersey amended its mini-WARN statute in January 2020. Among the January amendments was the requirement that employers who conduct a covered “mass layoff” pay affected employees severance equivalent to one week’s pay for each year of employment. The January 2020 amendment was set to go into effect on July 19, 2020. Yesterday’s amendments resulting from S-2353 provide employers with some much-needed relief from these requirements.
Continue Reading New Jersey amends mini-Warn Act amid COVID-19 pandemic, providing some relief to employers

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently affirmed the reinstatement of an employee’s complaint alleging disability discrimination based on his registered medical marijuana user status, reasoning that the employee was entitled to disability protections despite violating the employer’s drug policies.  This case, as well as recent amendments to the state’s medical marijuana law, indicate that employers in New Jersey should engage in the interactive process when considering accommodation requests from registered users and should not take any adverse action against a registered user simply because of their status. 

Continue Reading New Jersey’s wild ride – The status of cannabis user employment protections and how we got here

As the Garden State continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 122 on April 8, 2020, imposing additional restrictions on businesses permitted to continue operating.  The Order takes effect at 8 p.m. on April 10, 2020 and expands on Governor Murphy’s earlier Stay at Home Order requiring the closure of non-essential retail businesses.  The Order imposes requirements on the operations of essential businesses, requires all employers to adopt policies pertaining to potential exposures in the workplace, and requires that owners of buildings where essential businesses operate implement cleaning protocols.
Continue Reading Governor Murphy issues Executive Order further limiting business operations in New Jersey