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
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
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
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.
A part of the hiring process for many employers involves asking applicants about their prior salary and compensation information. Employers might use this information in deciding whether to make an offer to a particular candidate and the amount of compensation to offer the potential employee. However, beginning January 1, 2020, employers in New Jersey will no longer be permitted to request this information.
The new law prohibits New Jersey employers from inquiring into an employee’s salary history before making an offer; using salary history to “screen” an applicant; or requiring an applicant’s salary history to meet any minimum or maximum criteria. Employers also cannot use an applicant’s refusal to volunteer compensation information as a factor in any employment decision. There are certain exemptions, including internal applicants and disclosures required by federal law.…