New Jersey News & Analysis

  • Blue Virginia likely to legislate more green for workers

    If the Virginia Legislature has its way, a substantial number of workers in the Commonwealth can expect a raise next year. That's because the Virginia Senate and General Assembly are now controlled by Democrats as a result of last fall's elections. Increasing the minimum wage was a major plank of the Democrats' platform in the election. Thus, there's little doubt that when the legislature convenes in January, bills to increase the minimum wage will be introduced and considered. And because Governor Ralph Northam also is a Democrat, he likely will sign into law whatever legislation is passed.

  • Philadelphia domestic workers get bill of rights, new protections

    In a unanimous vote, the Philadelphia City Council recently passed a domestic workers' bill of rights, making it the largest city in the nation to expand such protections. Councilmember Maria Quinones Sanchez introduced the bill, and members Cindy Bass, Jannie Blackwell, William Greenlee, Helen Gym, Cherelle Parker, Blondell Reynolds Brown, and Mark Squilla were cosponsors. The bill drew support from more than 50 unions, community groups, and legal advocacy organizations. Mayor Jim Kenney's spokesperson has already indicated the mayor intends to the sign the bill. A task force to oversee some of the bill's regulations will be established before it takes effect on May 1, 2020.

  • If you're found liable for age discrimination, it's going to cost you

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently scored a win for older workers when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in EEOC v. Baltimore County. As a result, employers can look forward to paying back wages without exception as a remedy for age discrimination.

  • Fluctuating workweek overtime model now illegal in PA

    On November 20, 2019, the Commonwealth's highest court issued a significant decision making it illegal for employers to use the "fluctuating workweek" (FWW) method to calculate overtime pay. In a major departure from long-standing wage and hour practices and federal law, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court outlawed the FWW method because it doesn't guarantee nonexempt employees at least 1 times their regular rate for working more than 40 hours in a workweek, as required by state law.

  • Uber loses attempt to enforce arbitration agreements vs. wheelchair users

    Uber—a ridesharing company that essentially turned "hitching a ride" into a multibillion-dollar business—may not enforce arbitration agreements against wheelchair users who sued it for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania recently ruled. The case, which arose out of the wheelchair users' frustrations over a lack of accessible vehicles, has broader implications for companies that try to enforce arbitration agreements imbedded in the user agreements that typically accompany cellphone apps for services. The court found prospective users who wanted to use Uber's service—but hadn't actually downloaded the Uber app—could still sue the company for ADA violations and weren't bound by the arbitration agreement that accompanies the app's download.

  • Help! Our employee has been arrested; what do we do?!

    Recently, we received this question: "One of our employees has been arrested but not convicted. It doesn't appear he's going to be released in the near future. Is it better to put him in an unpaid 'leave' status or fire him?" Little engenders more worries for an employer than an employee who has been arrested. Below are some considerations to keep in mind if you find yourself in this unenviable position.

  • Court upholds suspension for failing to attend mandatory harassment training

    The New Jersey Appellate Division recently affirmed a Civil Service Commission (CSC) decision imposing a 10-day suspension on a Mercer County Correction Center (MCCC) officer for failing to attend mandatory harassment training. In an unpublished opinion, the court deemed the employee's failure to comply with the directive as "conduct unbecoming a public employee" in violation of the MCCC's administrative procedures and regulations involving safety and security.

  • Proposed Title IX rule changes provide clarity, support, due process rights

    More than a year ago, in November 2018, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) released its proposal for improving schools' responses to sexual harassment and sexual assaults. A proposed Title IX regulation—Title IX is the civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education programs or activities that receive federal funding—has been in the works over the past year with input from students, sexual assault advocates, school administrators, and other stakeholders and strong support from DOE Secretary Betsy DeVos. The rule, which still isn't final, takes important, and controversial, steps toward defining sexual harassment under Title IX and clarifying how it should be reported and investigated, while ensuring due process protections are in place for all students.

  • Handling office romance in #MeToo era: Know your options

    As Valentine's Day nears, love is in the air—and oftentimes in the workplace. Although workplace romance is common, it can make HR professionals fret about all the what-ifs. What if a relationship is between a supervisor and a direct report? What if rumors of favoritism poison the workplace environment? What if one or both participants is married to someone else? What if a couple's public displays of affection make coworkers uncomfortable? What if a relationship goes sour and the breakup affects morale? And perhaps the most important question to consider: What if a relationship is one-sided and is more accurately described as sexual harassment instead of consensual?

  • European countries also confronting #MeToo issues

    As the #MeToo movement enters its third year, its important to note the United States isnt the only country where the awareness of discriminatory and harassing conduct in the workplace has increased dramatically. Governments in Europe and elsewhere also have responded to the urgent need to combat the persistent and unwelcome behavior.