Tag Archives: New Jersey

With A New Year Comes New Rules! Here’s Your State Employment Law Update

Contributed by Heather Bailey

California: Effective January 1, 2015, the required paid for rest periods are considered “hours worked” by the employee, and, consequently, are not subject to wage deductions by the employer.  (California also has special requirements for making any deductions from their paychecks that you should be aware of before making any).

Colorado: Minimum wage rose to $8.23 per hour on January 1 

Connecticut: As of the first of the year, CT’s minimum wage went to $9.15 per hour.  Are you aware there is a paid sick leave law in CT?  If not, be sure to contact your employment counsel or the blog author as some changes were made beginning January 1st.

DCAs of December 17, 2014, employers cannot ask applicants certain information about their criminal backgrounds and any rescinding of a conditional offer of employment must be backed up with a legitimate business reason.  Moreover, employers are required to reasonably accommodate pregnant women when their workload is affected by pregnancy, child birth and child-related medical conditions (i.e., breast feeding).

Massachusetts:  Effective January 1, minimum wage increased to $9 per hour.  July 1, 2015, employers with 11 or more employees will be required to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees.

MarylandMaryland’s minimum wage rose to $8.00 as of January 1st.

Missouri: Effective January 1, all equal-priority garnishments should now be prioritized by date of receipt.

New Jersey: NJ joined the other states starting March 1, 2015 to “Ban the Box” and prohibits job advertisements from stating only those without a criminal past can apply.

New York Effective December 31st this past year, minimum wage increased for NY to $8.75 per hour.  Effective immediately, employers will not be required to notify their employees in writing by February 1 about pay rates, pay days, etc. and get signed acceptance.  Employers do still need to abide by their obligation to notify employees of the same at time of hire.

Ohio:  Ohio has now given employers the ability to seek out protective orders when dealing with employees’ stalker or menacing issues when the conduct is directed at the employer.

Rhode Island: Your minimum wage increased to $9 an hour beginning this month.

Vermont: Your minimum wage increased to $9.15 an hour beginning this month.

Please keep in mind that the majority of states increased their minimum wages and you should contact your employment labor counsel or the blog author to confirm you are in compliance.

State Employment Law Update

Contributed by Heather Bailey

Federal:   Federal Contractors be on alert! In an attempt to get Congressional support to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers, President Obama announced that he was going to be issuing an Executive Order that will require federal contract employers to pay workers a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour on any new federal contracts.  This could happen as soon as the next week or so.

The NLRB poster rule has gone by the wayside.  The NLRB gave up its fight to require all private employers to post the union-friendly poster by allowing the Supreme Court’s review deadline to pass without appealing two appellate court decisions that declined the NLRB’s implementation for this posting requirement.  Federal Contractors, you may still be required to display the poster depending on the date of your federal contract.

Colorado:   If you aren’t already, you should be paying minimum wage of $8.00 an hour ($4.98 for tipped employees) as of January 1.  Moreover, under Colorado’s new personal information protection law, employers are prohibited from requiring employees or applicants to allow them access to personal social media accounts, though they may still search information that is publicly available online.  Fines come with violating this law, so be precise on how you go about searching.

Delaware:  As of June 1, 2014, minimum wage increases to $7.75 per hour and to $8.25 an hour on June 1, 2015.

Missouri: Missouri looking for support for LGBT discrimination protection: In his recent State of the State address, Gov. Jay Nixon asked the legislature to pass a law adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected categories covered by the state’s workplace discrimination laws.  A bill passed the Senate last term, but the House failed to vote on the bill before the session ran out.

New Jersey:  REMINDER! All employers with 50 or more employees should be posting and distributing (with a signed acknowledgment) the new NJ poster re state and federal equal pay laws and discrimination prohibitions.  Get your latest copy here: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/EmployerPosterPacket/AD-290GenderEquity1-14.pdf.

Got 10 or more employees in Newark, NJ?  If so, you may be required to start offering your employees paid sick time under the new Worker Sick Leave Ordinance (WSLO) that just needs the Mayor’s signature to take effect sometime in late May, early June.  Stay tuned for final implementation!

New Mexico:  In December 2013, this state joined the ranks of same-sex marriages, and, thus, these new marital statuses must be recognized and protected for employment purposes (including applicants).

New York: For those employers with 20 or more employees in New York City, have you drafted your required sick time policy under the New York City Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA) yet?  If not, you’ve got until April 1 to implement.  Seek counsel’s assistance to ensure compliance.

Ring In The New Year With These Federal and State Employment Law Updates!

Contributed by Heather Bailey

Federal:  Attention Federal Contractor/Subcontractor Employers! In order to be in compliance with affirmative action obligations, applicable employers must start tracking those applicants and employees who are disabled and/or are qualified protected veterans, who choose to self-identify.  This also means having a written affirmative action plan with utilization goals for these classes of individuals.  For those employers who are affected, this will begin applying to all plans drafted as of March 24, 2014 and after.  It is a good idea to start meeting with your IT and HR professionals now on how such data is going to be collected and analyzed for the upcoming new plans.

CaliforniaEffective January 1, 2014, California cracks down on those employers who choose to discriminate against or threaten those employees or applicants due to an employee’s or family member’s citizenship or immigration status or involvement in protecting such rights.

Illinois:  As of January 1, 2014, employers now have the ability to seek protection orders against employees who create or threat workplace violence.  Prior to now, this protection was not available for workplace violence created by employees.  Starting June 1, 2014, employers must recognize the marital status of those employees who have entered into same-sex marriages.

Missouri:  Minimum wage = $7.50 starting January 1 and $3.75 for tipped employees (due to inflation regulations).

New Jersey:  Starting January 6, 2014, all employers with 50 or more employees must post and distribute (with a signed acknowledgment) the new NJ poster re: state and federal equal pay laws and discrimination prohibitions.  Get your latest copy here.

A LOT Is Happening In Your State Employment Laws!

Contributed by Heather Bailey

ArizonaMinimum wage raises to $7.90 per hour on January 1, 2014.

CaliforniaEffective January 1, 2014, employers may no longer ask applicants or employees about any sealed conviction records, unless they get the individual’s consent first to use. Generally, it is best to stay away from any such sealed records when making any employment determinations.  Also effective this same date, employers may not discriminate against veterans or those with a military status.

Moreover, computer software employees are now exempt from overtime if they make at least $40.38 per hour and their annual salary is at least $84,130.53.  As always, you want to make sure these employees are also considered exempt under the FLSA as well.  If they are not, then they remain non-exempt.

Minimum wage = $9.00 per hour effective July 1, 2014 and $10 effective January 1, 2016.

ColoradoLooks as if Minimum Wage Order 30 will be approved, raising minimum wage to $8.00 per hour and to $4.98 for tipped employees effective January 1, 2014.  Stay tuned.

FloridaMinimum wage is increased to $7.93 per hour and $4.91 for tipped employees on January 1, 2014.

Illinois:  Effective January 1, 2014, medical marijuana becomes legal for certain uses – but as employers, you don’t necessarily have to accommodate employees for this use.

Montana:  Minimum wage = $7.90 starting January 1, 2014.

New Jersey:  As of October 21, NJ now recognizes the marital status of those employees and applicants who have entered into same-sex marriages.  Also, it is pretty much a done deal that minimum wage is going to $8.25 per hour effective January 1, 2014, with yearly cost-of-living increases, once the unofficial election votes are made official.

New YorkHaving payroll problems with paying employees too much and want to recoup that money?  In NY, you can do so now.  These regulations have changed for reimbursement and should be consulted when making such pay back deductions.

OhioOH’s minimum wage reaches $7.95 per hour and $3.98 for tipped employees on January 1, 2014.

OregonEmployees’ and applicants’ marital status of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions will now be recognized effective October 16.

Rhode IslandEffective July 15, 2014, employers can no longer be liable to employees or applicants for civil damages, demands or claims when the employer relies upon a criminal background check when making an employment decision based upon a conviction.

VermontVT’s minimum wage is going to $8.73 per hour and $4.23 for tipped employees on January 1 2014.

Washington:  Minimum wage increase to $9.32 an hour as of January 1, 2014 as well.

What’s New Around The World In Your States’ Various Employment Laws

Contributed by Heather Bailey

FederalAll applicable federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to comply with new regulations for their Veterans and Disabled Affirmative Action Plans by now having to determine quantifiable hiring goals just like it has been for females and minorities.  Seek counsel assistance to make sure you’re ready and prepared for the approaching March 2014 compliance deadline.

Delaware: Effective September 6, 2013, volunteer emergency responders became a newly protected class from discrimination.

Illinois: Illinois amended its social media privacy law, and, effective January 1, 2014, employers may now request access from applicants and employees for “professional” social media accounts when the employer has a duty to screen the individual.  But be cautious, employers and their agents may now be sued for any illegal electronic communication monitoring of individuals, effective January 1 as well.

Indiana:  This state took one step forward and then one step back in September when it’s Right to Work law was found unconstitutional by a Lake County Circuit Court judge.  The judge found the law required the Union to work for free for union employees who did not pay dues, and, thus, did not pay “just compensation” for the Union’s services.  Comments have been made that the Attorney General will be appealing this decision to the Indiana Supreme Court.  Stay tuned.

New Jersey: NJ joined other states, like Illinois, by requiring unpaid leave, as of October 1, 2013, to those employees who are victims of domestic and/or sexual violence or have family members who are victims.  If you do not have such a policy in place, now is the time to draft one!  Also, effective December 1, 2013, employers will be prohibited from requiring employees to give their personal logins and passwords for their personal social media accounts. 

OregonMinimum wage increases to $9.10 per hour on January 1, 2014.

New Jersey Enacts New Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Leave Law Effective October 1, 2013

Contributed by Sara Zorich

On July 17, 2013, Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, signed into law the “New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act” (“NJ SAFE Act”) to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  The NJ SAFE Act is applicable to private employers in New Jersey that have 25 or more employees and is effective as of October 1, 2013.  Pursuant to the Act, employers must display a conspicuous notice of employees’ rights and obligations under the Act, in a form to be provided by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and to use “other appropriate means to keep its employees informed.”  No notice is yet available from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Eligible employees (defined by the Act as those who have been employed for at least 12 months and have at least 1,000 base hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave) in New Jersey are entitled to up to 20 days of unpaid leave, as needed, within one year of the incident, if they or their spouse, parent, child, domestic partner or civil union partner are a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.  The leave must be taken related to the domestic violence or sexual assault for any one of the following purposes: (1) seeking medical attention for, or recovering from, physical or psychological injuries; (2) obtaining services from a victim organization; (3) obtaining psychological or other counseling; (4) participating in safety planning, relocation, or taking other actions to increase safety; (5) seeking legal assistance or remedies to ensure health and safety; or (6) attending, participating in or preparing for a criminal or civil court proceeding relating to the incident.

If the leave is foreseeable, employees must provide employers with as much written notice as is reasonable and practical of the need for leave under NJ SAFE Act.  Employers may require or employees may choose to exhaust accrued paid leave (i.e. vacation, PTO, sick time, etc.) during their leave provided by NJ SAFE Act before using unpaid time. 

Employers may require documentation to support the leave for which any of the following are sufficient: (1) restraining order or other documentation of relief issued by the court; (2) letter from the prosecutor; (3) documentation of offender’s conviction; (4) medical documentation of incident; (5) certification from a certified Domestic Violence Specialist, director of designated domestic violence agency or Rape Crisis Center or (6) other documentation by a social worker, clergy, shelter worker or other professional assisting with the incident.  All information provided must be kept confidential by the employer and employers may not retaliate or discriminate against an employee for taking leave under the Act.

Multi-State Employers: Do These New State Laws Pertain To You?

Contributed by Heather Bailey

Arizona Min. WageBe sure you’ve increased minimum wage to $7.80.

California Criminal Background Checks:  Effective January 1, 2013, if you perform background checks by obtaining state criminal history information, you must start giving applicants  a copy of their state summary criminal history information – promptly – if this information played a part in any adverse action like not hiring them for the job.

Florida Min. Wage:  Minimum wage now equals $7.79 per hour.

Georgia Criminal Records:  In July, arrest and criminal records access is going to change. For example, access will no longer be for any arrest and employers must supply either fingerprints or detailed information regarding the individual, such as full name, address, Social Security number, race, sex, and date of birth, which is accompanied by a signed consent on a form approved by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Information Center.

Illinois Workplace Violence Initiative:  The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is actively working on legislation that will give employers an avenue to get temporary restraining orders when persons cause threat of violence in the workplace.   Stay tuned for this much needed legislation!

Michigan Employee Private Social Media:  In December 2012, Michigan joined the bandwagon of prohibiting employers from requiring employees and applicants to give up their social media logins and passwords and from taking adverse action against them should they not comply with the request.  Effective March 28, 2013, Michigan will become one of our nation’s right to work states.  So, generally, employers cannot require employees to join or remain a member of a union.  Finally, you may now be able to collect a minimal administrative fee (i.e., $1-$2) for child support garnishments each time a deduction is made.

Missouri Min. Wage:  Minimum wage is raised to $7.35 an hour – be sure you’ve made this increase!

New Jersey Posting Requirements:  If you have 50 or more employees, there are new notice and posting requirements in place from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Department of Law and Public Safety’s Division on Civil Rights for gender equality in the workforce and anti-discrimination.

Vermont Min. Wage: Your minimum wage went up too – $8.60 per hour.

State laws change every day.  Make sure you are aware of them all for the states in which you have employees!