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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

NJ Employees Have Whistleblower Protection under CEPA and Common Law


NJ employees have Whistleblower Protection under both the CEPA statute and the lesser known common law, which whistleblower common law protection in the legal profession is referred to as a “Pierce” claim.

The relevant statutory whistleblower protection is the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA). CEPA, under § 34:19-3, mandates in part that an employer is prohibited from taking any retaliatory action against an employee because he/she discloses, or threatens to disclose to a supervisor or public body; or objects to, or refuses to participate in any activity, policy or practice of the employer that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, or a rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to law,  or is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy concerning the public health, safety or welfare or protection of the environment, or, in the case of an employee who is certified health care professional, reasonably believes constitutes improper quality of patient care.

An employee’s whistleblower statute claim under CEPA arises when the employee reports or refuses to participate in as described above, what they reasonably believe to be the employer’s illegal conduct and is then suspended, terminated, or has other retaliatory adverse action taken against him/her by the employer.

Under NJ’S common law claim, an employee has a whistleblower cause of action, a “Pierce claim,” for wrongful termination when the termination is contrary to a clear mandate of public policy.


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Friday, August 2, 2019

Can I File a Retaliation Claim Even If I Am Denied Workers' Compensation Benefits?


Yes, if your employer discriminated in any manner against you because you attempted to file a claim for benefits, even if you are denied benefits, you may file a claim for unlawful retaliation. A NJ Workers’ Compensation Retaliation claim may be filed in State Court. New Jersey employers are strictly prohibited from retaliating against a worker for filing or attempting to file a claim for Workers' Compensation benefits.

In its anti-retaliation provision, N.J.


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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

In NJ Is It Illegal Age Discrimination If My Contract Is Not Renewed?


Clients have come to me devastated when their employers informed them that their employment contract was not being renewed. This is especially disheartening when it is after years of faithful service and a history of successful performance. A question that is commonly asked is, “Can this be illegal age discrimination, if I was not actually fired?” The simple answer is “Yes” if the facts support discrimination based on age. The New Jersey Supreme Court has definitely held that a failure to renew a contract based on age is the equivalent of an actual termination based on age, which under the NJLAD is illegal.

I have successfully represented persons in their 70's and 80's who were long-term employees of public entities and private employers, who did not have their contract renewed after years of service and was successful in obtaining monetary compensation for them.


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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

New Jersey, Bergen County’s LGBTQ Pride on 50th Anniversary of Stonewall


New Jersey recognized LGBTQ Pride Month as June in keeping with the national LGBTQ Pride month of June. Towns in New Jersey such as Englewood in Bergen County gave special recognition to the LGBTQ community in June. June was chosen as the special month for LGBTQ Pride because the Stonewall riots took place in June of 1969. The Stonewall riots in New York City is the most widely known of LGBTQ resistance/confrontation historical events. On its 50th anniversary, Stonewall is arguably the most famous rebellion having the most social impact regarding gays and lesbians fighting back on harassment and discrimination because of their sexual orientation and identity.


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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

In NJ, Can I Sue My Employer If I Signed an Arbitration Agreement?


Clients have sought my help when they signed, or thought they might have signed, an arbitration agreement given to them by their employer. Frequently, the employer did not provide them with a copy, and sometimes signing an arbitration agreement is part of the written job application process. Too often, employees only become fully cognizant of the agreement, when the employer produces it after a lawsuit is filed by the employee, in an attempt to get the employee’s case dismissed by the court.

If you signed, or think you might have signed, an arbitration agreement, and believe that your employer illegally discriminated or retaliated against you, or committed other illegal acts against you, you should contact this law firm immediately. This law firm has a successful track record of recovering money for clients who signed arbitration agreements and then later filed lawsuits against the employer.


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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

New Jersey’s Republicans, Democrats: Can I Be Fired for Discussing Politics at Work?


Certain hot topics in the news have a way of becoming a topic of discussion in the workplace and employees wonder if they have a right to discuss these matters under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or if they can be fired for discussing politics at work.

First, much of this depends on whether you work for a private or a public employer. The First Amendment was written to restrict the government’s curtailing one’s right of freedom of speech but not on a private employer’s imposing restrictions of freedom of speech on its employees as a condition of employment.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

NJ Gay Corporate Executives, Statistics Demonstrate Corporate Anti-Discrimination Policies Not Effective as to Top Tier Executives


Top tier gay executives still report discrimination even with established corporate anti-discrimination policies and procedures. For the past decade, the press has reported the filing of lawsuits by top tier corporate executives who alleged they were discriminated against because they were gay or that their corporate employer retaliated against them after they complained about discrimination. One such most recent case was filed this month in the Supreme Court in the State of New York by the former employee, the plaintiff, against Goldman Sachs. According to the complaint filed by the plaintiff, he alleges that he was a Vice-President at Goldman Sachs, an 18-year employee, and one of the most senior LGBTQ leaders. He alleged he was subjected to homophobic treatment, was told that he sounded, “too gay” and was told, “What’s wrong with you, do you act this way because you are gay?” He alleges that in spite of his exemplary employment record and accomplishments, he was fired in retaliation for his complaining about the discrimination.


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Monday, June 3, 2019

Should NJ Employees Agree to Shorter Time to File a Lawsuit Against Employer? Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act


Employers sometimes shuffle a blaze of papers in front of an employee and tell him/her that all employees must sign the papers as a condition of continued employment. One of the papers they sometimes push employees to sign is a paper saying that if they decide to file a lawsuit, that they consent to a certain statute of limitations to file the lawsuit. Their suggested statute of limitations is invariably shorter than that permissible by law; why else would the employer want it?

The “Statute of Limitations” to file a lawsuit is the time frame set by legislation where a person needs to file the lawsuit to enforce rights or seek redress after injury or damage. The policy underlying such enactment of laws regarding statutes of limitations, concerns the belief that there is a point beyond which a prospective defendant should no longer need to worry about the possible commencement in the future of a lawsuit against him. There are also judicial evidentiary concerns, that the law rightly or wrongly may disfavor older uncorroborated allegations and evidence, and that no one should be able to sit on their rights for an unreasonable amount of time without forfeiting his/her claims.


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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

New Jersey’s #Metoo Movement’s Far-Reaching Effects, Non-Disclosure Legislation, Do I Have to Keep Silent?


While many (though typically not women) were shocked at the breadth of workplace sexual harassment, the “#Metoo” movement which has been in the news for the last few years, the New Jersey legislature in response took action to attempt to curb the “hushing up” of victims of sexual predators in the workplace. New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy signed into law Bill S-121 on March 18, 2019, which attempts to despoil non-disclosure agreements in settlements in sexual harassment claims and other claims brought under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The movement of “#Metoo” was motivated by the sexual harassment victims but had the unintended effect of despoiling non-disclosure agreements in all types of settlements of employment discrimination matters brought under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) , i.e.


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Monday, May 20, 2019

Can I Be Fired for Discussing My Pay with Other Employees? The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act


Many employers have issued rules and warnings to employees that they are prohibited from discussing their salary with other employees. I, myself, worked for employers who had that rule in the workplace. Sometimes, employers have been so bold as to mandate that this is a company rule in the official Employee Handbook. In New Jersey, an employer's prohibition against employees comparing their pay and compensation with one another became illegal as of July 1, 2018, the date the


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Friday, May 10, 2019

When NJ Truck Drivers Complain about Long Hours


When NJ truck drivers, office workers, medical staff and others are forced by the employer to work long hours as a condition of their job, the employee may wonder if this is legal. Driver fatigue and public safety are an issue for all. State and Federal Codes and Regulations regarding driving were written not just for the safety of the driver, but for others on the road and the public in general. If you are a NJ truck driver and your employer forced you to drive without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty*; or your employer does not schedule your work so that a driver may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty*; or your employer forces you to drive more than  a total of 11 hours during the 14-hour period specified above;* and you complained and you employer retaliated against you, you may have a valid whistleblower claim. [ *Note: quoted from statute in effect on May 8, 2019, and may be subject to change at any time.


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