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Discrimination

Monday, January 13, 2020

NJ Independent Contractors and Whistleblowing, “Am I Protected from Retaliation?” Part 1


The New Jersey Senate introduced a bill to distinguish the classifications between “employee” and “Independent Contractor” for the purposes of NJ Wage and Hour laws. Workers, particularly high-end professionals such as IT managers etc., who are classified by their employers as “independent contractors” wonder if this new legislation will offer them protections from retaliation if they whistleblow on their employer’s illegal acts. In many instances, this legislation is unlikely to make a difference due to the evolution of the law by the NJ courts in determining cases brought under NJ’s whistleblower statute, The Conscientious Employee Protection Act, “CEPA”.

This new proposed legislation attempts to prevent widespread practice of mis-classification by employers of their workers, calling them, “independent contractors” when the workers are essentially employees.


Read more . . .


Thursday, January 2, 2020

NJ Independent Contractor and Employee Classifications under New Senate Bill


Many workers feel that they are in a gray zone as to their job classification as to whether they are an independent contractor or employee. As the classification relates to whistleblower to discrimination laws, even an employer’s failure to withhold Federal or State income taxes, pay unemployment compensation contributions or workers' compensation premiums will not necessarily be determinative as to whether the workers are covered under the protection of state whistleblower and discrimination laws.

A new Senate bill proposes to tighten the definition of independent contractor for clarity for both employers and employees. This was prompted by rampant abuses by some employers who did not classify workers as employees so as to not have to adhere to NJ Wage and Hour Laws, not contribute to the workers’ social security and other benefits, and not have the workers be covered under the safety umbrella of employee protection statutes. The language of the proposed amendment however will not necessarily end the confusion as to the proper classification in many industries and may actually add to the confusion in some instances.


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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Help for NJ Employees Who Have Not Been Paid Overtime: Wage Theft Act-Part 2, NJ Wage and Hour Law Amendments


As discussed earlier, the toughest wage theft statute in this country was signed into law this year by Acting Governor Sheila Oliver. The New Jersey Wage Theft Act amends three existing statutes which address employee wages and numerous New Jersey criminal statutes. The drafting of the various provisions of the NJ Wage Theft Act is complex and time will how one or more of the new amendments will affect the others. The three amended statutes effected by this Act are: 1) N.J.


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Thursday, December 19, 2019

NJ Employees and Wage Theft Act-Part 1, NJ Wage Payment Law Amendments


Acting Governor Sheila Oliver signed the New Jersey Wage Theft Act into law earlier this year. This Act is considered by many to be the toughest wage theft statute in the US.The New Jersey Wage Theft Act amends many of NJ’s existing civil and criminal statutes and three employment statutes mandating wages:

Two of the amended statutes addressing wages are:

1.) N.J.


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Friday, December 13, 2019

NJ Employees in Their 60's Feel Nervous about Retiring and Being Pushed out of Jobs


Employees in New Jersey and elsewhere may feel nervous about retiring in their 60's, even when they had previously planned retiring by age 65 or 66 when they were younger workers. Increased costs of living and shrinking pension benefits may be part of the cause of the nervousness for their wanting to extend their retirement age, but anxiety regarding the decision as to the best age to retire can be exacerbated if they perceive they are being pushed out of the workforce by their employer, that their self-determination of when they will choose retire is being taken away from them.

First, employees in NJ should know that in NJ, it is illegal for an employer to fire someone because of their age - even if they are “senior” citizen workers in their 70's and 80's etc. (I personally don’t care for that phrase- “senior citizens” - it’s unfortunately loaded with far too many negative connotations. Hoping that mainstream culture substitutes “venerable” or that something similar will eventually replace it.


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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I Am a NJ, Non-Tenured, Pregnant Teacher; Does My Employer Have Right to Not Renew My Contract, to Not Rehire Me for the Next Academic Year? Part II


While Boards of Education have the right to choose which non-tenured teachers will have their contracts renewed and which they refuse to renew, the refusal cannot be based on illegal reasons. Motherhood is foremost for the continuation of the species! Pregnant women should be protected and supported, not discriminated against! As explained in 


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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

NJ Age Discrimination Employees and S.485, Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act


Earlier this year, the US Senate introduced a bill, S.485, Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA). This bill amends the Federal Statute, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 which would make it easier for age discrimination plaintiffs to prevail in lawsuits brought under the ADEA. This bill’s intent is to establish that it is an unlawful employment discrimination practice when the plaintiff demonstrates that age or participation in investigations, proceedings, or litigation under such Act was a motivating factor for any unlawful employer’s action, even if factors other than the age, or  participation in investigations etc., also motivated the employer’s action against the employee.


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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

I Am a NJ, Non-Tenured, Pregnant Teacher; Does My Employer Have Right to Not Renew My Contract, to Not Rehire Me for the Next Academic Year? Part I


Pregnant teachers in NJ are subject to the same anti-discrimination laws as are employees in other professions and this is true even when the pregnant teacher is non-tenured. Motherhood is foremost for the continuation of the species! Pregnant women should be protected and supported, not discriminated against!  I have successfully represented pregnant, non-tenured teachers whose contacts were not renewed and succeeded in recovering money for them.

Boards of Education have the right to decide which non-tenured employees’ contracts will be renewed and which will not be renewed. However, a decision to not renew cannot be based on an illegal reason. Pregnancy is a defined protected class pursuant to the New Jersey Pregnant Worker's Fairness Act (PWFA).


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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

NJ Professional Women Sexually Harassed by Supervisors at Work


Sexual harassment at work continues to be a problem because it is largely not reported. New Jersey Courts and the US Supreme Court have therefore made it an initially lighter threshold burden to prove a retaliation claim for reporting the sexual harassment than an underlying sex discrimination claim.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-pervasiveness-of-sexual-harassment-in-todays-white-collar-workplace-300679484.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Statistics Show NJ Employees Who Suffer Racial Discrimination at Work Fare Better in State Court than Federal Court


In New Jersey, employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace under both Federal and State laws. Statistics show that race discrimination employees plaintiffs fare better in New Jersey State Court than Federal Court. If you work in NJ, there are other advantages to filing in State Court under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), rather than pursuing your race claim under Federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. A race discrimination Plaintiff can file a NJLAD lawsuit against his employer in State Court without first having to exhaust administrative requirements in a process that is required under the Federal Law, Title VII.  If a person wants to file a race claim under Title VII, he must first file an administrative claim with the EEOC.


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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Earned Sick Leave for Reasons Other than Sickness, Such as Addressing Domestic or Sexual Violence or Attending Child’s School Conference- EELC Part II


If you are a Covered Employee under NJ’s Earned Sick Leave Law, you may be paid for time off for certain situations which address domestic or sexual violence against yourself or a family member, including counseling sessions and attending court proceedings, and for attending required meetings or conferences called by your child’s teacher or school administrator.

Permitted usage of earned sick leave is as follows:

§ 34:11D-3 a). An employer shall permit an employee to use the earned sick leave accrued pursuant to this act for any of the following:

(1) time needed for diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or for preventive medical care for the employee;

(2) time needed for the employee to aid or care for a family member of the employee during diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, the family member’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or during preventive medical care for the family member;

(3) absence necessary due to circumstances resulting from the employee, or a family member of the employee, being a victim of domestic or sexual violence, if the leave is to allow the employee to obtain for the employee or the family member: medical attention needed to recover from physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic or sexual violence; services from a designated domestic violence agency or other victim services organization; psychological or other counseling; relocation; or legal services, including obtaining a restraining order or preparing for, or participating in, any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to the domestic or sexual violence;

(4) time during which the employee is not able to work because of a closure of the employee’s workplace, or the school or place of care of a child of the employee, by order of a public official due to an epidemic or other public health emergency, or because of the issuance by a public health authority of a determination that the presence in the community of the employee, or a member of the employee’s family in need of care by the employee, would jeopardize the health of others; or

(5) time needed by the employee in connection with a child of the employee to attend a school-related conference, meeting, function or other event requested or required by a school administrator, teacher, or other professional staff member responsible for the child’s education, or to attend a meeting regarding care provided to the child in connection with the child’s health conditions or disability.

Do I have to supply advance notice to my employer if I want paid sick leave off?

The ESLL articulates several conditions and steps as to its notice requirements. Under the statute, § 34:11D-3 b).


Read more . . .


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