By: Jerrold J. Wohlgemuth
The Department of Homeland Security has issued new and revised I-9 Forms that employers must begin using on May 7 for all new hires. Failure to properly complete and retain the new forms can result in substantial fines and penalties. With immigration being a hot issue in Washington, we should expect that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) will be vigilant in conducting audits to enforce the I-9 requirements. Beware of ICE!
ICE will continue to focus its resources on the criminal prosecution of employers that knowingly hire illegal workers. Audits of employers for compliance with I-9 requirements is the principal tool for ICE to identify and prosecute violators. Unfortunately, those audits often result not in prosecution for hiring illegals, but in the imposition of substantial fines for paperwork and retention mistakes even where such mistakes have nothing to … Read More »
By: Jerrold J. Wohlgemuth
Does an unaccepted offer of judgment for full relief made prior to a motion to certify moot the plaintiff’s claim in an FLSA collective action? That was the question we hoped the Supreme Court would answer in Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk. Unfortunately, the majority in the 5-4 opinion issued April 16 refused to decide that question, finding that the issue was not properly before the Court because the plaintiff had conceded her claim was moot in the district court and Third Circuit, and had not contested the issue in her opposition to the petition for certiorari. While we now know from the dissent that Justices Kagan, Breyer, Sotomayor and Ginsburg would find that an unaccepted offer of judgment has no impact on the validity of the underlying claim, the majority opinion leaves unresolved a split among … Read More »
By: Helen Tuttle and Noreen Cull
The latest Facebook case highlights how courts now intend to hold parties accountable when it comes to preserving their personal social media accounts during litigation. Recently, a federal court ruled that a plaintiff’s deletion of his Facebook account during discovery constituted spoliation of evidence and warranted an “adverse inference” instruction against him at trial. Gatto v. United Airlines and Allied Aviation Servs., et al. , No. 10-CV-1090 (D.N.J. March 25, 2013).
The plaintiff, a ground operations supervisor at JFK Airport, allegedly suffered permanent disabling injuries from an accident at work which he claimed limited his physical and social activities. Defendants sought discovery related to Plaintiff’s damages, including documents related to his social media accounts.
Although Plaintiff provided Defendants with the signed authorization for release of information from certain social networking sites and other online services such as eBay, … Read More »
Blowing The Wrong Whistle – Close Scrutiny Of Code Of Ethics Dooms Nurse’s Lawsuit Under New Jersey’s Whistleblower Statute
By: Lawrence J. Del Rossi
New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) is remedial legislation designed to protect employees who “blow the whistle” on illegal or unethical activity committed by their employers or co-workers. To be sure, CEPA is a powerful anti-retaliation statute, providing an array of significant remedies to an aggrieved party. However, as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. A recent decision by the Appellate Division, Hitesman v. Bridgeway, Inc. (decided March 22, 2013), highlights the important gatekeeping functions of trial courts in CEPA cases. Click here for a copy of Hitesman. http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a0140-11.pdf.
Not every employee who “blows a whistle” is a “whistleblower” subject to the protections of CEPA. An employee who lacks an objectively reasonable belief that his or her employer’s conduct violated a law or public policy or constituted improper quality of patient care cannot, … Read More »