In May 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy made good on a campaign promise when he signed into law the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (the “Act”). New Jersey is one of ten states that require employers to provide paid sick leave, joining Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Before the state passed the Act, more than a dozen New Jersey municipalities had enacted their own paid sick leave laws, creating confusion for employers conducting business throughout New Jersey. The Act now preempts these local laws and bars municipalities from passing their own paid sick leave laws. The preemption aspect of the Act is welcome news for employers because they will only have to comply with the Act, rather than a patchwork of local laws. Here are some important components of the Act that employers should be aware of before its effective date on October 29.
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On May 30, 2017, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation regulating employee schedules in the retail industry. The new “predictable scheduling” law, which is set to take effect on November 26, 2017, prohibits “on-call” shifts and otherwise limits employer flexibility in creating work schedules.
Employers Covered By the Law
The law applies to any “retail employer,” which is defined as an employer: (1) with at least 20 employees (including fulltime, part-time and temporary employees); and (2) that is primarily engaged in selling “consumer goods” at a store or stores in New York City. The law defines “consumer goods” as “products that are primarily for personal, household, or family purposes, including but not limited to appliances, clothing, electronics, groceries, and household items.”
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Bill Horwitz published an article for HR Dive titled, “The most important questions to ask during internal investigations into employment-related issues.” In the article, Bill discusses internal investigations and the key questions an investigator should always ask.
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Earlier this month, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, issued a decision that may cause employers considering mandatory arbitration agreements to consider jury-waiver agreements instead. In Noren v. Heartland Payment Systems, Inc., 2017 WL 476216 (App. Div. Feb. 6, 2017), the Court invalidated a jury-waiver provision’s application to statutory employment claims, but explained that, worded properly, such waivers are enforceable. Litigating in court without a jury has certain advantages and New Jersey employers considering arbitration programs may also want to consider jury waiver provisions as another possible option.
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Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit resolved a split among the four New York district courts regarding whether a plaintiff can recover cumulative liquidated damages awards under both the Fair Labor Standards Act (federal law) and the New York Labor Law (state law) for the same wage and hour violation. In Chowdhury v. Hamza Express Food Corp., 2016 WL 7131854 (2d Cir. Dec. 7, 2016), the Court held that a plaintiff cannot receive double recovery. The decision will have a significant practical impact on wage and hour litigation.
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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a significant decision last week addressing the compensation of tipped employees who perform non-tipped work. In Schaefer v. Walker Bros. Enterprises, 2016 WL 3874171 (7th Cir. July 15, 2016), a restaurant server in Illinois pursued a class and collective action alleging, among other things, that his employer violated state and federal wage and hour laws by failing to pay servers minimum wage for the time they spent on non-tipped duties. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment dismissal of the lawsuit. The Court held that an employer may compensate a tipped employee at the reduced “tip credit rate” of pay for: (1) limited non-tipped work incidental or related to tipped work; and (2) other negligible non-tipped work. The decision provides helpful guidance to restaurant employers regarding the types of duties that tipped employees may perform at a reduced rate of pay.
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