The Fate of Non-Compete Agreements in New Jersey Remains Unknown

New Jersey may become the latest state to join the growing trend of states enacting legislation to limit the use of common restrictive covenants, such as non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. In May of 2022, Assembly Bill 3715 (“A3715”) was introduced in the New Jersey legislature which, if passed, would significantly impact employers’ ability to enforce non-compete agreements and impose significant obligations aimed at deterring employers from entering into such agreements.

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NYC Releases Fact Sheet on Salary Transparency Requirements in Job, Transfer and Promotion Advertisements – While the City Council Debates Delaying Enactment of the New Law

Employers face new challenges in navigating state and local pay equity laws. New York City joins a number of other jurisdictions that now require employers to disclose pay ranges when advertising job postings – including for incumbents as well as new hires. This law is set to take effect on May 15, 2022 (unless delayed by pending legislation discussed below). The New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “NYCCHR”) recently published a fact sheet providing guidance with regard to Local Law 32 of 2022 (the “NYC Law”). The NYC Law requires all covered employers to include a minimum and a maximum salary in any advertisement for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity.

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State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q1 2022

The first quarter of 2022 continued the trend of increasing regulation of the workplace by state and local governments. Although it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this update provides an overview of recent and upcoming legislative developments to help you and your organization stay in compliance. (Please note that developments related to issues such as minimum wage rates and COVID-19 are not included.)

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9th Circuit Says Forum Selection and Choice of Law in Employment Agreement Violate California Law

On March 14, 2022, the 9th Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s decision in DePuy Synthes Sales, Inc. v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp. and Stryker Corp., that invalidated the New Jersey forum selection clause in the employment contract of Stryker’s former sales associate as a matter of California law and denied Stryker’s motion to transfer the litigation to New Jersey. Though forum selection clauses are generally enforceable under federal law, the 9th Circuit reasoned that deference must be given to state law in determining the validity of a forum selection clause before considering whether the clause is enforceable under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).

The case involved a former Stryker medical device sales associate, Jonathan Waber, who was employed by Stryker in California and who signed an employment contract with Stryker without legal representation. The agreement included non-competition and non-solicitation provisions, and also included forum-selection and choice-of-law clauses requiring adjudication of contract disputes in New Jersey. After less than one year of employment with Stryker, Waber left Stryker to work for one of its competitors, DePuy. After receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Stryker, DePuy and Waber preemptively filed a declaratory judgment action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Stryker and its subsidiary, Howmedica.

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NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission Presses Pause on Physical Evaluation Requirement for Drug Testing

As we discussed in a previous alert, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA) brought new employment protections for job applicants and employees who lawfully use cannabis off-duty. In addition, CREAMMA preserved an employer’s right to conduct drug testing of its workforce, but added a new requirement: testing for suspected use of cannabis must be accompanied by a physical evaluation to determine the employee’s level of impairment while engaged in performing job duties, as conducted by an individual certified to opine on the employee’s state of impairment.

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Getting Into the Weeds: What the Legalization of Recreational Cannabis Means for New Jersey Employers

New Jersey recently joined a growing number of states and territories — including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, California, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington — legalizing recreational marijuana or cannabis. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy enacted the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA) on February 22, 2021 — legalizing the recreational use of cannabis for adults ages 21 and older — after New Jersey voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative last November. The law comes with new employment protections for off-duty cannabis users that will significantly change how employers screen and conduct drug testing of job applicants and employees.

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