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.
On June 1, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that the state is on track and expected to enter Stage/Phase 2 of the Restart and Recovery Plan on June 15, 2020, which will permit nonessential retail businesses to reopen to the public and permit in-person outdoor dining, so long as required social distancing and other mitigation protocols are followed. Personal care service providers, such as hair salons, nail salons and barber shops are scheduled to reopen on June 22, 2020.
On June 9, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 153, lifting the stay-at-home order that had been in place since March 21, 2020. Executive Order No. 153 states, among other things, “Paragraph 2 of Executive Order No. 107 (2020), which requires New Jersey residents to remain home or at their place of residence with limited exceptions, is hereby rescinded.”
New Jersey employers facing difficult decisions given business challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have been hoping for some relief from the amendments to New Jersey’s Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (NJ WARN Act), set to take effect on July 19, 2020. Simply put, those amendments will lower the bar such that the NJ WARN Act will be triggered by reductions in force that impact 50 or more employees (either full-time or part-time) at or reporting to an establishment (a single location or group of locations within the state) during any 30-day period. In addition, the amendments require employers who lay off employees on or after July 19, 2020, to give employees 90 days’ notice, rather than the 60 days previously required by state law and by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
On March 20, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a new law meant to protect employees who take COVID-19-related leave. New Jersey Assembly Bill 3848 (the Act) provides protections and remedies for such employees and outlines the complaint process for aggrieved individuals. The Act is in direct response to COVID-19 and is meant to protect employees who need to take time off from work because they are or might be infected with COVID-19. The Act was effective immediately.
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On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Governor Murphy issued two additional Executive Orders. The Orders, Executive Order 107 and Executive Order 108 went into effect that same day at 9 p.m. They will remain in effect until revoked or modified.
On March 16, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered all schools, casinos, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters, performing arts center, other concert venues, nightclubs, and other entertainment centers to close to the public effective March 16, 2020 at 8 p.m., except for schools, which were ordered to close effective March 18, 2020. Governor Murphy also limited public gatherings to 50 persons or fewer, excluding normal operations at airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, office environments, factories, assemblages for the purpose of industrial or manufacturing work, construction sites, mass transit, or the purchase of groceries or consumer goods.