What Are My Workplace Rights?
A New Jersey Employment Attorney Explains
Employment law in New Jersey allows workers to garner a fair wage and protect them from discrimination and intimidation while doing so. Do you feel that you were wrongly terminated? Are you not being a paid a minimum wage or for overtime? Have you been sexually harassed? You can receive compensation and be vindicated in court.
At Keefe Law Firm, our staff of skilled and experienced New Jersey employment attorneys understand the unique circumstances of workplace violations. We stand prepared to provide you with the required individualized counsel and attention to achieve your deserved outcome. Jessica S. Allen is one of our accomplished litigators with significant experience in employment law. She has represented both employees and employers in litigation matters, such as workplace harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation/whistleblowing, breaches of contract and fraudulent marketing of opioid drugs. Ms. Allen has also conducted expansive internal workplace investigations into allegations of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and fraud. She serves as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, where she also handles a range of matters concerning employment.
What Are New Jersey’s Labor Laws?
The State of New Jersey has some of the country’s strongest laws protecting employees in the workplace. These laws address the commonplace issues of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage disputes and unequal pay. The most significant statutes expansively safeguard against workplace maltreatment. If you feel your rights under these laws have been violated, consult with a New Jersey employment attorney.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits discrimination, harassment and retaliation by employers in any workplace-related action. This include interviewing, hiring, promoting, compensation, conditions of employment, and firing based upon:
- Race, creed (religion) or color
- National origin, age, ancestry or nationality
- Marital or domestic partnership or civil union status
- Sex, gender identity or expression
- Disability, military service and affectional or sexual orientation
- Atypical cellular or blood trait
- Genetic information or family status
- Source of lawful income or source of lawful rent payment
An employer cannot refuse employment, change employment status, or create policy that disproportionately affects members of a protected class. The NJLAD also protects an employee’s right to a work environment safe from harassment based upon on an employee’s protected status.
The Conscientious Employee Protection Act
The Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) acts as New Jersey’s anti-retaliation and whistleblower protection law. This law prohibits any employer from retaliating against an employee in response to an employee who:
- Discloses or threatens to disclose a practice of the employer that the employee believes to be in violation of a law, regulation, or code of conduct (or, if in the health care industry, a practice is being viewed as improper patient care)
- Testifies in an official or unofficial capacity, in any hearing, trial, or litigation regarding any violation of law or statute
- Refuses to comply with or objects to an order from an employer that the employee believes to be criminal, fraudulent, or in violation of policy
The New Jersey Wage & Hour Compliance Laws and Regulation
The New Jersey Wage & Hour Compliance Laws and Regulation safeguard against violations of the state’s labor laws regarding the minimum wage, methods of wage payment, laws concerning the employment of minors, and the following standards of workplace and labor:
- Minimum wage and overtime wage rate
- Unpaid or withheld wages, fringe benefits and child labor
- Public contracts and public works contractor registration
- The Construction Industry Independent Contractor Act
- State building service contracts, farm labor, and the apparel industry
- Mandatory overtime restrictions, industrial homework and a sheltered workshop
The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act
New Jersey’s sweeping equal pay law, The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to protect all people from being unfairly paid less than another person not in the employee’s protected class for “substantially similar work.” That means a person cannot be paid less than someone not in their protected class solely because of:
- Race, creed or color
- National origin, nationality or ancestry
- Age, sex (including pregnancy), familial status or marital status
- Domestic partnership or civil union status
- Affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression
- Atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait
- Genetic information
- Liability for military service
- Mental or physical disability or perceived disability
- AIDS and HIV status
The law, which became effective July 1, 2018, allows employees to recoup up to six years of back pay and expands the Law Against Discrimination’s two-year limitation for filing a lawsuit so that essentially a new claim arises with each paycheck that results from a discriminatory decision by the employer. The law also allows treble (triple) damages (three times the compensation differential) to be awarded for violations of the law. The law also prohibits employers from asking employees to give up their rights protected by this law and establishes that employees can freely discuss their wages with others without fear of retaliation.
Call for a Free Consultation with a New Jersey Employment Attorney
If you have been a victim of a hostile work environment or experienced treatment in violation of New Jersey State employment laws, you do not have to stand for it. You may be entitled to emotional distress damages, punitive damages, back or front pay, reinstatement or promotion. If you believe you have been targeted on the basis of bias or have been denied your rights as an employee, turn to the New Jersey employment attorneys at Keefe Law Firm for help.
Call us today at (866) 575-5000 or contact us online to get started.