Employee Rights Laws Part 3: Overview of New Jersey Employment Law Statutes
In most states, unless you have a written employment contract, are a member of a labor union, or are a civil service employee, you are probably an employee at will. Employment at will is the general principal that your company can fire you for any reason, or even for no reason at all. It also means you can quit your job for any reason.
Fortunately, federal, state, and local laws create many exceptions to employment at will that give employees significant protection from an unfair or arbitrary termination. This, the third part of a four part series, discusses some of the most important exceptions to employment at will under New Jersey. The first part of the series discusses some of the most important federal anti-discrimination laws. The second part describes many other important federal “wrongful termination” laws. Part four reviews employee rights under New York State and New York City law.
New Jersey Employment Law Statutes
The following is an overview of some of New Jersey’s most important employment law statutes. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all New Jersey employment laws. It is also important to understand that not every one of these laws applies to every employee working in New Jersey. If you believe your employment law rights have been violated, it is recommended that you contact a knowledgeable, dedicated and experienced New Jersey employment lawyer.
Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA)
- Prohibits a broad range of “whistleblower” activities, such as making it unlawful to fire an employee because the employee objected to or refused to participate in something he or she reasonably believes is fraudulent, criminal, violates the law, or is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy concerning the public health, safety or welfare or protection of the environment.
Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (New Jersey WARN Act)
- Requires most companies with an establishment in New Jersey with 100 or more employees to provide at least 60 days advance notice of a plant closing, mass layoff, or relocation of operations.
New Jersey Civil Rights Act (CRA)
- Provides a remedy if a person acting under color of law deprives or threatens to deprive an individual of a civil right guaranteed by the United States Constitution, the New Jersey Constitution, or any federal or New Jersey law.
- Prohibits individuals acting on behalf of the State of New Jersey from discriminating against individuals on the basis of race, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, and other legally protected categories.
New Jersey Family Leave Act (FLA)
- Entitles covered employees to take up to 12 weeks off from work every 24 months, as a family leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or the serious illness of your child, spouse or parent, including parent-in-laws and stepparents.
- Protects employees who take a protected family leave, by entitling them to return to their jobs, or an equivalent one, at the end of the family leave.
- Prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who took family leaves under the New Jersey Family Leave Act.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD)
- Makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees because of their race, age, sex (gender), pregnancy, mental disability, physical disability, color, national origin, nationality, marital status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, military service, creed, or religion.
- Prohibits employers from harassing employees because of their race, age, sex (gender), pregnancy, mental disability, physical disability, color, national origin, nationality, marital status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, military service, creed, or religion. This includes prohibiting sexual harassment.
- Requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to enable employees with physical disabilities or mental disabilities to perform the essential functions of their jobs.
- Protects individuals who make complaints of violations of the LAD or who engage in other activities protected by the LAD.
New Jersey Wage & Hour Act
- Requires companies to pay most non-exempt employees working in New Jersey overtime of time and a half, for each hour the after 40 hours in a week.
- Establishes a higher minimum wage than the minimum required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. As of October 1, 2006, most employees working in New Jersey are entitled to receive a minimum of $7.15 per hour.
New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Act
- Prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file claims under New Jersey’s Worker’s Compensation Act.
Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy
- Protects employees, and in particular whistleblowers, from being wrongfully fired in violation of a clear mandate of New Jersey’s public policy.
The attorneys at our employment and civil rights law firm, Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C., are experienced at representing employees in New Jersey whose rights have been violated.