NJ Labor And Employment Law

The New Jersey Labor and Employment Law Blog is authored by Jay S. Becker and Joseph C. DeBlasio, shareholders in the Labor and Employment Law Practice Group, with support from the associates in the Group. It is dedicated to provide news and updates regarding all labor and employment matters throughout New Jersey.

Many New Jersey Employers Must Soon Offer Employee Retirement Savings Plans

March 16, 2022 | 10 Comments
Posted by Alexandra Kukuyev

Co-authored by Ari Burd

The New Jersey Secure Choice Savings Program Act (the “Act”) is set to take effect on March 28, 2022 and will require many employers to offer their own retirement plan or provide access to a State sponsored program.

This Act impacts all New Jersey businesses that:

  1. have employed at least 25 employees in the State during the previous calendar year;
  2. have been in business at least two years; and
  3. do not already offer a qualified retirement plan.

The Act mandates employers to offer their full and part-time employees a retirement savings option in the form of either a qualified retirement plan (e.g., a 401(k) or 403(b)) or through the New Jersey Secure Choice Savings Program (the “Program”). The State-sponsored Program is an individual retirement account (IRA) where employees contribute a portion of their pretax earnings via automatic payroll deductions.

Employers must first decide whether they want to sponsor a qualified retirement plan or opt for the State-sponsored Program. Those who fail to comply will be subject to penalties ranging from a written warning to a $500 fine per employee. Employers have nine months from the implementation date to comply with the Act. While the anticipated implementation date is March 28, 2022, the Treasury Department website dedicated to the program notes that implementation is not yet operational.

We suggest intermittently checking in on the website. As always, the Labor and Employment Law Department of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla stands ready to assist you. Please contact Ari Burd, Jeri Abrams, Jay Becker or Alexandra Kukuyev with any questions.

New Law Requires Notice of Employee Vehicle Tracking

January 31, 2022 | 10 Comments
Posted by Ari Burd

Be advised that effective April 18, 2022, it will become a crime for employers in New Jersey to electronically track vehicles driven by their employees unless written notice of the tracking is provided. This applies to both vehicles provided by the employer and employee-owned vehicles merely used by the employee for work purposes.  It will be up to a 4th degree crime to track employee vehicles without prior written notice and civil penalties of up to $2500 per violation can be issued.  If you track your employee vehicles, we recommend you provide written notice to your employees ASAP.  The easiest way to do this would be to amend your employee handbook and provide notice of the amendment, in writing, to all of your employees.

As always, the Labor and Employment Law Department of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla stands ready to assist you. Please contact Ari Burd, Jeri Abrams or Jay Becker with any questions.

SCOTUS Strikes Down Mandatory Vaccination/Testing Policy

January 13, 2022 | 13 Comments
Posted by Ari Burd

The U.S. Supreme Court has just thrown out the vaccination or testing mandate issued by OSHA and the Biden administration that would have applied to employers with 100 or more employees.  The Supreme Court did uphold regulations requiring vaccination for health care workers, though even that ruling was merely by a 5-4 decision.  So while the testing or vaccination mandate has been lifted for now, understand that nothing prevents employers in NY or NJ from enacting vaccine and testing mandates.  This is not the case everywhere.  A significant number of Republican led states have issued state laws barring vaccination/testing and other COVID related containment measures, so companies doing business in these states should tread carefully before creating such policies.  Further, do not be surprised if many states begin to implement vaccination/testing requirements along similar lines to what OSHA attempted, as the Supreme Court has signaled states would have the power to enact such laws.  So those employers who have already implemented vaccination/testing programs in NY and NJ should feel no pressure to end them.

Please contact the Labor and Employment Law Department of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla. Ari Burd, Jeri Abrams and Jay Becker are prepared to assist you with your questions.

OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard Vaccination/Testing Rules

November 5, 2021 | 8 Comments
Posted by Ari Burd

Today the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is issuing an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers (100 or more employees).  Essentially, it requires employers with 100 or more employees to establish, implement, and enforce a written mandatory vaccination policy that requires each employee to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4, 2022 or the employer must implement a policy that allows employees to choose between being fully vaccinated or both tested and wearing a face covering.  Testing of unvaccinated employees must take place once every 7 days and testing must begin on January 4, 2022.

WHICH EMPLOYERS DOES THIS APPLY TO?

The ETS applies to most employers with 100 or more employees at any time (this includes part-time employees, seasonal employees and temporary workers but not independent contractors). Read more

Is It Time to Mask Up Again?

July 30, 2021 | 12 Comments
Posted by Ari Burd

COVID is surging throughout the United States thanks, in no small part, to the Delta variant, which is significantly more contagious than the form of the virus that swept through the country last year. The CDC has just revised its guidance and now suggests that even vaccinated individuals should wear masks in public, indoor settings in areas with “high” or “substantial” transmission rates. At present, Monmouth County is the only county in New Jersey with a “high” transmission rate, though several New Jersey counties have a “substantial” transmission rate (Atlantic, Bergen, Burlingon, Essex, Gloucester, Middlesex, Ocean, Somerset & Union). Governor Murphy is strongly recommending mask use indoors, but thus far, has stopped short of requiring it.

If the current COVID trend continues, businesses should expect mask requirements will go back into force. Certainly, businesses remain free to require mask wearing and social distancing. If you have questions about what your business can or should be doing during these uncertain times, please reach out to the Labor and Employment Law Department of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla. Please contact Ari Burd, Jeri Abrams or Jay Becker with any questions.

A Return to Normal in NJ – Part 2

May 27, 2021 | 13 Comments
Posted by Ari Burd

Co-Authored by Jay Becker

Only two days after announcing a limited end to mask and social distancing requirements that did not include workplaces closed to the public, Governor Murphy has clarified his prior order and indicated that vaccinated employees, at all workplaces, who provide proof of vaccination, are now exempt from mask and social distancing requirements.  As such, once vaccination records have been provided, businesses that are closed to the public can excuse vaccinated employees from mask and social distancing requirements.  Those business reviewing and filing vaccination records should take care to treat these documents as medical records.  That means filing them separately from other personnel records, typically in a locked file cabinet or password protected electronic file.  Notably, the Governor’s order further clarifies that daily health checks must continue to be conducted at the workplace.  This rule goes into effect on Friday June 4th.

Also effective June 4th, Gov. Murphy has rescinded the requirement that employers accommodate their workforce for telework.   In other words, all employers are free to require their employees return to the physical workplace (office, factory, warehouse, etc).  That said, Gov. Murphy noted during his recent press conference that  this “doesn’t mean we don’t expect you to be flexible and to work with employees — particularly those who are juggling family obligations such as child care.”

As always, the Labor and Employment Law Department of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla stands ready to assist you.  Please contact Ari Burd, Jeri Abrams or Jay Becker with any questions

A Return to Normal?

May 25, 2021 | 12 Comments
Posted by Ari Burd

On Friday, May 28th, Governor Murphy will be lifting the State of New Jersey’s mask and social distancing mandate for most businesses. That said, the most recent Executive Order makes clear that businesses can require mask use if they want and cannot stop people from wearing masks, if they so choose.

“Indoor public spaces” will no longer require masks or social distancing, HOWEVER, this does NOT include indoor worksites of employers that do not open their indoor spaces to the public for purposes of sale of goods, attendance at an event or activity, or provision of services. So in the typical closed office environment, individuals continue to be required to wear face coverings, subject only to exceptions that have previously existed, such as when employees are at distanced workstations or in their own offices, and shall continue to maintain six feet of distance from others to the maximum extent possible, except in the circumstances described therein. That said, if you have a business where customers are coming into the building to get products or services, mask use and social distancing will not be required by law. Additionally those who are not vaccinated are “strongly encouraged” to continue to wear a mask when indoors.

As always, the Labor and Employment Law Department of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla stands ready to assist you. Please contact Ari Burd, Jeri Abrams or Jay Becker with any questions.

Vaccinations Will Be Available Soon….Can NJ Employers Require Them?

January 8, 2021 | 16 Comments
Posted by Ari Burd

In accordance with recent guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers may require their employees be vaccinated, subject to some limited exceptions.  Specifically, employers may not require vaccinations for those employees who have a disability or medical condition (including pregnancy) that makes vaccination a health risk or who have objections due to their religious beliefs (i.e. Christian Scientists).

Of course if employers choose to implement such requirements and the employee refuses, there are numerous landmines to avoid.  For example, maintaining the privacy of employees who refuse for medical reasons, considering reasonable accommodations for employees who cannot be vaccinated, etc.  We strongly suggest any employer considering mandatory vaccinations have in place a policy on the subject that covers all such contingencies.  For help preparing these policies, please contact Ari BurdJeri Abrams or Jay Becker of the GHC Labor and Employment Department.

CDC & NJ Update Guidance Regarding Quarantine Periods

December 7, 2020 | 11 Comments
Posted by Ari Burd

The CDC has issued updated guidance that reduces the suggested quarantine period down from 14 days to between 7-10 days following a COVID exposure. New Jersey has followed suit, amending their guidance as well with regard to the quarantine period for individuals travelling to any location outside of the immediate region (NY/NJ/CT/PA/DE). New Jersey’s new guidance is now as follows:

• If travelers test negative following travel, they should quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
• If testing is not available (or if the results are delayed), travelers should quarantine for 10 days after travel.

New Jersey employers should feel free to similarly adjust their quarantine periods in the work place for individuals who are exposed and can get tested. Employees should be allowed to return after 7 days with a negative test (testing should take place no earlier than 5 days after exposure). Those who are exposed and are not tested should quarantine for 10 days and can return if they have no symptoms. Notably, these new guidelines have drawn criticism from health experts who note that the reduction in the quarantine period is not due to new medical evidence, but rather, appears to be based on the belief that by reducing the quarantine periods, individuals will be more likely to quarantine. Please contact Ari Burd, Jeri Abrams and Jay Becker of the Giordano Labor and Employment department for additional information.

NJ Issues Specific COVID-19 Regulations for All Employers and Businesses

October 29, 2020 | 12 Comments
Posted by Ari Burd

Given rapidly rising COVID rates in NJ (and national rates being at an all-time high) Executive Order 192 (“EO 192”), issued by Gov. Murphy on October 28th sets forth specific requirements for all employers in New Jersey, regardless of size, including private and public employers. If you have been following the guidance from our office, few, if any of these rules should come as any surprise. EO 192 requires:

  • Six feet of distance between individuals at a worksite to the maximum extent possible. When not possible, employers have a duty to ensure masks and physical barriers are provided.
  • Face masks should be worn whenever possible, except where the individual is under the age of two, the individual is eating or drinking, or the services being performed prevents wearing a mask.
    • Employees may remove masks when they are at least six feet apart or alone in a walled office.
    • Employees who refuse to wear face masks can be barred from the worksite until such time as they have provided medical documentation supporting their claim they are medically unable to wear a face mask.
    • Customers who refuse to wear a mask cannot be required to produce medical proof that they are unable to wear a mask. However, they may be denied entry if a reasonable accommodation can be provided (i.e. deliver the goods to their car).
  • Employers, at their own expense, must make masks available to their employees.
  • Employers must make hand sanitizer available at their expense to employees and customers.
  • Employers should:
    • Ensure there are adequate handwashing facilities, should ensure employees are washing hands and have adequate break time to do so.
    • Routinely clean and disinfect high touch areas.
    • Conduct daily health checks (i.e. temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, etc.).
      Immediately send home employees with symptoms of COVID-19 (subject to making sure the employee is capable of traveling home).
    • Promptly notify employees of all known exposures of COVID-19 at the worksite.

Other than requiring that face masks and hand sanitizer be made available (which many employers have already been doing), none of these rules should be seen as a change from standard COVID related advice that has been provided to employers for the last several months. Employers are reminded to stay vigilant and it is strongly recommended that COVID-19/Pandemic policies be put in place. For assistance with COVID related issues and policies, please contact Ari Burd, Jeri Abrams or Jay Becker of the GHC Labor and Employment Department.

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