Five Common Workplace Issues in New Jersey and How an Employment Lawyer Can Help

Five Common Workplace Issues in New Jersey and How an Employment Lawyer Can Help

Employees are frequently confronted with challenging day-to-day issues in the workplace. That is why it is advantageous to obtain legal counseling from a seasoned employment attorney to help you navigate through complicated workplace issues. CMS employment lawyers provide a wide array of counseling services for employees. 

1. Hostile Work Environment and Harassment

Workplace harassment and hostile work environment claims are common employment litigation matters. Workplace harassment occurs where submission to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature is made a term and condition of employment, or where submission to or rejection of such behavior forms the basis for employment decisions.  A hostile work environment harassment claim requires the employee to demonstrate that the conduct was unwelcome, that it occurred because of the individual’s sex, and that a reasonable person would consider it sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the employee’s conditions of employment. 

If you feel that your employer has not adequately addressed the issue or if you experience retaliation for reporting the hostile work environment, consider consulting an experienced employment attorney in New Jersey. They can help you understand your rights, assess the strength of your claim, and guide you through the process.

2. Whistleblower Claims 

Two prevalent types of retaliation claims in the State of New Jersey arise under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) and the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”).  Under the LAD, it is an unlawful employment practice to retaliate against any person because the individual (1) has opposed any practices or acts outlawed by the LAD or (2) has or intends to file a complaint, testify, or assist in any proceeding under the LAD.  CEPA protects whistleblowers in the State of New Jersey.  Among the prohibitions of CEPA is that an employer cannot retaliate against any employee who discloses or threatens to disclose, to a supervisor or to a public body, an activity, policy, or practice of the employer or another employer with whom there is a business relationship, that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law or is fraudulent or criminal.

An employment lawyer can assess the merits of your whistleblower claim by reviewing the evidence you have and determining whether the conduct you reported falls under the protection of whistleblower laws. They can advise you on the appropriate course of action based on the specific circumstances of your case.

3. Employee Discrimination 

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) strictly prohibits discrimination in the workplace. Indeed, individuals have the right to work in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment opportunities and prohibits practices such as employment terminations, demotions, and the denial of promotions motivated by discriminatory biases.  

Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited against any employee or applicant for employment based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, pregnancy, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, status as a covered veteran, creed, nationality, ancestry, marital status, domestic partnership status, civil union status, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States, HIV or AIDS status, or any classification covered by applicable federal, state and/or local laws.  This applies to all personnel actions including recruiting, hiring, training, transfer, promotion, job benefits, performance evaluation, discipline, and dismissal.

An employment lawyer can provide invaluable assistance when it comes to pursuing a discrimination claim in the workplace.  The lawyer will review the details of your situation and evaluate whether you have a valid discrimination claim. They will assess the evidence, identify potential legal claims, and determine the best course of action.

4. Wage and Hour Issues 

The New Jersey Wage and Hour law is a set of laws and regulations that govern the minimum wage, overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, pay statement requirements, record keeping, and other important aspects of the employment relationship in the State of New Jersey. The main purpose of the law is to ensure that employees receive fair and adequate compensation for the work they perform and to provide them with basic protections and benefits in the workplace.

The New Jersey Wage Payment Law is a state law that governs the payment of wages to employees in New Jersey. The law sets forth specific requirements for when, how, and in what form employees must be paid, as well as establishing certain protections for employees who are not paid as required by law. 

The New Jersey Wage Theft Act is a state law that was enacted in 2019 to address the problem of wage theft. The law provides stronger enforcement tools for the state and stronger protections for employees who are not paid their lawful wages. Some key provisions of the New Jersey Wage Theft Act include:

  1. Increased Penalties: The law increases penalties for wage theft and makes it easier for employees to recover stolen wages.
  2. Joint Liability: The law establishes joint liability for wage theft for both the direct employer and any other entity that benefits from the work performed.
  3. Whistleblower Protections: The law provides protections for employees who report wage theft and retaliation against them is prohibited.
  4. Record-Keeping Requirements: Employers are required to keep accurate records of hours worked, rates of pay, and other pertinent information for a period of at least six years.
  5. Right to Sue: The law gives employees the right to sue their employer for wage theft and provides for treble damages, meaning an employee can recover three times the amount of the stolen wages.

Wage and hour issues are very complicated.  As such, it is important for individuals to have trusted legal counsel to advise them on wage and compensation issues.  

5. FMLA Issues

The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)  allows eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.  Employees in the State of New Jersey may also be entitled to unpaid, job-protected leave under the New Jersey Family Leave Act (“FLA”).  Retaliation for taking leave under the FMLA or FLA and/or interference with an employee’s rights to take leave under the FMLA or FLA may give rise to legal claims. 

Leave of absence issues are particularly complex. It can be confusing and overwhelming for an employee to understand these types of issues. Accordingly, it is important to retain a trusted employment attorney to help you navigate complicated leave of absence legal issues.  

Receive Counseling on Common Workplace Issues

During the course of employment, there are many potential legal issues that may arise for employees, including but not limited to, the complicated legal issues set forth above. Issues in the workplace may cause physical and emotional stress. That is why it is important to consult with an experienced and trusted employment attorney when such issues arise. The New Jersey employment lawyers at CMS use their extensive experience to provide their clients with practical counseling advice that is narrowly tailored to meet their individual needs. If you are in need of workplace counseling, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.  

The Importance of Reviewing Your Employee Handbook

The Importance of Reviewing Your Employee Handbook

In today’s litigious environment, it is vital for employers to have written policies in place that set forth their protocols with regard to a wide variety of legal issues. These policies may also serve as important defenses in the event of litigation. 

Why You Should Review Your Employee Handbook 

As an employer, reviewing your employee handbook on a regular basis is crucial for several reasons.  Employment laws and regulations are subject to change over time. By reviewing your employee handbook, you can ensure that your policies and practices are up to date and in compliance with the latest legal requirements. An employee handbook provides guidelines and standards that promote consistency and fairness in your organization. By regularly reviewing the handbook, you can ensure that the policies and procedures are applied consistently to all employees.

Your employee handbook is an opportunity to communicate your company’s culture, values, and expectations to your employees. By reviewing it, you can ensure that the content aligns with your current organizational goals and values, fostering a positive work environment and reinforcing your company’s identity. An updated employee handbook ensures that your policies and procedures are clearly communicated to your employees. It provides them with a comprehensive resource that they can refer to when they have questions or need guidance. Regular review of your handbook helps identify any ambiguities or outdated information that may confuse employees and lead to misunderstandings.

How Often Should Your Employee Handbook Be Reviewed? 

As a general guideline, it’s recommended to review your employee handbook at least once a year. However, it’s important to note that circumstances may require more frequent reviews. For instance, if you operate in a highly regulated industry or if there have been recent legal changes that impact your organization, more frequent reviews may be necessary to stay compliant.

What to Look For When Reviewing Your Employee Handbook 

When reviewing your employee handbook, there are several key areas to review, such as the following: 

Legal Compliance

Ensure that your policies and procedures are in compliance with federal, and state employment laws and regulations. Check for any updates or changes in legislation that may require revisions to your handbook.


Make sure your policies are written in a clear, concise, and understandable manner. Avoid jargon or technical terms that may confuse employees. 


Check for consistency in your policies and procedures throughout the handbook. Ensure that similar topics are treated consistently and that there are no conflicting statements or guidelines.


Verify that the information provided in the handbook is accurate and up to date. Remove any outdated or obsolete policies, procedures, or references. 


Check the section on employee benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and any other perks or benefits offered by your organization. Ensure that the information is accurate and reflects the current offerings.

Reporting Procedures

Review the procedures for reporting workplace misconduct, harassment, discrimination, or other policy violations. Ensure that employees are aware of their rights and the appropriate channels to raise concerns or complaints.

Consult With an Employment Law Attorney While Reviewing Your Employee Handbook

It is vital that all businesses have Employee Handbooks in place and consistently update them to comply with ever-changing employment laws. CMS Employment Attorneys are well-versed in drafting and updating Employee Handbooks. If your business needs an Employee Handbook or your business needs to update your Employee Handbook, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC

What Should Be Included in an Employee’s Contract?

What Should Be Included in an Employee’s Contract?

Given the increased mobility of employees in today’s job market, employers frequently utilize employment contracts to set forth the material terms of employment for their employees. 

Essential Elements to Include in an Employee’s Contract 

An employment contract serves as a legally binding agreement between the employer and the employee, outlining the terms and conditions of the employment relationship. A well-drafted employment contract should include the following essential terms. 

Employee Responsibilities 

An employment contract should describe the employee’s duties and responsibilities. By including the employee’s responsibilities in the contract, both parties can have a clear understanding of the job expectations and duties. This helps prevent any misunderstandings or disputes regarding the scope of work or job requirements. It also provides a reference point for evaluating an employee’s performance and holding them accountable for their responsibilities.

Benefits and Compensation

Benefits and compensation are crucial elements that should be included in an employment contract. By including benefits and compensation details in the employment contract, both parties have a clear understanding of the financial aspects of the employment relationship. This helps avoid misunderstandings or disputes regarding salary, bonuses, allowances, and other monetary considerations.

The compensation section of the contract typically includes the employee’s base salary or hourly rate, payment frequency, and any additional compensation structures such as commissions, incentives, or profit-sharing arrangements. It may also outline any salary adjustments, performance reviews, and potential bonuses.

In addition to compensation, the contract should outline the benefits and perks provided by the employer. This can include information about health insurance, retirement plans, stock options, flexible work arrangements, and any other benefits that the employee is entitled to receive.

Time-Off Policies 

Time off, including vacation, sick leave, and other types of leave, should be included in an employment contract. By including time off provisions in the employment contract, both parties have a mutual understanding of the employee’s entitlement to various types of leave and the process for requesting and taking time off. This helps create a transparent and fair work environment.

The contract should specify the amount of annual vacation time or paid time off (PTO) the employee is entitled to and any rules or restrictions surrounding its usage. It may also include details about sick leave and/or other types of authorized absences.

In addition to the amount of time off, the contract should outline the process for requesting and scheduling time off, including any notice requirements or approval procedures. It may also cover aspects such as carry-over of unused time off, the accrual of vacation days, or any limitations on taking time off during busy periods.

Termination and Notice Period 

Termination and notice period provisions should be included in an employment contract.  The termination section of the contract outlines the circumstances under which employment can be terminated, such as resignation, termination with cause, or termination without cause. It may also include information on the procedures to be followed in case of termination, including any required notice periods.

The notice period is the period of time that either the employer or the employee must give to terminate the employment relationship. It allows both parties to plan and make necessary arrangements for the transition. The contract should specify the length of the notice period, whether it is the same for both parties or different, and any conditions or exceptions that may apply.

Including termination and notice period provisions in the employment contract helps protect the rights of both the employer and the employee and promotes fairness and clarity in the termination process. It provides a clear framework for ending the employment relationship and minimizes potential disputes or confusion that may arise in such situations.

Additional Elements to Consider 

Additional elements to consider included in an Employment Agreement are post-employment restrictions such as confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-compete obligations as well as a non-disparagement provision. In addition, all employment agreements should include a provision specifying the governing law and choice of venue in the event of a dispute between the parties. Furthermore, employment agreements should include an integration provision that states that the written agreement between the parties supersedes any prior agreements between the parties, including any written or oral agreements.  

A New Jersey Employment Law Attorney Can Help With Employee Contracts 

With the vast array of laws, regulations, and guidelines that govern New Jersey employers, it is important for employers to have dependable, responsive, and reliable legal counsel. CMS Employment Attorneys are here to assist employers navigate through complex legal issues involving their personnel, including providing assistance with the drafting of employment agreements as well as providing employers with legal counseling pertaining to the same.  If you need any assistance with employment-related agreements, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC

New York Passes Ban on Non-Compete Agreements – What Does This Mean For Your Business?

New York Passes Ban on Non-Compete Agreements – What Does This Mean For Your Business?

On June 20, 2023, the New York State Assembly approved Bill No. S3100A, which essentially would prohibit non-compete agreements in the State of New York.  If signed into law, this would be a game-changer for employers and employees in the State of New York. The law would apply thirty (30) days after it is signed by the Governor of the State of New York. 

What is Bill No. S3100A? 

Bill No. S3100A would amend the New York Labor Law (NY Labor Law 191-d) by stating that “no employer or its agent, or the officer or agent of any corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or other entity, shall seek, require, demand or accept a non-compete agreement from any covered individual.”

Under the Bill, “non-compete agreement” is defined as “any agreement, or clause contained in any agreement, between an employer and a covered individual that prohibits or restricts such covered individual from obtaining employment after the conclusion of employment with the employer included as a party to the agreement.” 

A “covered individual” means “any other person, who, whether or not employed under a contract of employment, performs work or services for another person on such terms and conditions that they are, in relation to that other person, in a position of economic dependence on, or under an obligation to perform duties for, that other person.” 

Exceptions to the Bill No. S3100A

Nonetheless, there are exceptions for certain types of restrictive covenants or agreements.  Specifically, the following agreements would still be enforceable, provided they do not “otherwise restrict competition” in violation of the Bill:

  • An agreement with a prospective or current covered individual that establishes a fixed term of service
  • An agreement that prohibits the disclosure of trade secrets, or the disclosure of confidential and proprietary information; or
  • An agreement that prohibits the solicitation of clients of the employer that the covered individual learned about during employment, 

Note that an agreement that prohibits the solicitation of employees is not addressed in the Bill.  

What a Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Means For Your Business

The Bill creates a private right of action for covered individuals to bring legal action against employers. Specifically, the employee shall have two years from the later of “(i) when the prohibited non-compete agreement was signed; (ii) when the employee learns of the prohibited non-compete agreement; (iii) when the employment relationship is terminated; or (iv) when the employer takes any steps to enforce the non-compete agreement” to file suit.

The Bill permits a court to void a non-compete agreement and order the appropriate relief, including liquidated damages “calculated as an amount not more than ten thousand dollars.”   

Therefore, if signed into law, this Bill would certainly limit an employer’s ability to protect their legitimate business interests and would potentially have significant ramifications for employers who still require non-compete agreements.    

Have Questions About the Ban on Non-Competes in New York? 

As an employer, it is important for you to understand the permissible types of agreements that may lawfully be presented to employees. This Bill is a significant departure from existing New York restrictive covenant law.  As such, if the Bill is signed into law, it is recommended that you obtain counsel to review and update your restrictive covenant agreements as soon as possible to ensure compliance.  If you need any assistance with issues related to non-compete agreements, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.