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.  

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