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.   

How to Legally Fire an Employee in New Jersey

How to Legally Fire an Employee in New Jersey

With the plethora of laws, regulations, and guidelines that govern New Jersey employers, it is important for employers to have dependable, responsive, and reliable legal counsel. The CMS employment attorneys are here to assist employers to navigate through complex legal issues involving their personnel. CMS regularly provides preventative day-to-day employment law counseling to clients on a wide variety of issues, including employee discipline and termination issues.

What is At-Will Employment? 

Employment at will is a legal concept that defines the relationship between an employer and an employee. It means that either party, the employer or the employee, can terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason, as long as it is not an illegal reason or in violation of any existing employment contract.

Under employment-at-will, an employer can terminate an employee without providing a specific reason, as long as it is not due to a protected characteristic such as race, gender, religion, disability, or other protected classes defined by anti-discrimination laws. Similarly, employees have the right to resign from their position without providing a detailed explanation or justification.

When is an Employer Legally Entitled to Fire an Employee? 

The legality of firing an employee depends on various factors. In general, an employer may fire an employee for legitimate non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory business reasons, including the following examples:

  1. Performance or Misconduct: Employers generally have the right to terminate an employee for poor job performance, consistent failure to meet job requirements, or engaging in misconduct or violations of company policies.
  2. Reductions in Force or Layoffs: Employers may have the right to terminate employees due to legitimate financial-related business reasons that would require actions such as downsizing, restructuring, or changes in job requirements or responsibilities.
  3. Misconduct or Policy Violations: Employers can legally fire employees for serious misconduct, such as theft, harassment, fraud, or other violations of workplace policies or codes of conduct.
  4. Illegal Activities: If an employee engages in illegal activities that are unrelated to their job or that could harm the employer’s reputation or business, termination may be warranted.

However, it is crucial for employers to consult with a New Jersey employment lawyer to familiarize themselves with the applicable laws prior to making a termination decision. 

Exceptions to At-Will Employment 

In general, here are some common exceptions to employment-at-will:

  1. Employment Contracts: When employees have written or implied contracts that outline specific terms of employment, such as duration, conditions for termination, or disciplinary procedures, the employment relationship is governed by those contractual terms. If a termination occurs in violation of the terms of the contract, it may be considered wrongful termination.
  2. Anti-Discrimination Laws: Termination based on an employee’s protected characteristics, such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information, is prohibited by anti-discrimination laws. These laws aim to ensure equal employment opportunities and prevent discriminatory practices.
  3. Retaliation Protections: Employees are protected from retaliation for engaging in certain activities, such as filing complaints, reporting violations, or participating in investigations or legal proceedings. If an employer terminates an employee in retaliation for these protected actions, it may be considered unlawful.

Employers should consult with legal professionals to understand the specific exceptions and protections that apply to their particular circumstances.

The Best Approach to Legally Firing an Employee in New Jersey

Firing an employee is a serious and sensitive matter that should be handled with care to ensure compliance with employment laws and minimize potential legal risks. While the specific approach may vary depending on the circumstances, here are some general steps to consider when terminating an employee in New Jersey:

  1. Review Employment Contracts and Policies: If the employee has a written employment contract, review it thoroughly to understand any specific termination procedures or notice requirements. Also, review your company’s policies and procedures related to termination to ensure compliance.
  2. Document Performance or Misconduct Issues: Before terminating an employee, it’s crucial to have documented evidence of performance issues or misconduct that justifies the decision. Maintain a record of incidents, warnings, performance evaluations, and any disciplinary actions taken.
  3. Consult Legal Counsel: If you have concerns or questions about the termination process, it is advisable to consult with an employment law attorney.

A New Jersey Employment Lawyer Can Help You Remain Compliant

The New Jersey employment lawyers at CMS are trusted counselors who help clients navigate complex legal issues with practical preventative day-to-day employment law counseling.  Our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of employment law and help businesses avoid liability. If you are in need of assistance with day-to-day employment law issues, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC

Can a Verbal Employment Agreement be Legally Binding in New Jersey?

Can a Verbal Employment Agreement be Legally Binding in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, verbal employment agreements can be binding and enforceable, although they may pose challenges in terms of proof and interpretation compared to written agreements. New Jersey follows the principle of “employment-at-will,” which means that absent a written contract or specific legal protections, an employer or employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause.

What is a Verbal Employment Agreement?

A verbal employment agreement, also known as an oral employment agreement, is a type of employment contract that is based on spoken communication rather than a written document. It is a mutual agreement between an employer and an employee regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

What Makes a Verbal Agreement Legally Binding?

Verbal employment agreements are very difficult to enforce.  However, verbal agreements can still establish contractual obligations and terms, especially if they meet the basic elements of a contract, such as an offer, acceptance, consideration, and a mutual intent to be bound. New Jersey recognizes both express and implied contracts, meaning that an employment agreement can be formed through explicit verbal statements or through the parties’ conduct and actions.

Why You Should Always Have a Written Contract 

Having a written employment contract in New Jersey is highly advisable for many reasons.  A written employment contract provides clarity and certainty regarding the terms and conditions of employment.  A written contract specifies the agreed-upon compensation, benefits, bonuses, and other forms of remuneration. This eliminates potential disagreements and ensures that both parties are on the same page regarding financial arrangements.

Additionally, a written contract allows for customization to meet the specific needs and circumstances of the employer and the employee. It can address unique aspects of the employment relationship and accommodate individual considerations.

Work With a New Jersey Employment Attorney

In today’s economic environment, it is very common for employers to present employees with various types of agreements that attempt to protect their business interests and/or insulate them from potential liability.  The most common agreements presented to employees are employment agreements, restrictive covenant agreements (including non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements), and severance agreements. Accordingly, it is important for employees to retain legal counsel before entering into any such agreements to ensure they fully understand the terms and conditions of any such agreements, including any post-employment obligations. If you need any assistance with employment agreement-related issues, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC

Should You Hire an Attorney to Review Your Employee Handbook?

Should You Hire an Attorney to Review Your Employee Handbook?

Hiring an employment attorney to review an employee handbook can be a prudent decision for many businesses. An employee handbook is a critical document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of both employees and employers. It establishes guidelines for conduct, policies, and procedures within the organization.

Five Benefits of Having an Attorney Review Your Employee Handbook 

In New Jersey, employee handbooks can provide legal protections to employers by setting clear guidelines and policies for employees to follow and reducing the risk of misunderstandings or disputes. Additionally, New Jersey has several state and federal laws that provide specific protections to employees, such as anti-discrimination laws, and wage and hour laws. Employers need to ensure that their employee handbook is in compliance with these laws and does not conflict with or undermine these legal protections.  Here are five benefits of having an employment attorney review your employee handbook.  

1. Remain Legally Compliant 

Legal compliance is a significant benefit of having an attorney review your employee handbook. Employment laws and regulations can be complex. By engaging an attorney who is up-to-date on recent developments in employment law, your business can ensure that its handbook complies with all relevant laws.

By proactively seeking legal compliance through an attorney’s review, your business can minimize the likelihood of legal disputes related to its employment practices. It demonstrates your business’s commitment to upholding the rights of its employees and ensures that a business is providing a fair and legally compliant work environment.

2. Reduce Workplace Conflicts 

Reducing workplace conflict is indeed a benefit of having an employee handbook. A well-crafted and comprehensive handbook can provide clear guidelines and policies that help employees understand what is expected of them, how they should conduct themselves in the workplace, and what actions may result in disciplinary measures.

While an employee handbook alone may not completely eliminate workplace conflicts, it can significantly contribute to their reduction by setting clear expectations, promoting fairness, and providing mechanisms for conflict resolution. Regularly communicating and reinforcing the handbook’s policies and procedures can further enhance its effectiveness in minimizing conflicts.

3. Avoid Litigation 

An employee handbook can certainly help a business avoid litigation, although it cannot provide a guarantee.  An employee handbook serves as a documented record of your business’s policies, procedures, and rules. It can include acknowledgment forms or consent statements indicating that employees have received, read, and understood the handbook. These records can be valuable evidence in the event of a legal dispute, demonstrating that your business took reasonable steps to inform employees about their rights and obligations.

4. Minimize Liability

An employee handbook can help mitigate legal risks by addressing various employment-related issues such as harassment, discrimination, and leaves of absence. By clearly outlining expectations and consequences, and providing mechanisms for reporting and addressing concerns, the handbook can help prevent potential legal issues from arising or escalating.

5. Ensure Necessary Disclaimers Are Present 

An employee handbook can include disclaimers to help protect your business from certain liabilities. Disclaimers are statements that clarify the scope and limitations of the information provided in the handbook and can help set expectations for employees.   Many employee handbooks include a disclaimer stating that the employment relationship is at-will, meaning that either the employee or the employer can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any lawful reason, with or without cause or notice. This disclaimer helps make it clear that the handbook does not create a contract of employment and does not guarantee employment for a specific duration.

Need an NJ Employment Lawyer to Review 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. The New Jersey Employment Attorneys at CMS 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

Can You Sue For Wrongful Termination in New Jersey?

Can You Sue For Wrongful Termination in New Jersey?

Absent contractual obligations, employees in the State of New Jersey are “at-will,” meaning their employment may be terminated for any reason or no reason at all unless it is motivated by an unlawful reason. Unlawful reasons include but are not limited to, discrimination, retaliation for complaining about activity that an employee reasonably believed was illegal or fraudulent, or retaliation for requesting a workplace accommodation. In such circumstances, the employment termination may constitute a wrongful termination

if you believe that you have been unlawfully terminated from your employment, you may have a basis to bring a lawsuit against your former employer seeking legal remedies, including compensation for damages resulting from the wrongful termination.     

What Qualifies as Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination generally occurs when an employee’s termination was motivated (at least in part) by an unlawful reason. There are various types of wrongful termination claims, including but not limited to, the following: 

Employment Discrimination

An employment termination 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 is strictly prohibited and may form the basis for a wrongful termination claim. 

Unlawful Retaliation for Opposing Discrimination or Harassment

A wrongful termination claim occurs when an employee is terminated for reporting discrimination or harassment internally to management or to federal or state government agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.   

Unlawful Retaliation for Taking a Leave of Absence  

Federal and state law entitles employees to take a leave of absence for, among other reasons, their own serious medical reasons, the birth or adoption of a child, or the care of certain family members. If an employee is terminated in retaliation for taking these types of leaves of absence, they may have a viable wrongful termination claim.  

Unlawful Retaliation for Whistleblowing Activity  

Employees who engage in whistleblower activity such as reporting illegal, fraudulent, or unethical workplace practices and activities are protected from unlawful retaliatory activity in the workplace.  A wrongful termination occurs when an employee is terminated for engaging in such whistleblowing activity.    

Unlawful Retaliation for Making Disability and Religious-Based Accommodations Requests

Employees who are suffering from physical or mental disabilities or who require accommodations due to sincerely held religious beliefs have important legal rights in the workplace. A wrongful termination occurs when an employee is terminated in retaliation for making such accommodations requests

How to Sue For Wrongful Termination in New Jersey

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated in New Jersey and wish to pursue a lawsuit, it is advisable to consult with an employment attorney to understand your specific situation and obtain tailored legal advice.  Indeed, It is essential to seek legal counsel from an experienced employment attorney who is familiar with New Jersey employment laws. An experienced New Jersey employment attorney with experience in wrongful termination can assess the details of your case, advise you on the strength of your claim, and guide you through the legal process.

How Long Do You Have to Sue For Wrongful Termination in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination is generally two years. This means that you have two years from the date of your termination to initiate a lawsuit. It is important to note that this time limit can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case and the legal claims involved.

Work With a New Jersey Wrongful Termination Lawyer

In today’s working environment, employees are often unlawfully terminated. A wrongful termination creates financial instability and often impacts an individual’s emotional well-being. CMS employment lawyers understand this and utilize their substantial experience to strongly advocate for individuals by providing strategic legal advice to help them navigate through wrongful termination matters.

If you require legal representation in a wrongful termination matter and/or are in need of the services of an experienced wrongful termination lawyer who will provide you with important practical and legal counseling, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.

The Top Five Benefits of Employment Mediation

The Top Five Benefits of Employment Mediation

Employment law disputes are highly contentious and involve complex legal issues. Mediation sessions provide the parties with a viable alternative to moving forward with litigation. Employment mediations are informal private or court-ordered sessions to assist the parties in an employment dispute to reach an amicable resolution. The mediator does not decide on any legal issues or make any rulings on who is right and who is wrong. The mediator’s role is a simple one – to help the parties settle their employment dispute.   

1. Avoids Litigation

Mediation allows for flexible and creative solutions tailored to the specific needs of the parties involved. Unlike court-imposed decisions, mediation offers the opportunity to address underlying interests and concerns that may not be recognized or adequately addressed in a legal setting. This flexibility enables parties to craft unique and often more satisfying resolutions.

Mediation can often lead to faster resolutions compared to litigation. Court cases can take a significant amount of time to reach a conclusion due to a backlog of cases. Mediation allows parties to promptly schedule sessions and work towards a resolution at a pace that suits them, potentially saving significant time and emotional energy.

2. Saves Time and Money 

Litigation can be extremely expensive. It involves legal fees, court costs, and other expenses that can accumulate rapidly. Mediation is typically a more cost-effective alternative. It usually requires fewer financial resources, as the parties usually share the cost of a mediator. By avoiding the expenses associated with litigation, mediation can save parties a significant amount of money.

3. Fair and Neutral 

A crucial aspect of mediation is that mediators are expected to be fair and neutral. The role of a mediator is to facilitate the mediation process and assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediators are required to maintain impartiality throughout the mediation process. They do not take sides or favor any particular party. Impartiality ensures that all parties have an equal opportunity to express their views, concerns, and interests. Mediators approach the mediation process with neutrality, meaning they do not have a personal interest or stake in the outcome. They do not advocate for any specific solution or impose their own opinions on the parties. Neutrality allows mediators to focus on facilitating open communication, promoting understanding, and helping the parties explore options that are acceptable to everyone involved.

4. Improves Relationships

Mediation focuses on resolving conflicts in a collaborative and non-adversarial manner. It promotes open communication, understanding, and empathy between parties. By working together to find a mutually acceptable solution, mediation helps preserve relationships that might otherwise be damaged by confrontational approaches.  

5. Confidential Process

Mediation is a confidential process. It provides a safe and private environment for parties to discuss their issues openly without fear of public exposure. This confidentiality encourages honesty and openness, allowing participants to address the core of their concerns more effectively.

Speak With a New Jersey Employment Law Mediator 

To have a successful mediation, it is important to have a mediator that understands both sides of the dispute. Frank A. Custode, Chair of CMS’ Employment Practice, is a New Jersey Court Rule 1:40 qualified mediator. Mr. Custode is a seasoned employment law practitioner with extensive experience representing both employees and employers and therefore, understands the issues that are important to both sides in an employment law dispute. This experience is an asset that helps Mr. Custode assist parties with the amicable resolution of their dispute. If you are in need of an employment law mediation, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.  

How to Prove a Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey

How to Prove a Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey

It is important to understand how to prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination because it provides employees with a legal remedy for harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

If an employee is experiencing a hostile work environment, it can have a significant impact on their physical and mental health, as well as their ability to perform their job duties. It can also create a toxic workplace environment that can affect other employees and the organization as a whole.

Knowing how to prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination can help employees protect their legal rights and hold their employer accountable for harassment and discrimination.

What is a Hostile Work Environment? 

Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, a hostile work environment occurs when an individual is subjected to harassing conduct based on a protected characteristic such as race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by law, that is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive or hostile work environment.

The conduct must be unwelcome, offensive, or hostile and can include verbal or physical behavior such as derogatory comments, slurs, threats, intimidation, or physical assault. It may also include non-verbal conduct such as displaying offensive images or engaging in unwelcome touching.

Can You Sue Your Employer For a Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey?

Yes, an employee who has experienced a hostile work environment in New Jersey may sue their employer in court under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. In order to have a valid claim, the employee must demonstrate that the harassment was based on protected characteristics such as race, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, age, or other protected status.

How to Prove a Work Environment is Hostile

To prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, an employee must generally show that: the employee was subjected to conduct that was severe or pervasive enough to alter the conditions of their employment and create an abusive or hostile work environment; the conduct was based on a protected characteristic such as race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, or any other protected status under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination; and the conduct was unwelcome and offensive to the employee.

Evidence to prove a hostile work environment claim can include:

  • Testimony from the employee who experienced the harassment;
  • Witness testimony from other employees who witnessed the harassment or were also subjected to it;
  • Documentation of the harassment, such as emails, texts, or other messages;
  • Any formal complaints made by the employee about the harassment to their employer;
  • The employer’s response to the harassment, including any investigation or corrective actions taken;
  • Evidence of any adverse employment actions taken against the employee as a result of their complaints or objections to the harassment.

If an employee can prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, they may be entitled to damages, including lost wages, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages.

If You’re a Victim of a Hostile Work Environment an NJ Employment Attorney Can Help

 It is important for employees who believe they are experiencing a hostile work environment to document the harassment and report it to their employer or a human resources representative as soon as possible, and to seek the advice of an experienced New Jersey employment law attorney to protect their legal rights.

The employment attorneys at CMS are trusted counselors who provide important strategic legal advice to their clients. Our attorneys understand their clients’ needs and advocate on their behalf. If you believe you have been subject to unlawful workplace harassment or a hostile work environment, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC

How to Handle Reasonable Accommodation Requests

How to Handle Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Federal and state law requires employers to engage in dialogue with employees who seek accommodations due to disability.  An employer’s failure to grant accommodations requests may give rise to legal claims. Therefore, it is important for employees to know their rights and for employers to understand their legal obligations.  

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job.

The specific reasonable accommodations that are required under the ADA can vary depending on the nature of the disability and the job involved.

Five Tips For Handling Reasonable Accommodation Requests

When it comes to handling reasonable accommodation requests there are some steps that both employees and employers should take. Below we outline five tips for handling reasonable accommodation requests.

1. Review the ADA

It is a good idea to review the Americans with Disabilities Act before making a reasonable accommodation request. This can help an employee understand their rights as an employee or job applicant with a disability, as well as the obligations of the employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

By reviewing the Americans with Disabilities Act, the employee can learn more about the types of accommodations that may be available, and how the accommodation process works. Employees can also learn about the legal protections that are available if their employer fails to provide reasonable accommodation.

2. Request Documentation 

As an employee, it is generally a good idea to provide documentation when making a request for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The documentation should establish that the employee has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and explain how the disability limits the employee’s ability to perform their essential job functions.

The documentation can come from a variety of sources, such as a healthcare provider, rehabilitation specialist, or vocational counselor. It should include information about the nature of the employee’s disability, how it affects the employee’s ability to work or apply for a job, and any recommended accommodations that would help the employee perform the essential functions of the employee’s job.  Providing documentation can help expedite the accommodation process and ensure that the employer understands the employee’s disability-related needs.

3. Keep the Request Confidential

It is important to keep accommodation requests confidential to protect the privacy of the employee making the request. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that employers keep confidential any medical information they receive related to an employee’s disability or request for a reasonable accommodation. This includes any documentation provided by the employee or their healthcare provider.

Keeping accommodations requests confidential can also help to prevent discrimination or harassment against employees with disabilities. If an accommodation request is shared with other employees or supervisors who do not have a legitimate need to know, it can lead to stigmatization of the employee.

4. Respond in a Timely Manner 

It is important for employers to respond to accommodation requests in a timely manner. 

Delays in responding to accommodation requests can cause undue hardship to the employee and can negatively impact their ability to perform their job duties or participate in the hiring process.

Employers should have a process in place for handling accommodation requests, which includes responding to requests promptly and working with the employee or job applicant to identify and implement appropriate accommodations. 

If an employer needs more time to respond to an accommodation request, they should communicate with the employee and provide an estimated timeline for a response. It is important for employers to keep the lines of communication open with employees throughout the accommodation process to ensure that their needs are being addressed and to avoid unnecessary delays.

5. Consult an Employment Attorney With Experience in Workplace Accommodations

If an employee is uncertain about their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act or feels that their employer has not provided them with a reasonable accommodation, consulting with a New Jersey employment attorney may help clarify the situation and provide guidance on how to proceed.

In addition, an employment attorney can help an employee navigate the accommodation process and ensure that their rights are protected. This can be especially important if an employee feels that they have experienced discrimination or retaliation as a result of their request for accommodation.

Curcio Mirzaian Sirot’s New Jersey employment attorneys 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 counseling regarding reasonable workplace accommodations, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC

Five Employment Laws Every Manager Should Be Aware of in New Jersey

Five Employment Laws Every Manager Should Be Aware of in New Jersey

It is important for managers to know New Jersey employment laws for several reasons, including the following:

  1. Compliance: Managers are responsible for ensuring that their organization complies with all relevant employment laws. Failure to comply with these laws can result in legal action, fines, and other penalties. Therefore, it is important for managers to have a thorough understanding of New Jersey employment laws to ensure that their organization is in compliance.
  2. Risk Management: Knowledge of employment laws can help managers identify potential legal risks and take proactive measures to mitigate those risks. This can include developing policies and procedures that are compliant with the law, training employees on their rights and responsibilities, and documenting employment decisions to help defend against legal challenges.
  3. Employee Relations: Understanding employment laws can help managers create a positive and respectful workplace culture that supports employee well-being and productivity. For example, managers who are knowledgeable about anti-discrimination laws can help prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace, which can improve employee morale and retention.

Throughout the rest of this article, we will walk through the five employment laws every manager in New Jersey should be aware of. 

1. New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law

The New Jersey Wage and Hour Law is a set of regulations that governs the payment of wages and overtime for employees in the state of New Jersey. The law establishes minimum wage rates and requires that most employees be paid overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.  

It is important for managers to be aware of the New Jersey Wage and Hour law because they are responsible for ensuring that their company complies with these regulations. Failure to comply with the law can result in penalties, fines, and legal action in court or the New Jersey Department of Labor.  

The New Jersey Wage Payment Law (NJWPL) is a state law that outlines the requirements for paying wages and compensation to employees. The law applies to all employers in New Jersey, regardless of their size or industry, and covers hourly and salaried employees.

Under the NJWPL, employers are required to:

  1. Pay employees their wages on time: Employers must pay their employees at least twice per month, and the pay periods must be no more than 10 days apart. In addition, employers must pay employees for all wages earned within a certain pay period no later than 10 days after the end of that period.
  2. Pay employees the correct amount: Employers must pay employees the agreed-upon rate of pay for the work they have performed, and cannot make unauthorized deductions from their paychecks. Additionally, employers must provide employees with a statement of earnings that shows the hours worked, the rate of pay, and any deductions.
  3. Provide employees with notice of their pay rate: Employers must provide employees with written notice of their pay rate and the method of payment, either at the time of hire or within 30 days of the start of employment. If the pay rate changes, employers must provide employees with written notice of the change at least one pay period before it takes effect.
  4. Pay terminated employees in a timely manner: Employers must pay terminated employees their final wages within a certain time frame, depending on the circumstances of the termination.

2. New Jersey Whistleblower Law 

In general, the main whistleblower law in the State of New Jersey is the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”).  CEPA is a state law that protects employees from retaliation by their employers for reporting or objecting to illegal or unethical activities in the workplace. The law is designed to encourage employees to speak up about wrongful conduct by their employers without fear of retaliation.

CEPA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who disclose or threaten to disclose any activity or practice they reasonably believe is illegal, fraudulent, or harmful to public health or safety. It also protects employees who refuse to participate in activities that they reasonably believe to be illegal, fraudulent, or harmful.

It is important for managers to know about CEPA because they have a responsibility to ensure that their company is complying with the law and that employees are protected from retaliation.

In addition, knowing about CEPA can help managers create a culture of ethics and compliance within their company. By promoting a workplace culture that values ethical conduct and encourages employees to report concerns, managers can help prevent illegal or unethical conduct from occurring in the first place.

3. New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) 

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) is a state law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on certain protected characteristics. The law applies to employers of all sizes and covers a wide range of employment practices, including hiring, firing, promotions, and compensation.

The protected characteristics under the LAD include race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and marital status. The law also prohibits discrimination against individuals who are pregnant or have a pregnancy-related condition.

The LAD prohibits several types of discrimination, including disparate treatment, which occurs when an employer treats an employee or job applicant differently because of a protected characteristic, and disparate impact, which occurs when an employer’s policies or practices have a disproportionately negative effect on individuals with a protected characteristic.

The LAD also requires employers to provide workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities, such as modified work schedules or equipment, to enable them to perform their job duties.

It is important for managers to know about the LAD because they have a responsibility to ensure that their company is complying with the law and that employees are not subject to discrimination.

Additionally, managers who are aware of the LAD can help create a workplace culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). By promoting an inclusive workplace, managers can help ensure that all employees are treated fairly and that the company benefits from the diverse perspectives and experiences of its workforce. 

4. New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)

The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) is a state law that provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. The NJFLA applies to employers with 30 or more employees and covers eligible employees who have worked for their employer for at least 12 months and for at least 1,000 hours during the previous 12 months.

Under the NJFLA, eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 24-month period for any of the following reasons:

  1. The birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child
  2. To care for a family member with a serious health condition
  3. To recover from the employee’s own serious health condition

It is important for managers to be aware of the NJFLA so they can take steps to ensure compliance with the law, such as developing policies and procedures for requesting and approving leave, providing employees with required notices and forms, and training supervisors and managers on the requirements of the law.

5. New Jersey Equal Pay Act (NJ EPA)

The New Jersey Equal Pay Act (NJ EPA) addresses wage discrimination based on gender. The law prohibits employers from paying unequal wages to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work unless the wage differential is based on seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, or any other factor other than sex.

The NJ EPA requires that employers provide equal pay for equal work, regardless of the job title or position held by the employees. The law applies to all employers, regardless of size, and covers all employees, including part-time, full-time, temporary, and seasonal employees.

The NJ EPA provides employees with a private right of action to sue their employers for wage discrimination. If an employee prevails in a wage discrimination claim under the NJ EPA, they may be entitled to recover lost wages, liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees.

A New Jersey Employment Attorney Can Ensure You’re Compliant  

Keeping track of the dynamic and evolving changes in employment laws is an important part of running a successful business. CMS employment attorneys understand how critical employment matters are to keeping your business running smoothly and with business goals in mind, CMS attorneys provide employers and business owners with important practical and preventative strategic legal advice to minimize risk and help them avoid potential liability.  And, if necessary, our employment attorneys act as strong advocates in defending employers when litigation arises.  If you need an employment attorney to help you navigate through the employment laws in the State of New Jersey, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.