New Jersey Voters Stand Behind Workers and Raise Minimum Wage

On November 4th New Jersey residents voted in favor of raising the state minimum wage to $8.25 an hour. Voters overwhelmingly supported the raise, which additionally amends the state Constitution to adjust the minimum wage in tandem with the rise of inflation.

The results of the public ballot will amend Article I of the New Jersey State Constitution. The amendment begins by stating its intentions rather triumphantly:

Employment Non Discrimination Act (“ENDA”) Passes the United States Senate

The country may be in store for a new federal civil rights act, this one protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees from employment discrimination. Monday, U.S. Senate member voted to begin debate on the Employment nondiscrimination Act, also known as ENDA. A vote on whether or not to pass the law could happen as soon as later this week. If passed, the law would outlaw sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination nationwide, including in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

New Jersey Legislature Passes Two New Laws Designed at Reducing Employment Discrimination

New Jersey employees had reason to rejoice this summer, as the New Jersey legislature passed two pieces of legislation on August 27th that strengthens employee privacy and prohibit certain types of discrimination based on private matters.

Discrimination Lawsuit Charges Red Lobster Franchisee with Sexual Harassment

A Red Lobster Franchisee, GMRI, Inc., has been charged in a lawsuit alleging pervasive sexual harassment and discrimination at its Salisbury, MD location, in violation of federal law. The Philadelphia Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) district office in Pennsylvania is bringing the claim.   The EEOC is a federal agency charged with handling employment discrimination

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reaches settlement with Toys “R” Us in Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has reached a settlement with Toys “R” Us in an employment discrimination lawsuit. Toys “R” Us is one of the world’s largest retailers of toys and children’s products in the world, and has multiple retail locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and all around the United States. The disability discrimination lawsuit filed at the Philadelphia EEOC district office against Toys “R” Us, Inc. has resulted in a $35,000 settlement and payment of significant equitable relief for employment discrimination. The settlement is one in a number of rising employment discrimination lawsuits settling in the EEOC district offices of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Legislature Considering Bill to Amend the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to Expand the Rights of Pregnant Employees

On September 30, 2013, New Jersey (NJ) Senate proposed legislation requiring employers to make reasonable accommodation available for pregnancy-related needs when requested by the employees with the advice of their physician. Currently, under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJ LAD), there is no requirement that preferential leave be given to a pregnant employee, unless complications related to the pregnancy rise to the level of a disability under New Jersey discrimination law.

Reports of Religious Discrimination Rising in New Jersey

Religious discrimination in the workplace continues to rise in New Jersey and around the country.  As the Wall Street Journal recently reported,  reports of employment-based religious-discrimination are sky rocketing.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has reported a surge of wide-ranging employee claims of religious discrimination as expressions of faith have grown more diverse. The EEOC defines religious-discrimination as “treating a person (applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religious … but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs. Religious discrimination can also involve treating someone differently because that person is married to (or associated with) an individual of a particular religion or because of his or her connection with a religious organization or group.”

New Jersey Supreme Court rules against Discrimination as New Jersey becomes 14th State to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

TRENTON, NEW JERSEY (NJ): On October 18, 2013, the Supreme Court of New Jersey (NJ) unanimously ruled to enforce the Mercer County Superior Court Judge’s decision declaring the state’s marriage law banning same-sex marriage to constitute unlawful discrimination and accordingly, unconstitutional. Judge Mary Jacobson of Mercer County Superior Court ruled on September 27, 2013 in favor of same-sex couples who challenged the law regarding civil unions, arguing the law restricted federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples. For example, under federal and New Jersey (NJ) employment laws, legally married couples may take leave to provide care to a spouse with a serious medical condition (under the Family Medical Leave Act, “FMLA”, and the New Jersey Family Leave Act, “NJ FLA”). However, couples not legally married are not entitled to such protections.

Disability Discrimination Plaintiff Will Not Have to Arbitrate Claims

A former Chili’s employee suffering from a rare medical disability who asserts that Chili’s discriminated against him and failed to accommodate his disability, in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJ LAD) will not be required to arbitrate his claims despite having signed an arbitration agreement at the time of his hire.

Truck Drivers Bring Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) Action Against Stevens Transport

DALLAS, TEXAS: Earlier this week, three over-the-road truck drivers of Stevens Transport, Inc. filed a class and collective action lawsuit asserting that the trucking company violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by paying them under the federal minimum wage for all hours worked.  Swartz Swidler, LLC, an employment law firm in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (NJ) which focuses on employment law with an emphasis on wage and hour  litigation, represents the truck drivers in the action.