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New Jersey Employment Law Blog

New Jersey on list of 10 most dangerous states for pedestrians

In a recent study, 24/7 Wall St. examined the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission's data from traffic-related death rates in 2014 and compared the data to the same in 2004.

New Mexico topped the list with 3.5 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents. The least deadly state was Minnesota, who had just 0.27 deaths per 100,000 people, and New Jersey was ranked at 10, with 1.88 per 100,000. 

Did cop's 'braver' choice lose him his job?

As a society today, we collectively face various sources of discord and frustration. Race relations and violence within the police force are matters of top concern today. It seems like there is consistently a new story of unarmed, African American individuals being shot by authorities.

An out-of-state case relating to this high-touch American matter stands out in a couple of notable ways. First, the police officer at the center of the incident did NOT shoot the civilian. Two other officers who responded to the scene shot and killed the suspect.

Exercising right to safety is protected by whistleblower laws

As an employee of a business, you have various rights. We often discuss employment laws related to discrimination, harassment, wages and overtime pay. But you also have a right to a safe workplace and healthy work environment

Depending on a person's line of work, the health risks posed on-the-job vary greatly. For example, a New Jersey construction worker might face more day-to-day accident risks than an accountant. Still, both types of employees not only should be reasonably protected from accidents; they should also be protected from retaliation should either report a safety problem at their place of work.

I'm a victim in the workplace, but not part of a protected class

Bullying has become a widely-discussed public concern in recent years. When we hear "bullying," many of us might think about school and kids. But as we grow up, many of us adults find out that just because school ends, that doesn't mean child-like behavior ends.

Even in the workplace, bullying can take a strong hold of some people. A more formal and legal term for bullying against certain protected classes of people is called discrimination and/or harassment. But what about those who feel bullied but are not part of a minority or protected class?

When Employers Retaliate

Retaliation is among the most common forms of employer misconduct. An employee reports sexual harassment, or fraud or racial discrimination and finds herself or himself fired or facing other negative consequences at work. An employee chooses to exercise the right to family medical leave and finds the position terminated in the interim. A worker files a claim for a workplace injury and is let go for missing work. Employers can fire workers for a wide variety of reasons, but they cannot retaliate against workers who choose to exercise their rights. An employee who has been the victim of retaliation should consider filing a lawsuit.

Unfortunately, many employers are adept at hiding retaliation under the guise of perfectly legal employment practices. Most employers are aware that they cannot fire a woman for getting pregnant. These employers will likely say they are cutting back, or claim the firing was based on performance or another valid justification. It is important to understand just what retaliation looks like so you know how and when to fight back. 

Why some women hold back their sexual harassment claims

Anyone who has been employed, even just temporarily, has more than likely gone through new hire training. That training generally includes a section on sexual harassment in the workplace.

What is the training for? It is to show workers what sexual harassment looks like and to know how to avoid committing harassment. It is to show workers what harassment is and to advise them to speak up when it happens. This training doesn't always foster the perfect, harassement-free workplace.

Fans Of Discrimination Fight Harder

Earlier this year, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice sent a joint letter to schools regarding the treatment of transgender students. The letter provided guidance to schools on how to create a "supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment" for transgender students. The notion that students should be free from discrimination seems to be a controversial one for many. A number of states have filed suit to stop the government from even recommending ways to provide a non-discriminatory environment for students. Texas, Georgia, Maine and 10 other states are asking a Federal Judge in Fort Worth to put a stop to the recommendations, despite the fact that the letter has no legal weight and contains no penalty for states choosing to ignore it.

The letter did not establish the rights of students to be free from discrimination. The U.S. Constitution established that right with the 14th Amendment preventing states from denying people the "equal protection of the laws." While the U.S. Constitution should be enough, some states are fighting against the notion that they cannot discriminate based on gender identity or expression. These states are fighting for the right to discriminate. 

Agency Chairman Believes Driverless Cars Can Save Lives

Tens of thousands of Americans die in car and truck accidents every year. These accidents take an unbelievable toll on individuals, families and the nation as a whole. The financial impact of all these traffic accidents is measured in the billions, not millions. The head of the National Transportation Safety Board believes the self-driving cars could play a significant role in preventing this catastrophic loss of life.

NTSB chairman Christopher Hart recently wrote a blog on the topic of autonomous vehicles. The NTSB has engaged in a number of efforts recently to legitimize or at least plan for the potential of driverless vehicles. In this blog, he states a position of relatively clear advocacy for the safety potential of these cars. 

Recall Neglect And Defective Automobiles

The last two years have seen motor vehicles recalled in record numbers. In 2015 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recalled more than 50 million vehicles. A recent review of auto recalls conducted by J.D. Power shows that many defective cars and trucks have not received the repairs covered under the recall. Of the vehicles recalled from 2013 to 2015, 45 million have not been repaired. Those vehicles are exposing their owners and others to unnecessary risk of injury or death.

Most car accidents are the result of human error. Auto defects are rarely the cause of an accident. Even when they don't cause an accident, however, they can contribute significantly to the damage suffered by drivers and passengers in a collision. The largest recall in NHTSA history is tied to defective airbags manufactured by Takata. More than 100 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide because of these defective airbags. While defective airbags won't cause you to crash, they can seriously injure or kill you if they ever do deploy. J.D. Power's analysis shows that defective airbags are among the least likely defects to be repaired following a recall. 

Revision Of The Standards For Wage And Hour Liability

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a Federal statute that, in essence, and put simply, requires that all workers of the 50 states and territories who are not "exempt" from being entitled to overtime pay (for work in excess of 40 hours in a given week) must get that pay. It's a long statute and there are a lot of twists and turns, but that, in essence, is it.

For a long time, the "big three" exemptions for wage and hour were: professionals, administrators, and executives. These terms, in essence, are fairly obvious. If you were any one of these three things (defined by the statute), then your employer could ask you to work more than 40 hours and not give you overtime. Most people who were properly one of these three things were probably on salary anyway.