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New Jersey Employment Law Blog

New Jersey Education Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses Immigrant Students and the Right to Free and Appropriate Public School Education

Or... "Our Society Depends on Educating Everyone."

In 1982, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) held that a state law allowing school districts to deny enrollment to school-age undocumented immigrants violated the Federal Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. William Brennan, writing for a majority of the court, explained that the fourteenth amendment's guarantee of equal protection was designed to ensure "the abolition of governmental barriers presenting unreasonable obstacles to advancement on the basis of individual merit."

Nothing in that quote, and nothing in that case, has anything to do with citizenship; or at least, it shouldn't. Before we get into what Jersey requires, I want to make sure that we're both on the same page. 

Hotel faces wage discrimination suit

One would like to think that in 2017, women working entry-level service positions could at least expect to be paid as much as their male counterparts. After all, entry-level by definition require very little experience and generally offer pay that is only slightly better than minimum wage. Unfortunately, a civil suit filed against a New Jersey hotel demonstrates that workplace discrimination is alive and well even in some of the most positions.

According to the suit, men and women who were hired by the hotel as housekeeping staff were paid differently based solely on their gender — $8 per hour for women and $9 to $10 per hour for men. Not only was this discrimination practiced by the hotel, when a female employee had the decency to question the disparity, she was fired.

New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses the Racism of President Trump

or... "Trump set the bar in the sewer, and then he sank below it." 

So, Jeff Sessions is now the new Attorney General. It's a joke, but setting that aside, there's no excuse for what transpired when Senator Elizabeth Warren, opposing Trump's horrid nomination Sessions, was silenced by the Republicans - specifically, Sen. Mitch McConnell - for "violating" the Senate rules by "impugning the motives" of Sessions.

The "offending" comments shared by Warren were quotes from a letter from the late Coretta Scott King, who objected to Sessions' nomination for a federal judgeship in the 1980's, a position for which he's equally morally unqualified.

Not surprising. What does Trump do when challenged? Scream. Accuse. Lie. Deflect. Tweet. So how can we expect different from his lackeys in the GOP? 

If you've been fired, stay calm and take action

Most all of us, at one time or another throughout our lives, will experience being terminated from a job. However, just because it happens to many people doesn't mean it was rightfully done in your case. It is difficult to say here whether or not your termination was wrongful or not — there are many variables that must be carefully evaluated in each instance. If you believe that your termination may have been wrongful, then there are steps you should take to build the strongest case possible.

The best thing you can do is remain calm and quietly gather as much pertinent information as you can. Unfortunately, what may seem like an unfair firing may simply be a standard procedure that was carried out in a surprising or hurtful way. It is best to minimize your chances of ruining further opportunities by remaining calm and collected and avoiding any urges to act out against your former employer.

New Jersey Employment, Civil Rights and Medical Malpractice Lawyer Discusses the Myth of the Medical Malpractice Lawsuit "Crisis"

Or... To The Medical Malpractice Insurance Industry: "Liar, liar, pant on fire!" 

I've talked before about the power of Orwellian propaganda over the (apparently) undisciplined and lazy American mind that listens to whatever it likes the sound of, but doesn't "fact-check" anything, anymore. Americans that have "gone red" on one issue, tend to "go full red" on all issues, which means that most of the time, most Americans are voting against their own interests when they vote for candidates that are pro-limitations on lawsuits, pro-removal of accountability for wrongdoers, pro-employer, pro-corporate America, pro-pharmaceuticals and pro-big medicine.

One of the things people like to talk about - not that they know any of the accurate facts, but that's never stopped an American "opinion holder" before - is the medical malpractice "crisis." They've heard about this on conservative talk radio and Fox News. They're heard about it from their doctors. They've heard about it at conservative gatherings and from conservative newsletters and groups. 

Can I be fired for leaving my job to serve in the military?

The choice to serve our country is a great sacrifice, and should be met with great dignity and respect. Sadly, those who make the sacrifice to put their lives on hold and serve their country often face many difficulties returning to their regular lives, especially those who have established employment. The good news is that service members, especially Guard and Reserve members, have some special protections and rights to re-employment when there service takes them away from a job.

Under federal law, a service member who leaves a job to serve in the military is essentially on an unpaid professional leave of absence. Through the law, you are generally able to re-enter your former employment position after returning from service. There are some specific limits on how long a service member may be gone and how they may approach they re-entry into the workforce once they return.

What is a retaliatory firing?

Whenever a person is let go from a job, there is the potential for that person to feel that he or she has been wrongfully terminated. There are a number of reasons that a job termination may not be legal, and it is important to have a good grasp on the basics of wrongful termination laws to help you evaluate if your experience was illegal or simply frustrating. One of the key elements to many wrongful termination cases is whether or not the firing was retaliatory.

In general, an employer is restricted from firing an employee after they take or suggest they will take certain actions. Protected actions usually include reporting illegal activity or unethical behavior to a regulation enforcement agency.

New Jersey Wage and Hour Class Action Trial Attorney Discusses Overtime-Exempt "Executives" and the Federal Salary Minimum

Or... How can an "Executive," "Administrative," or "Professional" make


The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act - our Federal "Wage and Hour" law - generally requires that employees who work over 40 hours in a given week receive extra overtime pay calculated at 150% of their regular pay rate. But as with all good ideas, there are exceptions (called "exemptions" under the law). Three of the most popular such exemptions are bona-fide "executive," "administrative," or "professional" employees. These exemptions are commonly referred to as the "white collar" exemptions.

Under the current law, a salaried worker making as little as $23,660.00 per year can be classified as one of these. Someone making that salary in the State of Pennsylvania, for example, trying to raise a family, would be illegible for many social relief and "safety net" programs such as free meals, Medicaid, food stamps and Section 8 housing vouchers. On the other hand, you can bet your ass that none of the lawmakers who have ignored this economic reality are living such marginal lives. 

What is reasonable accomodation?

Individuals who suffer from disabilities are fortunate to be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which offers a range of requirements employers must abide by. Nnot only does the ADA restrict an employer from discriminating against an employee with a disability, it also requires an employee to make "reasonable accommodations" to allow disabled employees to fully or near-fully participate in everyday activities.

The term "reasonable accommodation" is tricky, from a legal perspective. On one hand, it gives a great deal of leverage to disabled workers, granting them the right to be treated fairly in many circumstances. However, the term is very deliberately vague and entails that an employer is not obligated to undertake all accommodations for a disabled person, but only those that would not bring about an "undue hardship" for the employer.

Violating the rights of service dog owners

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) is quite clear when it comes to the issue of equal access. Owners, managers and employees are forbidden from denying full and equal access based on a number of categories, including race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and disability. When it comes to people with disabilities who use service animals, the effect of the law is that that animal, be it a guide dog or other type of service animal, and its owner cannot be denied access. This applies to restaurants, shopping centers, rental properties, schools and just about property on which members of the public can go. Federal law likewise prohibits people from denying access to service animals and their owners.

Misuse and misunderstandings

In recent years, situations of fraud involving service dogs have drawn headlines. Several states have passed laws to combat the problem of people misrepresenting their pets as service animals. The laws and bad press may leave some with the impression that many or most of the people traveling with service animals do not actually need them. This impression is why the primary victims of service animal fraud are not property owners, but rather people with disabilities who rely on their service animals.