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New Jersey Employment Law Blog

Steps to take after learning about your termination

It doesn't matter if you saw the writing on the wall or your termination caught you off guard, you should understand that you have legal rights as an employee. After you have been fired, you need to protect those rights, as you may learn that you could be owed some form of compensation.

Here are some important steps to take after learning about your termination:

  • Ask questions. For example, if your supervisor terminates you face-to-face, be respectful as you ask questions and seek additional information. If your boss or the HR rep neglects to answer them, schedule an appointment with the HR department.
  • Review your employment contract. It's here that you'll find information on termination procedures, as well as the terms and conditions of your employment. You may soon find that your employer violated your contract in some way.
  • Get what is owed to you. Maybe you find that your termination was within your employer's rights. While it may be disappointing, don't let it get you down to the point of overlooking everything that's owed to you. In addition to final payments, which can include base pay and bonuses, determine if you're in line to receive a severance package.

What to do if your employer changes your pay rate

When you sign an employment contract, you expect your employer to live up to the terms and conditions for the duration of your employment.

However, many things can go wrong during your time together, such as your employer attempting to change your pay rate.

Kevin Costello Acknowledged In The Field Of Employment Law

Firm founder, Kevin M. Costello, has been recognized by Best Lawyers® in 2020 for his work in employment law. Bestlawyers.com recognizes attorneys based on a peer review survey process that has been in place for decades. It is an honor to be recognized. Kevin is proud that the hard work he has done on behalf of our clients has earned him the respect of his colleagues. 

5 things to say to someone who is sexually harassing you at work

It may be the farthest thing from your mind, but workplace sexual harassment remains a very big problem throughout the country. Even with state and federal laws in place to protect against this, you never know when someone will cross the line.

If you have reason to believe you're the victim of sexual harassment on the job, it's critical that you take immediate action. There's no guarantee that speaking up will turn the person away once and for all, but it's better than sitting back and hoping for the best.

New Jersey sees new labor laws now and later in 2020

There was a time in America when workers had very few rights or expectations of their treatment. Until labor activists pressed governments in Trenton and Washington to offer adequate protections to the workers who carry the state and the nation, people in New Jersey had few opportunities to succeed or even expect fair treatment at work.

Since then, the laws have changed several times to adapt to the times and the new industries that came with them. Minimum wage is an important one of these laws, as it helps bring workers' pay in line with the cost of living. July 2019 brought the minimum wage in New Jersey to $10 per hour, while the new year brought it up to $11 per hour.

How does the Employment Retirement Income Security Act work?

The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) went into effect in the United States in 1974. It aims to protect workers' rights to their employer-sponsored benefits including group health care and pension plans.

ERISA makes it so employers are required to provide their employees and any of their beneficiaries with necessary information about the funding and features of pension and group welfare benefit plans.

Can you be lawfully discharged after being discriminated against?

Certain federal laws exist that can land an employer in hot water if they violate them. Many of these pieces of legislation prohibit discrimination in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Not all employers are required to abide by these pieces of legislation though.

Burlington employers are generally only required to abide by EEOC laws when they employ 15 or more workers. New Jersey employers with fewer than this number of employees can be held accountable for any violations of this federal law though.

New Jersey school district official sued for sexual harassment

The supervisor of curriculum and instruction at the Stafford Township School District (STSD) filed a sexual harassment retaliation lawsuit against the school system's superintendent on Dec. 12. In her filing, she alleges that her boss repeatedly sent her text messages requesting her to come and visit him at a bar in Manahawkin in the middle of the night.

According to court documents, the plaintiff first notified her supervisor of her impending divorce in May of 2018. She details how her boss became more interested in her following that.

New Jersey has a special state law protecting whistleblowers

Most working adults understand that they have special protections under federal law if they have to report their employer for doing something illegal. Whether someone reports their employer to a government regulatory agency or makes a report to upper management about local practices, they should not have to worry about retaliation for doing what is right.

Federal law protects those who report illegal or discriminatory behaviors from retaliation by their employers. New Jersey takes those protections a step further with the Conscientious Employee Protection Act. The idea behind whistleblower protection laws like CEPA is that by preventing employer retaliation, government agencies can increase internal reporting and make it easier to stop illegal practices at businesses.

What to do if you’re asked to work off the clock

Even if you have a set work schedule, there may come a point when your employer asks you to jump in and help with overflow work. For example, they could ask that you stick around after hours to catch up on work before the holidays arrive.

While there is nothing wrong with helping when possible, it's important to keep in mind that your employer is not legally permitted to ask you to work off the clock. If this happens, here's what you want to do:

  • Set the terms and conditions: If your employer asks you to work overtime, double-check upfront that you will be paid for the work. Don't be shy about doing this, as it sets clear expectations for both parties.
  • Turn it down: You have the right to tell your employer no if they ask you to work off the clock. Even if you're concerned about the ramifications, it's better than letting your employer take advantage of you.
  • Keep detailed notes: If you've worked off the clock in the past, collect documentation to back up your claim. This will come in handy when discussing your concerns with the HR department or filing a complaint with the Department of Labor.

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