The HR Specialist: New Jersey Employment Law

New Jersey and its public employees will pay more for health insurance coverage next year. Rates for 2012 health insurance plans will rise by an average of 9% for active state employees, 3% for retirees and a whopping 10.3% for municipal employees.

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An employee at a Rockaway Dunkin’ Donuts faces prostitution charges after local police caught her supplementing her income by providing additional services. Police had re­­ceived an anonymous tip that the woman was making late-night trips to Dunkin’ Donuts a little sweeter for some patrons.

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Employees who quit their jobs aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation benefits unless they legitimately believe they had no choice but to resign. But if an employer makes a genuine effort to help the employee stay and he turns down that offer, he may lose eligibility for unemployment.

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It’s all in the timing: An employee may have a case if her request for FMLA leave is suddenly followed by a reorganization that results in the loss of her job.

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Good news for employers vexed by employees’ repetitious and frivolous lawsuits: If a trial court does a good job explaining why a case should be dismissed, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals probably won’t grant an appeal.

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When faced with a reduction in force, employees who are out on FMLA leave don’t enjoy greater protection than other employees. For example, being on maternity leave does not exclude an employee from being considered for the RIF. That would give those on FMLA leave rights above and beyond those of other employees.

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You won’t find many employers extolling the upsides of having a unionized workforce, but there is one advantage. If your union contract provides for a probationary period before an employee becomes a permanent part of your workforce, you may have more discretion in how you discipline the new em­­ployee.

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Hiring rules that end up excluding many applicants who belong to a protected class can spell big trou­ble. That’s because if the rule has a disparate impact on any particular protected class, it may be invalid and could become the basis for a lawsuit. At a minimum, be prepared to show that the rule is based on business necessity.

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A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order that prohibits a New Jersey hospital from forcing 12 nurses to participate in training or services related to abortions.

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Do you have a zero-tolerance rule against employees who use or possess illegal drugs at work? If you don’t apply it to all employees who break the rule, you will be sued.

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