The HR Specialist: New Jersey Employment Law

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently held that an employer that continues to provide all or substantially all of its services during a strike will be hard-pressed to oppose its striking employees’ applications for unemployment benefits. That’s true even if the strike results in significant losses in revenue and profits.

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A federal jury in Newark has awarded $2.5 million in damages to 343 sales managers employed by office superstore Staples. The court determined the retailer misclassified the managers as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act when they were not.

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Fourteen employees of a Costco store in Hackensack took recycling a bit too far when they started reusing customer coupons for free fabric softener and dryer sheets. The employees wound up paying a high price for their “free” loot. When investigators brought the matter to the attention of store manager Sami Nasr, he fired all 14 employees.

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When planning a reduction in force, it’s natural to decide who should stay and who should go by ranking employees based on the skills you’ll need after downsizing. Before managers start ranking employees, make sure they understand not to use temporary medical problems and their consequences as a reason for deciding to terminate an employee.

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It’s a fact that employees who think they are in trouble will look for ways to avoid termination—or profit from it. So it should come as no surprise if an employee files an EEOC discrimination complaint after you discipline him and warn that he may soon be terminated.

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Employers that use arbitration clauses can often get lawsuits sent to an arbitrator for faster and less expensive resolution—but only if they are prepared to prove that their employees agreed to arbitration.

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The recently signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act may apply to pay discrimination cases that were filed before the law was signed and after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that employees have just 300 days to file pay claims after the initial alleged discriminatory decision.

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A recent report offers some ominous news for New Jersey employers. New Jersey is one of eight states that saw an increase in class-action wage-and-hour cases filed in state court last year. Advice: Brace yourself for even more wage-and-hour litigation. Such cases typically increase during economic downturns …

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Two companies headquartered in New Jersey have made Fortune magazine’s 2009 “100 Best Companies to Work For” list: Atlantic Health, headquartered in Morristown; and Novo Nordisk, based in Princeton.

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Sleeping on the job isn’t productive, and most employers have rules against it. In some environments, falling asleep on duty is downright dangerous and can result in large fines.

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