Can an employee who wants to prove discrimination take, copy and disclose company documents? How does that square with the company’s right to protect what it deems to be confidential information? The New Jersey Supreme Court recently offered some guidance on this issue in Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright.
Q. I’ve been hearing a new term lately: “cat’s paw” liability. What is it, and why should I be worried about it?
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) expresses a clear legislative intent to prohibit discrimination in all aspects of the employment relationship. However, the NJLAD allows employers to refuse to accept for employment or promote anyone over 70 years of age. The law does prohibit firing someone over 70 because of age. This exception was the subject of a recent New Jersey Supreme Court ruling.
Although the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) primarily has been applied to sexual harassment claims involving employers and employees, a new decision by a New Jersey appellate court recognizes that the LAD can also apply to a refusal to engage in business transactions if it is based upon the refusal to comply with requests for sex.
Although California, Connecticut and Maine are the only states with laws requiring workplace harassment training for supervisors, employers in other states have followed their lead in an effort to reduce liability for ill-informed behavior of employees, decrease the cost of litigating complaints of harassment and create a more hospitable work environment.
Q. One of my employees was called to jury duty and assigned to a lengthy trial. What are my obligations to this employee? Do I have to grant paid leave? May I permanently replace the employee if I cannot afford to hold the position open?
Q. I run a small company with fewer than 50 employees. I was recently approached by a male employee requesting “paternity leave.” Must I provide him paid or unpaid leave upon the birth of his newborn child?
Q. During these tough economic times we get numerous unsolicited e-mailed résumés from candidates seeking employment. Do we have any obligations to keep these résumés on file?
The rise of electronic communication has forced employers and courts to take a fresh look at many issues that used to be considered routine. The age-old concept of attorney-client privilege is the latest one to whipsaw through the courts.
It’s a mantra that can’t be repeated too often: Develop a policy, communicate it to your employees, investigate when you learn of possible infractions and, if wrongdoing did occur, punish those who violated the policy. It’s refreshing to report on an employer that did everything right and emerged victorious from court.
A New Jersey appeals court has upheld the termination of an employee even though a government agency cleared him of the alleged misconduct that led to his dismissal. That means employers still have the right to make their own decisions about conduct and what they believe happened.
Relatively few lawsuits—including discrimination and employment-related cases—are actually tried in a courtroom. In most cases, the parties reach a private settlement. But what happens if the parties reach a settlement and the employer holds up its end of the bargain, only to have the employee have second thoughts and bring another lawsuit?
A New Jersey court has held that e-mails employees send to their attorneys via work computers are not protected by the attorney-client privilege. The court’s willingness to rule that an employer’s right to control how employees use its computer equipment trumps attorney-client privilege is significant. The decision makes it clearer than ever that employers should carefully consider the language they use in their employee handbooks.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled for the first time on the proof employees must offer to make a religion-based hostile work environment claim stick. The case, Cutler v. Dorn, established that New Jersey courts must decide workplace religious discrimination claims using the same legal standards they use in racial and gender discrimination claims.