Author: Kristin D. Sostowski
The sponsors of pay equity legislation passed by the New Jersey Senate and Assembly earlier this year have announced that the State Senate will attempt to override Governor Christie’s veto of the bill on December 19, 2016. Senate Bill 992/Assembly Bill 2750 would amend the Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) to promote gender pay equality. The New Jersey bill follows a trend of recently enacted state laws, in California, New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts, that aim to make it easier for plaintiffs to bring pay equity claims and subject employers to potentially greater damages.
On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Green v. Brennan, held that the statute of limitations for a constructive discharge claim begins to run when the employee gives notice of his or her resignation, not at the time of the employer’s last allegedly discriminatory act giving rise to the resignation. The “constructive discharge” doctrine refers to a situation in which an employer discriminates against an employee to the point that the employee’s working conditions become so intolerable that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would feel compelled to resign.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a critical decision on June 26, 2013, striking down a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) that limited the definition of marriage for federal purposes to unions of opposite-sex couples. The Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor will have far-reaching implications for employers, at least in those states that recognize same-sex marriages, in terms of leave administration, benefits eligibility and workplace protections. In another case decided the same day, Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Court let stand a Federal District Court ruling in California that an amendment to the California Constitution limiting marriage to opposite sex couples was unconstitutional. In neither case did the Court require all states to recognize same-sex marriages.
On May 30, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board’s Acting General Counsel issued a third report on social media cases. This report follows the Board’s August 2011 and January 2012 reports on the subject, which we previously discussed. The guidance contained in the three social media reports is applicable to most private sector employers, unionized or not.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit entered an order yesterday in National Association of Manufacturers v. National Labor Relations Board, enjoining an NLRB posting requirement that would require most private sector companies to post a Notice of Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act in their workplaces. The D.C. Circuit ruling came on the heels of the District of South Carolina’s opinion last Friday in the Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB case, which held that the NLRB exceeded its authority when it approved the posting requirement.
As we have previously reported in the Employment Law Alert, an National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) final rule adopted last August requires most private sector employers — including companies that are not unionized — to post in their workplaces a Notice of Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The deadline for employers to comply, which has been extended twice in the wake of lawsuits challenging the Board’s authority to issue the rule is currently set for April 30, 2012.
The National Labor Relations Board’s Acting General Counsel recently issued a report and press release summarizing the outcomes of recent NLRB cases involving employees’ use of social media and the legality of employers’ social media policies. Among the cases discussed in the report are several in which the Board found that provisions of employers’ social media policies violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which prohibits work rules that would “reasonably tend to chill employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights” to engage in “concerted activities” for the purpose of “mutual aid or protection.”
On June 20, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. __ (2011). The decision reversed the Ninth Circuit’s 2010 en banc decision and effectively halted what would have been the largest employment discrimination class action in history against the nation’s largest private employer. The Court’s 5-4 opinion is a decisive victory for businesses that reshapes the landscape for employment-related class action litigation and class action litigation in general.
In a case of particular interest to New Jersey employers, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on June 9, 2011, in Donelson v. DuPont Chambers Works (A-112-09) that an employee who files suit under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) may recover back and front pay, even if the employee was not fired or constructively discharged, if the employee can show that he became mentally disabled as a result of the employer’s retaliation. The Court rejected the conclusion of the Appellate Division that the same standards govern remedies under CEPA and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), and that a constructive discharge must be proven to obtain back and front pay damages.
Among the provisions of the sweeping federal health care legislation enacted earlier this year, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide a new break-time requirement for nursing mothers who are non-exempt employees. A new fact sheet recently issued by the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division supplies employers with information regarding the requirements of the new law.