New Jersey News & Analysis

  • Virginia enacts standards to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure

    Virginia has become the first state in the nation to enact mandatory workplace safety rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The emergency temporary standard (ETS) for infectious disease prevention took effect July 27, 2020. The new standard covers most private employers in Virginia as well as all state and local employees and will be enforced by Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH). Employers that fail to comply with the new rules face fines of up to $13,494 for a "serious" violation and up to $134,937 for a "repeat" or "willful" violation.

  • Cybercriminals find chances to pry, pounce in your COVID-19 planning efforts

    As COVID-19 spreads around the globe, cybersecurity and data privacy risks are expanding for employers. Read on to learn some simple steps you can take to address and mitigate the dangers.

  • Coronavirus-related legal claims employers can expect to face

    Employers in Delaware and elsewhere are grappling with the many new laws enacted because of the coronavirus pandemic: federal statutes on COVID-related leave, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state guidance on proper safety precautions in the workplace, and 20 new Executive Orders (and counting) signed by Governor John Carney, including the recent phased reopening of businesses. Many have had to make difficult decisions in response to the economic fallout, including layoffs, furloughs, and reductions in employee hours or compensation. On top of everything else, you can expect a new wave of litigation to follow the decisions: wrongful termination lawsuits based on age, disability, or whistleblowing, along with health and safety allegations including wrongful death. Below are just a few of the claims you can anticipate and key considerations to limit exposure.

  • 4th Circuit rules for transgender student

    Transgender student Gavin Grimm has just chalked up another victory in his years-long challenge to the Gloucester County School Board's policy requiring students to use the restrooms matching their biological sex. Grimm's win, which follows on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision extending Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964's protections to LGBTQ employees, marks yet another step in the movement to accord full equality to the community and has significant ramifications for all employers.

  • Despite recent court decisions, questions remain for religious employers

    The U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions recently that were welcome news for religious organizations and other employers that rely on religious convictions as they conduct their business. One decision bolstered the "ministerial exception," a doctrine stemming from the First Amendment that prevents government interference in religious organizations' ability to hire and fire employees. The other decision says certain private employers with religious or moral objections to birth control can exclude contraception coverage in their employer-sponsored health plans even though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates such coverage for most employers.

  • Incivility and harassment at work? Employer policies can help

    Employers concerned about racist, sexist, and other unacceptable outbursts in the workplace cheered a decision from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in July that makes it easier to discipline or fire employees for offensive speech. Under the previous standard, employees disciplined for profane outbursts often could look to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) for protection since Section 7 of the Act prohibits employer policies that may impede employee efforts to join a union or otherwise band together to improve the terms and conditions of employment. The previous standard was tolerant of some degree of heated speech uttered in the exercise of Section 7 rights as long as it wasn't violent or otherwise too extreme.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Next Chapter aims to help formerly incarcerated people. Workplace communication company Slack announced in July that Dropbox and Zoom have joined its Next Chapter apprenticeship program, which is designed to bring formerly incarcerated individuals into engineering roles. In making the announcement, Slack said criminal justice reform has never been more vital to the country's health, and formerly incarcerated individuals account for unemployment rates nearly five times as high as those faced by other jobseekers. "This partnership is a small but meaningful step toward addressing the long-term, systemic changes that are needed to make our companies and our country more just and inclusive places to work and live," the Slack announcement said. Slack began its pilot program last year, and all three of its first apprentices have joined the company as full-time engineers.

  • Family fights to keep first PA COVID-19-related wrongful death case alive

    A deceased Philadelphia area man's family recently filed Pennsylvania's very first COVID-19-related wrongful death and survival suit against his former employer—a titan of the beef-processing industry—in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The lengthy complaint (which made claims for negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, wrongful death, and survival) alleged that unsafe working conditions at the plant (e.g., working in tight quarters without proper personal protective equipment) resulted in the man contracting the virus.

  • What Virginia employers need to know about new pregnancy protections

    During its 2020 legislative session, the Virginia General Assembly passed a slew of measures providing employees with new and expanded workplace protections while also enhancing the mechanisms by which they can pursue claims against their employers for violating the newly enacted laws. Easily lost in these new sweeping measures are the recently strengthened prohibitions on discrimination in the workplace based on pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions.

  • Raft of new Maryland employment laws kicks into action

    A host of new employment laws recently took effect in Maryland. Read on for information on how to get and stay in compliance.