Important New Jersey Employee Rights:
New Jersey Employee Rights: Background Checks
In New Jersey, it is not uncommon for an employer to perform a background check on all prospective employees. Background checks, with regards to New Jersey Employee Rights, are perfectly legal so long as they do not impede on specific laws or agency regulations. For instance, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights takes the position that an employer may not delve into a prospective employee’s arrest record. Convictions, on the other hand, are perfectly legal so long as they shed some light on the applicant’s behavior and qualifications for the respective position.
New Jersey Employee Rights; Wage Disputes & Minimum Wage Laws
The minimum wage in New Jersey is currently set at the federal minimum wage level: $7.25. New Jersey employee rights requires employer to provide “non-exempt” pay to employees time and a half for any overtime work (any work in excess of the standard forty-hour work week. The New Jersey Wage & Hour Law provides that executive, administrative, professional and other employees are “exempt” and are not entitled to the 1.5 overtime pay. To find out who is exempt from these laws you should visit the United States Department of Labor’s webpage located here:
Employers routinely violate New Jersey Employee Rights with regards to overtime laws by classifying a non-exempt employee as exempt. Employers also violate these laws when they provide “comp time” instead of paying the required overtime. If you feel as though your employer is illegally preventing you from receiving overtime pay, you should contact an employee rights attorney to discuss your New Jersey employee rights.
New Jersey Employee Rights: Break Periods
Unlike most states, New Jersey employee rights DO NOT include any laws pertaining to breaks. The state of New Jersey does not apply any law that entitles employees (except those under the age of 18 years old) to any breaks, no matter how long they work for. Currently, a New Jersey employee must rely on federal regulations, including those instituted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Although New Jersey employee rights do not account for breaks, bills have been introduced in both the state Senate and Assembly that, if passed, will provide employees with meal breaks and protected rest periods. Specifically, the bills provide breaks to employees who work more than six consecutive hours. According to the bill, these workers would be entitled to a 30-minute food break. For employees who work more than four consecutive hours, a 15-minute rest break would be applied.
New Jersey Employee Rights: Defamation
The majority of prospective employers check references before making hiring decisions. This process means that the employer will call your previous employers listed on your resume to inquire about your attitude and performance. A lot of New Jersey companies institute a policy to only provide dates of employment, salary and other generic information while others will ask more probing questions to your previous employer.
If your previous employer gives you a bad reference and ultimately hinders your ability to find new work it is possible to file an action for defamation. Defamation refers to the publication of a false statement that damages the reputation of another. “Publication” is the legal meaning delivering said information to someone else. The statement does not have to formally publish in a magazine or newspaper to be defaming. What it must be—to win a defamation suit—is false. If the information your old employer relayed to your prospective employer is true, you do not have a case for defamation. However, if your previous employer is acting out of spite and exaggerating your performance, you can—according to New Jersey employee rights—pursuit a case for defamation.
New Jersey Employee Rights: Drug Testing
New Jersey Employee Rights does not apply a statute that protects employees from alcohol or random drug testing at work. That being said, the New Jersey Supreme Court suggested that random testing may be an invasion of an employee’s right to privacy. At the same time; however, the court held that where a job’s safety is a legitimate concern of an employer, random drug and/or alcohol testing may be instituted.
New Jersey Employee Rights: Employee Privacy
NJ Employee Rights are not too strong. Because of this, all New Jersey employees should be careful when engaging in sensitive personal communications while on the job. In most cases, New Jersey employers may read any correspondence made from employer-owned computer portals. Even the smallest of New Jersey employers institute their own NJ employee rights that make e-mail servers, copy machines and fax machines property of the company. New Jersey employees, therefore, have no reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to said machines. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities—a prominent organization responsible for implementing NJ employee rights–also permits employers to monitor employee telephone conversation. In many industries, including the security sector, phone calls are required to be monitored as a NJ employee right. That being said, New Jersey employee rights force employers to only listen to such correspondences for specific purposes, including quality assurance and training. NJ employee rights also state that employees must be informed before prior to calling that their correspondences will be monitored.
New Jersey Employee Rights: Leave Rights
New Jersey employee rights protect employees through both the New Jersey Family Leave Act and the Federal Family Medical Leave Act. The New Jersey Family Leave Act requires employers (with 50 or more employees) to provide up to 12 weeks of leave in a 2 year period for the adoption or birth of a child or for serious health conditions of parents, spouses or children. Dissimilar to the Federal Act, the NJFLA does not offer protection for an employee’s serious health condition.
New Jersey Employee Rights: Payroll and Paychecks
New Jersey employee rights require the majority of employees in New Jersey to be paid the full amount of their wages at least twice a month on regular paydays. Each payday—according to NJ employee rights— must be no more than 10 working days after the end of the previous pay period for which funds are delivered. Higher-ranking employees—according to NJ employee rights–including supervisors or Executives, may be paid monthly.
If an employee is fired or quits his/her job, the individual is entitled to be paid all due wages no later than the regular payday for the scheduled pay period. That being said, NJ Employees rights do not extend to pay for unused sick or vacation time unless the employee has contractual rights to said payments expressed in their employment contract. Therefore, if you plan on leaving your job and have accrued vacation and/or sick time, you should check your employee manual to determine your specific rights.
New Jersey Employee Rights: Sexual Harassment
The New Jersey Law Against Sexual Harassment and Discrimination protects all employees against sexual harassments and offers powerful remedies for victims of all types of harassment. Based on NJ employee right, there are two distinct forms of sexual harassment:
NJ Employee Rights involving Hostile Working Environment: This form of sexual harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to a hostile work environment. The victim is forced to suffer as a result of offensive touching, visible pornography, sexually explicit or charged language and other forms of unacceptable practices or actions in the workplace.
NJ Employee Rights involving Quid Pro Quo Harassment: This form of sexual harassment occurs when a boss (superior) demands or suggests sexual favors in exchange for a favorable employment maneuver (such as a promotion or raise). This form of sexual harassment can occur under the ruse of preventing an adverse action (such as being demoted or fired).
Although there are two distinct forms of sexual harassment in New Jersey, both are equally damaging and illegal. New Jersey employee rights provide protection—through the form of legal action—against these illicit behaviors.
New Jersey Employee Rights: Unemployment Benefits
What are the threshold requirements for unemployment benefits in New Jersey?
• To be eligible for unemployment compensation in New Jersey based on NJ employee rights, you must be available to work, able to work and actively seeking work
What happens if you quit; can you still get unemployment compensation?
• If you quit, you will only be able to collect unemployment compensation if you resigned for “good cause”. For instance—according to NJ employee rights– if your employer insists that you perform unethical tasks or illegal actions. If you quit under these circumstances, New Jersey Employee Rights will safeguard your right to unemployment compensation.
What happens if I get fired; can I still collect unemployment compensation?
• You, based on NJ employee rights, are entitled to unemployment compensation unless you were terminated for “misconduct.” NJ employee rights state that f misconduct will include things such as breaking company policies or severe insubordination. If the state determines—upon investigation—that you engaged in misconduct, you will be—most likely—be disqualified from receiving compensation for six weeks. If—based on NJ employee rights–it is ruled that you committed severe or gross misconduct (stealing or egregiously violating your employer’s rules) you may be permanently disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation.