On Tuesday December 11, Grace Byrd, Of Counsel to the Sills Cummis & Gross Employment and Labor Practice, will share her insights regarding some of the major employment law changes taking place today that will have a significant impact on New Jersey business owners and their employees going forward.

During the roundtable her discussion will focus on updating us on changes in three key areas: The NJ Paid Sick Leave Law, the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act and on a proposed bill regarding the enforceability of non-compete clauses.In addition, Grace will touch on other legal challenges and issues that all business owners need to be aware of, including the changes in medical marijuana use and the #MeToo movement. In each case, Grace will draw on a combination that includes both her depth of legal expertise and her experience gained working with business owners, executives and other professionals in order to present these complicated topics in a meaningful way and explore practical legal strategies and solutions for the attendees.

NJ Paid Sick Leave Law

When this takes effect on October 29 there will be some critical differences from previous sick leave laws.

  • The new law consolidates the requirements of various city and municipal ordinances under one umbrella ruling. Prior to this, each jurisdiction that enacted a paid sick leave law enforced their own legislation in order to address local issues; but this law reaches across all of New Jersey creating one consistent approach.  This will be much easier for business owners with multiple locations to administer throughout their organization regardless of the location, but will subject others to new restrictions that they did not otherwise have to administer.
  • It is also important to note that companies that are not subject to other leave laws because, for instance, they have fewer than 50 employees, are now responsible to do so for purposes of sick leave. No matter how small an organization is, no one is exempt.
  • For the purposes of enforcing this sick leave act, the term ‘family member’ is being loosely defined to include even those people who are closely associated with the employee. This broader definition is difficult to understand. The act says coverage is also for someone who is “the equivalent of a family member.” The traditional understanding that shaped the scope of prior sick leave acts is now altered, and it will take some time to fully understand the breadth of the intent of the new act in this area.

Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act

This went into effect on July 1, 2018 as an amendment to the existing NJ Law Against Discrimination. Adding this amendment serves to expand legal protection for those who face discrimination because of culture, race, gender and other defining attributes by specifically prohibiting pay disparity against anyone who is already protected under the NJ Law Against Discrimination.

Proposed bill regarding the enforceability of non-compete clauses

Grace will also address pending new legislation that would result in several changes to the current state of non-compete law, including, if passed, eliminating the power of the court to make modifications to draft covenants and employment contracts. Under current law, the court may modify an agreement, but going forward the court will be forced to uphold or reject the entire draft as it is written. This proposal is complicated and the criteria is very detailed, but it has great implications for employment law decisions by the court.

Grace will present an informative discussion covering these three situations, as well touching on two others that are looming on the horizon. These address changes such as those regarding the use of medical marijuana and the impact of the #MeToo movement in the workplace.

The world grows increasingly complex and the laws and regulations reflect that changing attitude. Being aware, able to spot the key issues and understand options, alternatives and best solutions, is essential for all employers.

Please plan on joining us at the December 11 Quarterly Sobel & Co. Financial Executives Roundtable breakfast to have the opportunity to learn about these key concerns.