Employment Laws: What are the Employment Laws in New Jersey?
The state of New Jersey has several laws that offer higher protection to its employees in comparison to federal regulations. These include pregnancy accommodation rights, health care continuation policies, paid family leave coverage, higher minimum wage, and more. However, the state emulates federal law about issues like military leave, jury duty leave, and overtime pay.
New Jersey has many laws that provide greater protections to employees than federal law, including pregnancy accommodation rights, a higher minimum wage, health care coverage obligations for smaller employers and paid family leave insurance; but generally follows federal law for topics such as overtime pay, jury duty leave and military leave.
Some significant requirements in New Jersey impacting employee relations are as follows:
Pregnancy accommodation for New Jersey
Employers should offer reasonable relaxations for employees who are recovering from their childbirth, currently pregnant, undergoing any medical condition pertaining to breastfeeding, childbirth, or pregnancy, or are breastfeeding. Such employees do not need to prove that they are currently disabled due to a pregnancy-related condition or pregnancy for receiving accommodations at their workplaces. Instances of reasonable accommodations are as follows:
- The capability to carry a water bottle or frequent breaks for drinking more water
- Bathroom breaks
- Modified work schedule or job duties
- Periodic rest periods
- Reasonable break time daily and an appropriate location, which should be near their work area, should not be a toilet stall and is private so that they can expel breast milk for their infants.
- Help with manual labor
- Temporary transfer to enable such employees to stay away from hazardous or strenuous work
Fair employment practices in New Jersey
The LAD or NJLAD (New Jersey Law Against Discrimination) restricts harassment and differentiation in employment. Check out the protected characteristics below:
- National origin
- Civil union, partnership or marital status
- Liability for military duty
- Gender expression or identity
- Pregnancy including breastfeeding
- Genetic information such as non-agreement to undergoing genetic testing
- Blood or atypical hereditary cellular trait
- Sexual or affectional orientation
The same law also requires that an employer cannot retaliate against his/her employees for the following reasons:
- Disagreeing to any act prohibited according to the LAD
- Testifying or participating in any proceedings
- Lodging a discrimination complaint
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination applies to all private and public employers irrespective of their sizes.
Discussion of wages in New Jersey
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination allows employees in the state to inquire their former or current colleagues about their salaries among other things so that they can either investigate or take necessary legal steps related to discriminatory pay practices. Plus, employers are restricted from making any retaliatory actions against those employees who had requested for such information.
Equal pay in New Jersey
When an employer pays any compensation to an individual employee that is not at par with another employee or employees external to the class for a similar kind of work, it is considered an illegal employment practice. It is particularly so when the responsibility, effort, and skill needed in work is similar. Employers cannot lower the compensation rate of an employee for complying with the law.
However, an employer can pay a different compensation rate, in case it is demonstrated that merit or a seniority system has made such a distinction or when an employer shows any of the following:
- Every factor is reasonably applied
- Factors so not perpetuate any protected characteristic
- The differential compensation rate is from certain bona fide or legitimate factors like production quality or quantity, experience or education or training
- Such an element is typically job-related and is based on a business necessity