In many lawsuits arising out of New Jersey overtime rights violations, the defendant’s failure to pay overtime wages will not only impact the named plaintiff but will extend to an entire class of employees. In such cases, the plaintiff can seek to pursue a collective action, asking the court to award damages on behalf of all employees who are similarly situated. If a plaintiff wishes to pursue a collective action, he or she must undergo a process in which he or she seeks the court’s approval of the purported class. The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey recently explained the process of certifying a class and the level of proof needed to obtain a certification in a New Jersey overtime rights violation case. If your employer failed to pay you and your coworkers wages earned for working overtime you should meet with a seasoned New Jersey overtime rights attorney to discuss what evidence you need to pursue a collective action.

Claimant’s Employment

Reportedly, the claimant was employed as a kitchen worker by the defendant. He worked six days per week, two shifts per day, which totaled approximately sixty hours. He was paid a weekly wage of $800.00 but was never informed of his hourly rate and was never compensated for hours worked over forty hours per week. The claimant filed a complaint alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), in which he stated that it was the defendant’s policy not to pay employees overtime wages, and averred that he had conversations with other employees, including kitchen workers and waiters, in which they stated they worked similar hours as the claimant and were not paid overtime wages. He named five other similarly situated workers in his complaint, identifying them by name, position, and physical characteristics. He subsequently filed a motion requesting that the court certify his collective action.

The Process of Determining if an FLSA Collective Action Should be Certified

The FLSA sets forth overtime guarantees that cannot be waived via a contract and grants the right to pursue a collective action to employees who are similarly situated. A collective action differs from a class action in that under the FLSA, collective members must opt-in via written consent. In the Third Circuit, determining whether a collective action should be certified is a two-step process. First, the court must determine whether the putative collective members are employees who are similarly situated to the claimant. If the court finds that they are, it will grant a conditional certification to allow the plaintiff to provide notice to anyone who may choose to opt-in and to allow the parties to conduct discovery.
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Technological developments and expansions in the global workforce mean that now more than ever companies employ people in a remote capacity. When a remote employee experiences employment discrimination, it can be difficult to determine the proper jurisdiction for pursuing a claim against an employer. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey discussed the requirements for a court to exercise specific or general personal jurisdiction over a defendant employer in a case involving a remote employee. If you are a remote employee living in New Jersey and are being discriminated against by your employer, you should seek the assistance of a skillful New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to help you pursue damages from your employer.

Reportedly, the plaintiff was a resident of New Jersey who worked from her home for the defendant employer. The defendant employer is a wholly owned subsidiary of the defendant corporation. Both the defendant employer and the defendant corporation were incorporated in Delaware and have principal places of business in Georgia. It is alleged that the plaintiff was terminated in February 2017, after which she brought a claim against the defendants for wrongful termination. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged her termination was due to a pattern of discrimination based on age and sex and for taking medical leave.

Allegedly, although the plaintiff did not work for the defendant corporation, she attempted to establish personal jurisdiction over the defendant corporation by arguing that the defendant employer was merely an instrumentality for the defendant corporation and that both defendants controlled the manner in which she performed her job duties. The defendant corporation filed a motion to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction.

New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) protects employees from adverse action after he or she reports illegal or unethical activity. There are several elements to a CEPA claim, including a reasonable belief that the employer was engaging in unsavory acts. The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey recently analyzed what constitutes sufficient evidence of a reasonable belief an employer is engaging in prohibited activity, in case in which it found sufficient evidence for the case to withstand summary judgment. If you faced adverse employment action, including termination, after you engaged in protected whistleblower activity, you should meet with a seasoned New Jersey whistleblower attorney to discuss your case and what you must show to recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Employment with the Defendant

The plaintiff accepted a position with the defendant to work as a regional manager. The defendant is a company that sells and designs business solutions and infrastructure functions for hospitals. The defendant also sponsors conferences that provide courses for healthcare providers to learn new strategies for the utilization of the defendant’s products. The defendant alleges it had concerns from the onset of the plaintiff’s employment, regarding the plaintiff’s responsiveness and level of engagement with his team. The plaintiff refutes these allegations.

If a plaintiff wishes to pursue a lawsuit to recover damages for employment discrimination, it is important for the plaintiff to include as much factual information regarding the alleged discrimination in the initial pleading as feasible. In some cases, however, information regarding parties who may be liable for the discrimination and potential causes of action will not become evident until a later date. In such cases, a plaintiff may be able to amend his or her Complaint to add additional information or counts.

In a recent case, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey discussed when leave to amend a Complaint should be granted in an employment discrimination case. If you are the victim of discrimination in the workplace, you should meet with a trusted New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to discuss whether you may be owed compensation.

Procedural Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked as a business development manager for the defendant for over ten years. He was terminated when he was 54 years old, and replaced with a person over twenty years younger. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant in state court, alleging one claim of age discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The defendant moved the case to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiff filed an amended Complaint, to which the defendant filed an Answer. Several different scheduling orders were entered, and the case was delayed for various reasons. The deadline for amending the Complaint was never extended, however, and very little discovery was conducted. Subsequently, the plaintiff moved for leave to amend the Complaint to add both new parties and new causes of action.

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Under both New Jersey and Federal Wage laws, a plaintiff seeking to recover damages for overtime and wage violations must set forth a pleading with sufficient facts that, if proven to be true, would entitle him or her to the relief requested. The United States District Court of New Jersey recently explained the allegations required to withstand a motion to dismiss in a wage violation claim. If your employer did not pay you the full wages you are owed or failed to pay your overtime wages for hours worked in excess of forty hours per week, it is prudent to speak with an experienced New Jersey overtime rights attorney to discuss your options for seeking compensation.

Allegations Regarding the Defendant’s Overtime Wage Violations

Reportedly, the plaintiff worked for the defendant as a baker and doughnut maker. The plaintiff was employed with the defendant from October 2014 through June 2016, and from June 2017 through November 2017. During both periods of employment, he worked about ten hours per day, six to seven days per week. He was paid $600.00 per week, but was not paid overtime wages. He was also not paid the total amount of wages he was owed.

It is alleged that the defendant filed a lawsuit on behalf of himself and others similarly situated in which he alleged that the defendant’s failure to pay him properly constituted violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (NJWHL). The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

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There are many classes that are protected from employment discrimination under both state and federal law. While some classes, such as race and gender, are obvious, it is not always clear whether other subsets of the population qualify as protected classes.

Recently, the United States District Court of New Jersey analyzed whether ethnicity or national origin are protected classes, ultimately ruling that a claim alleging discrimination based on ethnicity is actionable under the law. If your employer discriminated against you based on your ethnicity or ancestry, you may be owed damages and you should speak with an experienced New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to discuss the circumstances surrounding the discriminatory acts.

Discriminatory Acts of Plaintiff’s Employer 

The plaintiff, who is Slovenian, worked for the defendant employers, who owned a coin and stamp collecting business. The plaintiff alleged the defendants repeatedly told him to “act more Jewish” and to use a different first name or he would be fired. They also disparaged him for his Slovenian ancestry and told him Slovenians were “low-life” and were not respected. The defendants also forced the plaintiff to engage in a fraudulent stamp altering scheme, threatening to revoke his immigration bond if he did not keep the forgery a secret.

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While the law provides a right to seek damages due to employment discrimination, a plaintiff does not have a right to endlessly seek retribution. Rather, the doctrine of collateral estoppel, which has been adopted by New Jersey, only allows a plaintiff “one bite of the apple,” or one chance to pursue a claim. Collateral estoppel only precludes claims in certain circumstances, however.

The Superior Court of New Jersey recently analyzed the factors for precluding a claim under collateral estoppel in a case in which it ruled that the plaintiff’s employment claim was not barred by her previous employment-related proceedings in front of an administrative law judge.  If you faced adverse employment action that you believe was due to racial bias or age discrimination, it is in your best interest to consult a skilled  New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to analyze the facts of your case and whether you may be able to pursue a claim against your former employer.

The Plaintiff’s Employment

Allegedly, the plaintiff was terminated from her position at the defendant’s correctional facility due to an inappropriate relationship with an inmate. She appealed her termination and had a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, during which she testified that her supervisor used racial slurs and did not like people of color.  She then appealed to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) who recommended her termination due to the nature of her relationship with the inmate. The Superior Court of New Jersey subsequently affirmed the CSC’s determination that the plaintiff’s termination was appropriate.

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It is common for cases involving employment issues, such as wage violations, discrimination, and whistleblower claims, to be filed in federal court due to the interplay between applicable state and federal laws. In certain cases, a federal law may preempt a state law and, therefore, a claim that may be valid under state law will be dismissed. In some cases, however, the court will conclude that state law should prevail.

This was the case in a recent decision set forth by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the court rejected a claim that the Federal Administration Aviation Authorization Act (FAAAA) preempted New Jersey law in a case alleging wage violations.  If you believe your employer failed to pay you the appropriate wages for the hours you worked, you should speak with a skilled New Jersey overtime rights attorney as soon as possible to determine your options for pursuing any wages you may be owed.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiffs’ Employment

The plaintiffs, who were delivery drivers for the defendant, filed a class action lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant violated the New Jersey Wage Payment Law (“NJWPL”) and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (“NJWHL”) by incorrectly classifying them as independent contractors. The defendant filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the FAAAA preempted New Jersey law. The court denied the defendant’s motion, after which the defendant appealed.

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It is a commonly known fact that anyone who wishes to file a lawsuit must do so within the applicable statute of limitations. Under New Jersey law, the statute of limitations for filing a claim alleging a violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) is two years from the date of the adverse employment action.

Recently, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey clarified when the two-year statutory period begins to run. If you were terminated for discriminatory reasons, you should meet with an experienced New Jersey employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and develop a plan for seeking compensation.

The Plaintiff’s Termination

The plaintiff was an executive director for the defendant’s cultural and heritage commission from June 2012 until January 23, 2015, when she received a letter notifying her that her position was being eliminated to reduce costs. The letter further stated that the plaintiff would remain on the payroll and receive her full salary through June 30, 2015, and any unused vacation time would be paid to her by July 2015. The plaintiff filed a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights in February 2015 alleging that her termination violated  LAD, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII, and the American with Disabilities Act. In the complaint, she alleged she was replaced by a younger, non-disabled, non-black individual and that she suffered adverse employment action when she was terminated on January 23, 2015.

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In many instances where an employer fails to pay an employee proper wages for hours worked, the underpaid employee’s situation is not unique, and the employer is, in fact, failing to pay many individuals adequate wages. In such cases, it may be beneficial to file a collective action that allows the employee to seek wages on behalf of his or herself and all employees similarly situated. Pursuing a collective action can be complicated, however, and requires the plaintiff to prove certain factors are met.

In a case recently heard by the District Court for the District of New Jersey, the court explained the requirements a plaintiff must meet to show both a class exists and who should be included in that class. If you believe your employer improperly denied you wages for hours worked, it is in your best interest to retain a knowledgeable New Jersey overtime rights attorney to discuss the facts of your case and which option for seeking wages is most beneficial under your circumstances.

Facts Regarding Plaintiff Employment

Reportedly, the plaintiff was employed as a cook at one of the defendant’s corporate cost centers. The defendant employer provides food and hospitality services to businesses nationally in onsite cost centers, which were essentially cafes. The cafes varied in size and employed anywhere from a handful to 70 non-exempt employees. Scheduling was handled locally. The plaintiff alleged that he was forced to keep track of his own hours, request permission to work overtime, and work unrecorded hours for which he was not paid, and that the defendant failed to compensate employees for time and travel expenses. As to other workers, the plaintiff alleged that he observed other employees working hours for which they were not compensated as well. As such, he filed an action seeking wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law. The plaintiff then filed a motion for a conditional certification of the case, which the defendant opposed.

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