Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to adhere to certain wage guidelines. Among other things, the FLSA obligates employers to pay an employee overtime wages for any time he or she works that is in excess of 40 hours a week. There are certain exceptions to the FLSA overtime guarantees for employees that are deemed exempt, however. In a recent case, the United States District Court of New Jersey analyzed what an employer must establish to prove the executive exemption to the FLSA applies. If you worked more than 40 hours per week but did not receive overtime wages, you should speak with a knowledgeable New Jersey overtime rights attorney to discuss whether you may be able to pursue a claim against your employer for overtime wages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiffs’ Employment

Allegedly, the plaintiffs collectively worked as sales managers for the defendant garden and lawn supply store. The parties disputed whether the plaintiffs performed managerial duties or whether the majority of their time was spent doing merchandising work. Additionally, it was disputed how much time, if any, the plaintiffs spent supervising seasonal employees who worked below them. The plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against the defendant, alleging the defendant violated the FLSA by failing to pay them overtime wages. Plaintiffs and defendants both filed motions for summary judgment. Upon review the court denied both motions.

Exemptions Under the FLSA

The FLSA sets forth federal overtime guarantees that cannot be contractually waived. White collared employers who are paid a salary rather than an hourly wage are exempt from coverage under the FLSA. The courts have interpreted this to mean anyone in a bona fide administrative, executive, or professional capacity. Employers bear the burden of proving that an exemption to the FLSA overtime guarantee applies.

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In any case in which it is alleged that a New Jersey employer discriminated against an employee, the employer can refute the claim by showing that it has a legitimate reason for the allegedly adverse treatment the employee experienced. Even if an employer sets forth a purportedly valid reason for its actions, however, the employee can still prevail if it can show that the supposedly valid reason was merely pretext for the discriminatory acts. One method of proving pretext is by showing that other employees in similar situations were treated differently than the employee alleging discrimination. In a recent case, the United States District Court of the District of New Jersey analyzed what constitutes adequate evidence of disparate treatment in an employment discrimination case. If you were the victim of discrimination in the workplace it is imperative to meet with a trusted New Jersey employment discrimination attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Discrimination

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who is African-American, worked as a driver for the employer, a company that owns and manages thrift stores. The plaintiff was written up for multiple infractions and was ultimately suspended and then terminated. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging violations of Title VII and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Specifically, he argued that the disciplinary actions he faced for his alleged infractions were due to his race. Following discovery, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment.

Proving Disparate Treatment

Upon review, the court found that the Plaintiff had set forth a prima facie case of discrimination, in that he alleged he faced disparate treatment due to his race, which resulted in his suspension and termination. The court then analyzed whether the defendant had established non-discriminatory and legitimate reasons for the adverse employment actions and found that it had. Finally, the court assessed whether the plaintiff had established pretext for the detrimental acts. To establish pretext a plaintiff must show that a defendant’s allegedly legitimate reasons are so implausible and inconsistent that they are unworthy of credence.

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When a person is harmed by an employer’s discriminatory practices, the harm suffered is usually an adverse employment action or a hostile work environment. An employer can be held liable for discrimination that results in other harm, however. This was illustrated in a case recently decided by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey in which the court held that an adverse employment action is not required to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. If you are the victim or workplace discrimination it is vital to meet with a seasoned New Jersey employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for seeking damages for your harm.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, a middle school teacher who suffers from Type I diabetes, fainted while teaching due to low blood sugar. The plaintiff alleged that her blood sugar was low because she was unable to eat lunch at an earlier time. Further, the plaintiff alleged that the accident would not have happened if the defendant principal and defendant school board had not denied her accommodation request to eat lunch at an earlier time.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging that she suffered permanent and severe injuries when she lost consciousness and fell and asserted several claims against the defendant, including a failure to accommodate under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) claim. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted, on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to prove a prima facie case of LAD discrimination due to the failure to accommodate her disability because there was no evidence of an adverse employment action. The plaintiff appealed.

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It is not uncommon for an employee who is treated unjustly at work to set forth more than one claim against his or her employer in an employment-related lawsuit. While an employee who has faced adverse employment action is permitted to assert multiple causes of action in a single lawsuit he must do so in a timely manner. This was shown in a recent case decided by the appellate division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, in which the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend the complaint to add age-related discrimination claims, due to the untimeliness of the proposed amendment. If your employer discriminated against you based on age it is critical to meet with a New Jersey employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to pursue damages.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was a detective sergeant with the defendant police force. In 2014, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging three counts of violation of the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act. The plaintiff’s complaint specifically alleged that the defendant violated the promotional standards of the New Jersey State Police by promoting favored employees over qualified employees. Further, he alleged that his 2013 performance evaluation was not considered during a 2014 promotional event and that the promotional list was unjustly manipulated so that newer candidates were promoted over him.

The defendants moved for summary judgment, shortly before trial. In turn, the plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint setting forth claims of age discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion and he appealed. Continue reading

In 2018, the New Jersey governor signed the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (NJEPA) into law, thereby modifying the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by requiring equal pay across all of the protected classes. In part, the NJEPA prohibits gender-based discrimination and retaliatory pay practices. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey analyzed whether the NJEPA applies retroactively, ultimately ruling that it does not. If you are the victim of gender-based discrimination or retaliatory pay practices it is vital to consult a skilled knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to discuss your options for seeking compensation.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked as a human resources manager at the defendant’s office from June 2013 until she was terminated on April 5, 2018. The NJEPA was signed into law on April 24, 2018 but was not effective until July 1, 2018. On July 27, 2018, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging gender discrimination and retaliation in violation of the NJEPA. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that while she was employed by the defendant, she was paid a rate of compensation that was substantially less than the rate that was paid to her male counterparts, solely due to the fact that she was a female. She also alleged that the defendant retaliated against her for engaging in activities protected by the NJEPA. The defendant removed the case to federal court, and filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, arguing that the NJEPA was not in effect at the time of the alleged discrimination. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Retroactivity of the NJEPA

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the NJEPA should be applied retroactively. Upon review, the court noted that the rules of statutory construction generally do not favor the retroactive application of new laws. To overcome the presumption against retroactivity, the party seeking retroactive application of a law must show that the legislature intended the law to be applied retroactively and that said application would not cause manifest injustice or unconstitutionally hinder a party’s rights. Further, a statute should be applied retroactively when a retroactive application is expressly or implicitly intended, when an amendment is curative, or when the parties’ expectations warrant a retroactive application.
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While it is well known that state and federal law prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee due to the employee’s inclusion in certain protected classes, it is not always clear whether an employer’s inappropriate acts or standards violate the laws against discrimination. Additionally, as shown in a recent New Jersey discrimination case, the same standards and rules may be discriminatory as to some, but not all, of the employees that allege discrimination.  If you believe your employer is engaging in discriminatory practices, you should speak with a knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination attorney regarding your case and whether you may be able to recover compensation.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiffs and several other women were hired to work in the defendant casino as costumed beverage servers. The defendant adopted personal appearance standards to which the plaintiffs were required to adhere. The standards included the requirement that the plaintiffs maintain a certain weight. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the standards violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and subjected them to gender stereotyping, sexual harassment, and disparate treatment, in part due to the requirement that the plaintiffs maintain a certain weight. The trial court dismissed the claims as to all but five of the plaintiffs. The defendant then filed a motion for summary judgment which the court granted. The plaintiffs subsequently appealed.

Discrimination Based on Weight

On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling. The court noted that while the Law Against Discrimination does not prohibit discrimination based on appearance, sex appeal, or weight, the plaintiffs set forth evidence that the defendant employer’s adverse employment actions due to the plaintiffs’ failure to comply with the personal appearance standards set forth a prima facie case of gender-based discrimination.
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Under both New Jersey and federal law, employees have a right to pursue claims against their employers for discriminatory behavior. Although an employee can contractually waive the right to sue an employer for discrimination in a court of law, the waiver must be clear and unambiguous. Recently, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey analyzed what constitutes a valid waiver of the right to sue, in a case in which the Plaintiff alleged her employer engaged in religious discrimination.  If you work in New Jersey and your employer discriminated against you in the workplace you should meet with a skilled New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to discuss your right to seek compensation.

Factual Background of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant employer required the plaintiff, who worked for the defendant as a flight attendant, to review a “training module” which was a series of slides on computer screens that described the defendant’s mandatory arbitration policy. One of the slides in the presentation asked the plaintiff to “acknowledge” the arbitration policy. The presentation further stated that if the plaintiff did not acknowledge the policy but continued to work for the employer for sixty days or more, she would be deemed to be bound by the arbitration policy. The module did not request the plaintiff’s signature indicating she consented to the agreement or ask her to memorialize that she expressly consented to the agreement.

It is reported that the plaintiff, who is a Buddhist, was subsequently asked by the defendant to obtain a vaccine for yellow fever. The plaintiff declined to obtain a vaccine due to her religious beliefs.  The defendant continued to pressure the plaintiff to obtain the vaccine and ultimately terminated the plaintiff due to her refusal. The plaintiff subsequently filed a discrimination lawsuit against the defendant. In response, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, asking the court to compel the plaintiff to submit to binding arbitration. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.
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New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their race, gender, age, and other enumerated classes. If an employer takes adverse employment action against an employee based on the employee’s membership in a protected class, the employee can seek damages, including any wages lost due to the adverse action. In some cases, the employee may be entitled to punitive damages as well. The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey recently analyzed when punitive damages should be awarded under the LAD, in a case in which the employer was found to have wrongfully violated the LAD. If you are a New Jersey employee who experienced adverse employment actions due to your employer’s discriminatory behavior it is essential to speak with a capable New Jersey employment discrimination attorney regarding what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts Regarding the Discrimination Against the Employee

Reportedly, the plaintiff worked as a part-time night shift dispatch operator for the employer’s taxi service. When she was working one evening, a driver who was an independent contractor sent her messages on social media, touched her shoulder, and whispered in her ear. The following day the plaintiff claimed that the driver called her at work to tell her that he missed her, after which the plaintiff spoke with her supervisor regarding the driver’s behavior. The following day, the plaintiff was terminated.

Allegedly, the extent of the employer company owner’s knowledge of the plaintiff’s complaints about the driver’s behavior is disputed. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the employer and the company owner, seeking damages due to her retaliatory discharge in violation of LAD, lost wages, and punitive damages. Following a trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff damages for the violation of LAD and lost wages from the employer but denied the claims against the company owner and the punitive damages claim. The plaintiff subsequently appealed.

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Under both state and federal law, New Jersey employers are required to pay their employees overtime wages for any hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. There are certain exceptions to overtime laws that allow employers to evade the duty to pay overtime wages. For example, an employer can use a “tip credit” to count tipped income towards a tipped employee’s minimum and overtime wages. The United States District Court of New Jersey recently explained what notice an employer must provide to an employee to validly claim a tip credit, in a case in which the employer classified certain employees as tipped employees. If you believe you were not fully paid wages for hours you worked in excess of forty hours per week it is essential to engage a trusted New Jersey overtime rights attorney to help you seek any damages you may be able to recover.

The Plaintiffs’ Employment

Reportedly, the plaintiffs worked for the defendant diner as a busser and a server and earned $3.50 per hour and $2.15 per hour respectively, plus tips. The defendant considered employees who earned wages and tips to be tipped employees. While the defendant did not pay tipped employees the minimum wage required under law, it attempted to use a tip credit to count the tips the tipped employees received as income toward the minimum wage. The defendant provided the tipped employees with a form stating it intended to claim a tip credit. In April 2016, the plaintiffs filed a collective action against the defendants alleging New Jersey and FLSA minimum wage and overtime violations, due to inadequate notice of the tip credit. The defendant filed an answer denying that it failed to provide notice to the tipped employees that it intended to claim a tip credit and pay them less than the minimum wage or overtime wages. The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the defendants did not comply with the requirements for claiming a tip credit.

Requirements for Claiming a Tip Credit

Under the FLSA, an employer can only claim a tip credit if it notifies the tipped employee that his or her wage is being reduced under the tip credit provision of the FLSA. Specifically, the FLSA requires that an employer notify the employee of the amount he or she will be paid and the amount of the tip credit the employer will claim, which cannot exceed the value of the tips the employee actually receives. Further, the employee must be able to retain all of his or her tips unless there is a tip pooling arrangement. If the employer does not notify the employee of these requirements, it cannot legally claim a tip credit. The notice requirement is strictly construed and an employer that did not provide the required notice cannot claim a tip credit. In the subject case, the court found that the language in the notice provided to the plaintiffs by the defendant did not notify the plaintiff that the defendant was not permitted to claim a tip credit in excess of the tips an employee received. Thus, the court granted the plaintiffs’ FLSA minimum and overtime wage claims. The court found there was insufficient information to grant the motion as to the plaintiffs’ New Jersey wage law claims, however.

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New York businesses are required by both state and federal laws to pay their employees for any hours they work, which includes overtime wages for any hours worked over forty hours per week. If an employer fails to pay an employee wages owed, an employee can file a lawsuit to seek compensation. Proving you are entitled to overtime wages is a multi-step process, however, as not all employees who work in New York are entitled to wage and hour protections. This was illustrated in a recent case filed in the Southern District of New York, in which the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims because the employer was exempt from the requirement to pay the plaintiffs’ overtime wages, due to plaintiffs’ positions. If you work in New York and you believe your employer owes you wages for hours worked, you should speak with a trusted New York overtime rights attorney as soon as possible regarding your right to seek any compensation you may be owed.

Factual Background

Reportedly, the plaintiffs worked as agents for the defendant employer. The defendant was a subcontractor for a company that was retained by a wireless service provider to solicit customers for a government-subsidized program that provides mobile telephone services to low-income individuals. The plaintiffs stated that they had daily meetings in the morning and then spent the majority of each day soliciting wireless plan applications before returning to the office.

Plaintiffs claimed that the defendant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor laws by allegedly misclassifying the plaintiffs as independent contractors and failing to pay them overtime wages. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing they were not the plaintiffs’ employer and that the plaintiffs were outside salespeople and therefore, not entitled to wage and hour protections. The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, after which the plaintiffs appealed.

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