New Jersey Court Discusses Jurisdiction Over Defendant Companies in Employment Cases

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.

Specific Versus General Personal Jurisdiction

The plaintiff argued that the defendant corporation had systemic and continuous contacts with New Jersey, thereby making general jurisdiction proper and that because the defendant corporation had engaged in a suit related actions in New Jersey, it was also subject to specific jurisdiction. The court noted that general jurisdiction is properly exercised over a company in the jurisdiction in which it is incorporated or where its principal place of business is located.

General jurisdiction may also be exercised over a corporation in a state in which its contacts are constant and pervasive. In the subject case, the court was not persuaded by the plaintiff’s argument that because some of the employees of the defendant corporation’s subsidiaries were in New Jersey, general jurisdiction was proper. Further, the court found that there was no evidence that the defendant employer was merely an alter ego of the defendant corporation. Thus, the court found no basis to warrant the exercise of general jurisdiction over the defendant corporation.

Regarding specific jurisdiction, the court found that the defendant employer and the defendant corporation were not so intertwined as to render the defendant corporation the plaintiff’s employer. Therefore, the court rejected the argument that the defendant employer’s actions were truly the actions of the defendant corporation for purposes of specific jurisdiction. As such, the court granted the defendant corporation’s motion to dismiss.

Retain a Seasoned New Jersey Employment Discrimination Attorney

If you live or work in New Jersey and you were discriminated against by your employer, it is essential to retain a seasoned New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to determine the most appropriate plan to help you in your pursuit of damages. The New Jersey employment discrimination attorneys of The Jaffe Glenn Law Group will work diligently and efficiently to help you gather facts and evidence to support your claim. We can be reached at 201-687-9977 or through our online form to set up a free and confidential meeting.

 

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