October 24, 2021

Volume XI, Number 297

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October 22, 2021

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October 21, 2021

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Being An Employer in New Jersey Just Got Harder: Introducing the New Jersey Wage Theft Act

When it comes to employment laws, New Jersey has long been considered one of the more employee friendly states in the country. Seeking to solidify its employee friendly status, on August 6, 2019, New Jersey formally enacted the New Jersey Wage Theft Act (“WTA”). The law triples(!!!) the statute of limitations for wage claims and drastically increases damages available to employees who have not been paid properly.

The important points every employer needs to know are:

1) The statute of limitations for wages claims is now 6 years. You must now retain wage and hour records (payroll records/timesheets) for six years! If an employer fails to maintain sufficient time keeping records, there is an automatic presumption that the employee worked for the period of time claimed by the employee and for the amount of wages alleged in the wage claim. In other words, if you don’t have the records to refute the employee’s claim, the assumption is the employee’s claim is true and they can potentially recover six years’ worth of wages.

2) Failure to properly pay wages results in an employer having to pay liquidated damages equal to 200% of the claim. For example, a failure to pay $100 in wages will cause the employer to owe $300 ($100 compensatory damages + $200 liquidated damages). In addition, the employer will be liable for legal fees and costs incurred by the employee in bringing the claim. On the bright side, there is a provision that allows an employer to possibly escape such liability, though it only applies to first time offenders and requires the full amount owed be paid within 30 days of notice of the wage violation.

3) If an employee is terminated within 90 days of filing a complaint regarding unpaid wages, there will be a presumption that the employer’s action was taken in retaliation against the employee for bringing the wage related claim.

© 2021 Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C. All Rights Reserved National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 267
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About this Author

Jay S. Becker, Giordano Law Firm, Labor & Employment, Cannabis Law, Corporate Labor Relations Employment Law and Litigation
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Jay, chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Area, devotes his practice to labor relations and employment law and litigation on behalf of management. His experience includes conducting trials, hearings, arbitration and mediation sessions; responding to state and federal administrative agency charges; collective bargaining; drafting employment-related corporate documents such as restrictive covenants, employee handbooks, employment agreements, various stock and compensation plans, and separation/severance agreements. He counsels employers on all employee relations issues including, but...

732-741-3900
Jeri L. Abrams, Giordano Halleran, Employment Documentation Lawyer, Workplace Litigation Attorney,Labor & Employment
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Jeri focuses primarily on employment law, with an emphasis on drafting and negotiating complex employment-related documentation, such as executive employment, consulting, restrictive covenant, commission, bonus, retention, change-in-control and severance agreements. Jeri counsels employers on a broad range of employment matters, including hiring, disciplining and terminating employees, family and medical leaves, disability leaves and accommodations, anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws, wage and hour compliance, and reductions in workforce. She works closely...

732-741-3900
Ari G. Burd, Shareholder, Giordano Law Firm, Labor & Employment, Cannabis Law, Health Care
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Ari devotes his time to assisting and defending employers with regard to traditional employment issues. He frequently counsels employers for compliance with New Jersey laws and has extensive transactional and litigation experience.

Ari has litigated employment matters throughout the state, having made appearances in almost every Superior Court in New Jersey, as well as before both Federal District Courts in New Jersey and the Federal and State Courts in New York.  These actions have involved a diverse range of claims such as wrongful discharge, discrimination, harassment,...

732-741-3900
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