A District of New Jersey court has rejected an attempt by staffing agency industry groups to enjoin the majority of the provisions of the New Jersey Temporary Workers’ Bill Of Rights Law from taking effect. The denial by the court means that the bulk of the law’s provisions are set to take effect as scheduled on August 5, 2023.
As we previously reported, the law places a number of requirements on temporary staffing agencies as well as the employers who utilize them, with regard to the hiring of temporary workers in specified industries, including production workers (including certain assembly line, tool operator, textile, and shipping roles), food preparation and service, building and grounds cleaning/maintenance, personal care and service, construction, and transportations occupations, among others. The law’s requirements cover such things as notice requirements, limitations on certain deductions from pay, and recordkeeping requirements.
Of particular note for employers, the law also provides that both staffing firms and employers contracting with such firms can be held jointly and severally liable for failing to pay temporary laborers, at a minimum, the same average rate of compensation and average cost of benefits (or a cash equivalent thereof) as an employer’s permanent employees who perform “the same or substantially similar work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions” at the time the temporary laborer is assigned to work for the employer.
Several industry groups filed suit in May of this year to challenge to the law on constitutional grounds and sought temporary injunctive relief to prevent the key provisions of the law from taking effect on August 5 while the challenge played out (the anti-retaliation provisions of the law had previously taken effect on May 7, 2023). Following oral argument and briefing on the issues, the district court denied the request for temporary injunctive relief. Specifically, the court found that while the industry group plaintiffs had set forth sufficient facts to demonstrate irreparable harm in the form of non-compensable monetary losses, they were unable to show a likelihood of success on the ultimate merits of any their constitutional claims.
As a result, barring further developments in the interim, the law is slated to take full effect next week on August 5. The State previously launched a website including general guidance on the law, found here. As of yet, no formal regulations on the law have been issued.