Much to the Satisfaction of Employers Across the State, Governor Christie Vetoes 2 Employment Law Bills
Recently, Governor Christie vetoed 2 pieces of workplace related legislation.
One bill that was vetoed sought to ban employers from inquiring about job applicants’ salary histories. The objective behind the bill was to help close the gender pay gap, but Governor Christie disagreed, stating that the bill “would punish, as discriminatory, otherwise innocuous conduct done with neither discriminatory intent nor a discriminatory impact.” This means that New Jersey employers remain free to ask prospective employees about their prior wages, salaries and benefits. However, keep in mind that there are still many restrictions on what a prospective employer can ask job applicants. For example, New Jersey’s “ban the box” law prohibits employers from asking an applicant about a criminal record until after the applicant’s first interview.
The Governor also conditionally vetoed a bill that would have significantly expanded New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance program. In his veto message, Governor Christie argued that the bill would “make it increasingly difficult and expensive to run a business, especially a small business” and would also be a “costly expansion … that will result in increased taxes to be paid by working citizens in New Jersey.” The proposed legislation would have, among other things, increased the number of weeks an employee could receive benefits from 6 to 12, boosted the maximum benefit amount, added siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law to the list of covered caregivers and provided job protection to employees of employers with 20 or more workers. While New Jersey’s current Family Leave Insurance program does not mandate job protection, remember that an employee’s job may still be protected if the employer is subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act or the New Jersey Family Leave Act.