November 21, 2017

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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.

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About this Author

Jay S. Becker, Giordano Law Firm, Labor Employment Attorney

Mr. Becker, 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...

Jeri L. Abrams, Giordano Halleran, Drafting Employment Documentation Lawyer, Workplace Litigation Attorney

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 with management, in-house counsel, and human resources personnel in the development and implementation of employment policies and handbooks that comply with applicable law and are consistent with the employer's unique practices and organizational culture. Jeri also advises clients on the employment aspects of M&A deals and other corporate transactions.

Ari G. Burd, Giordano Law Firm, Labor Employment Attorney

Mr. Burd practices in both the Labor and Employment Law Practice Area and the Health Care Practice Area. In the Labor and Employment Practice Area, Mr. Burd devotes his time to litigation and counseling employers with regard to traditional employment and labor related issues. Mr. Burd has extensive experience in both the state and federal courts in areas including retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour, sexual harassment and race, age, gender and disability discrimination. Mr. Burd also has considerable experience in assisting negotiating and drafting employment related...