New Jersey has recently passed legislation ratcheting up its Wage and Hour laws. The major changes are summarized in this post.
First, the statute of limitations for wage claims was increased from two years to six years.
Second, the Act provides for increased liability for unpaid wages and wages lost due to retaliation. In addition to the unpaid/lost wages, the employee can obtain liquidated damages equal to 200 percent of the unpaid wages, plus reasonable costs of the action and attorney’s fees. However, there is a defense to liquidated damages for first time violators if the employer: (1) demonstrates that the violation was an inadvertent error made in good faith; (2) demonstrates that the employer had reasonable grounds for believing that the act or omission was not a violation; (3) acknowledges the violation; and (4) pays the amount owed within 30 days.
Third, the Act provides for the presumption of retaliation when an employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of the employee filing a wage-related complaint or claim. This presumption can only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence that the action was taken for other permissible reasons.
Fourth, the Act broadens the definition of employer to include successor entities.
Fifth, the Act also amends the penalties for knowing wage violations/retaliation. An employer may be fined $500 to $1,000 for its first violation and may be subject to imprisonment for 10-90 days. For the second violation, the employer may be fined $1,000 to $2,000 and may be subject to imprisonment for 10 to 100 days. For the third violation, the employer may be fined $2,000 to $10,000 and may be subject to imprisonment of up to 18 months.
Takeaway: Employers should review their payroll practices to ensure they are complying with Wage and Hour laws.
The postings on this blog were created for general informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or a solicitation to provide legal services. Although we attempt to ensure that the postings are complete, accurate, and current as of the date of publication, we assume no responsibility for their completeness, accuracy, or timeliness. The information in this blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel.
This blog may contain links to independent third party websites and services, including social media. We provide these links for your convenience, and you access them at your own risk. We have no control over and do not monitor the content or policies (including privacy policies) of these third-party websites and have no responsibility for, and no liability with respect to, their content, accuracy, or reliability. Unless expressly stated, we do not endorse any of the linked websites or any product, service, or publication referenced herein or therein. We will remove a link to any site from this blog upon request of the linked entity.
We grant permission to readers to link to this blog so long as this blog is not misrepresented. This site is not sponsored or associated with any other site unless so identified.
If you wish for Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A., to consider representing you, please obtain contact information from the Contact Us area of this blog or go to the firm’s website at www.wilentz.com. One of our lawyers will be happy to discuss the possibility of representation with you. However, the authors of Wilentz blogs are licensed only in New Jersey and/or New York and do not wish to represent anyone who viewed this site in a state where the site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state.