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Employee Discipline: New Jersey

Employee Discipline requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Christine Zebrowski, Overbrook Law LLC

Summary

  • New Jersey is known as a pro-employee state with respect to the protection of employee rights in the work environment. This protection extends to employee discipline. Employers should be familiar with the many ways New Jersey differs from other state and federal laws on these requirements. See The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
  • Employees may file an administrative complaint with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights or may proceed directly to Superior Court. See Statute of Limitations Under the LAD.
  • New Jersey employers may not discriminate or discipline employees on the basis of their displaying the American flag. See Other Discrimination Protections.
  • New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) prohibits retaliation against an employee who blows the whistle or who threatens to do so, with regard to improper, deceptive, harmful or illegal conduct by his or her employer, or conduct that relates to improper patient care by a health care provider. See New Jersey's Whistleblower Act: the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA).
  • New Jersey employees may have retaliation protections in addition to those under CEPA. See Additional Whistleblower and Retaliation Protections.
  • An employee's right to privacy in New Jersey is not clearly defined and depends on the circumstances of each case and the balance of factors at issue. See Employee Privacy.
  • New Jersey has a state wiretap act that follows the federal Wiretap Act. See Wiretapping and Recording of Phone Calls and Other Electronic Communications.
  • New Jersey is a single-party consent state with respect to recording communications. See Wiretapping and Recording of Phone Calls and Other Electronic Communications.
  • Noncompete agreements are enforceable in New Jersey if the terms of the agreement are reasonable. See Covenants Not to Compete.
  • New Jersey employees owe their employers a duty of loyalty not to act contrary to the employer's interests. See Duty of Loyalty.
  • New Jersey has implemented the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act (NJTSA). See New Jersey Trade Secrets Act (NJTSA).
  • In general, a New Jersey employer can discipline or fire employees for lawful off-duty activities under the at-will nature of employment in the state. However, employers may not make decisions affecting employment based on the fact that an employee does or does not smoke or use other tobacco products. See Off-Duty Conduct.
  • New Jersey law restricts the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes in certain workplaces. See E-Cigarette and Tobacco Use.
  • New Jersey employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the state domestic violence leave law. See Domestic Violence Leave.
  • In the case of a disciplinary meeting, an employer can be held liable for false imprisonment if the employer or his agent knowingly restrains an employee so as to interfere substantially with the employee's ability to leave the room. See False Imprisonment.