On July 17, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed into law the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment ("SAFE") Act. The act, which goes into effect on October 1, requires employers with 25 or more employees to provide 20 days of unpaid leave to any employee who is a victim of a domestic violence incident or a sexually violent offense or to any employee whose child, parent, spouse or partner was the victim of such an incident.
To be eligible for SAFE leave, an employee must have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,000 hours during the preceding 12 months. The 20-day leave is available to the employee for up to one year following the incident. An employee requesting leave must provide advanced written notice for foreseeable leave. The employer may require documentation to substantiate the need for leave and must maintain the confidentiality of the documentation.
An employee may take SAFE leave on an intermittent basis of no less than one day. Leave may be taken to seek medical attention, obtain services from a victim services organization or counseling, participate in safety planning, relocate, seek legal assistance, or attend court proceedings. An employer may require its employee to use available paid leave or leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act and/or the New Jersey Family Leave Act concurrently with SAFE leave.
In addition to providing leave, the SAFE Act requires employers to post a notice of employees' rights and obligations under the SAFE Act. The posting is not yet available from the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. Further, employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against employees who exercise their rights to such leave. The SAFE Act provides a private right of action for aggrieved employees to recover damages and attorneys' fees as well as civil fines for violations.
Employers should update their leave policies, post the required notice when it becomes available and train their managers to understand the nature of this new protected leave in advance of its effective date.
On October 10, James Bowers will share his personal perspectives on the History of Slavery and Race in South Carolina at UConn School of Law.
Day Pitney Alert
Rachel Gonzalez, Mary Rogers and Patrick McCarthy wrote an article "NLRB Eases Organizing of Temporary Workers" for CBIA’s H&R Safety Newsletter on the impact of the recent decision of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Dan Schwartz and James Leva wrote an article, "Where New Conn. Ban-The-Box Law May Be Headed," for Law360. The article outlines what employers need to know about Connecticut's recently enacted "ban-the-box" law, titled "An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment."
Day Pitney Alert
Michael Furey was quoted in an article, "NJ Panel Grills Hospitals Over Discovery In Horizon Row," in Law360. Day Pitney is representing five New Jersey hospitals in a lawsuit against Horizon Healthcare, relating to its new, multi-tiered health plan called OMNIA. Furey advocated on behalf of the five hospitals on Wednesday before a New Jersey appeals court that Horizon should turn over a consultant's report and certain agreements relating to how Horizon categorized hospitals under its controversial OMNIA Alliance program and the impact of OMNIA on the hospitals. These Tier 2 hospitals are alleging various claims, including breach of contract and citing concerns that being ranked in the lower tier of the program will cost them business. Horizon contends the sought-after materials, including a financial analysis, strategic alliance agreements and rate agreements between the insurer and OMNIA network hospitals, contain trade secret and confidential information. "If we're going to prove our hospitals should be Tier 1 alliance members, we need the documents and the information," Furey said.
Hartford, Conn., May 26, 2016 - Day Pitney LLP is pleased to announce that Employment and Labor attorney Albert Zakarian has been chosen as a Lifetime Achievement winner of The Connecticut Law Tribune’s second annual Professional Excellence Awards 2016. The Professional Excellence Awards 2016 recognize 28 lawyers, who were chosen from over 60 nominees, as either Lawyer of the Year or Lifetime Achievement recipients, according to The Connecticut Law Tribune. The Lifetime Achievement Awards honor "attorneys who have excelled over a career."
John McLafferty was quoted in an article, "Final overtime regulations less drastic than feared," in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. In the article, McLafferty discusses how the Department of Labor’s final revised federal overtime regulation will impact businesses. "The reality is that the rule made more people eligible for overtime; it didn’t create any obligation for employers to pay more overtime," he said. McLafferty added that the regulation’s impact on employees could have a wider effect on office culture and policies, which may affect a company’s ability to attract and retain workers. In addition, he noted that employers should take this opportunity to ensure that all of their employees are properly classified for overtime purposes.
Albert Zakarian has been chosen as a winner of The Connecticut Law Tribune's second annual Professional Excellence Awards. The awards recognize two dozen lawyers for outstanding service to the profession during their long careers. The publication received more than 70 nominations. Profiles of awardees will appear in the Law Tribune in May. An event will also be held in May to recognize the winners. More about the awards can be found here.
Howard Fetner was quoted in an article, "Judge Allows Company to Withhold Benefits From Departing Employee," in The Connecticut Law Tribune. Fetner represented Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC), a statewide company that provides health care services to low-income patients, in a case in which a former CHC employee sought to recover compensation for unused paid time off. Following a trial, the court ruled in favor of CHC, reinforcing an employer's right to condition the payment of compensation for accrued fringe benefits upon an employee's giving a specified amount of advance notice of termination.