The New Jersey Senate has scheduled a vote on S799, which would require all businesses in the state to offer their employees paid sick leave, for this coming Monday, May 9. Under this bill, employers will have to prove in a court of law that they had a legitimate business need to change the schedule of an employee who calls in “sick” every Monday after the Giants have a home football game. Even if a jury agrees that such a schedule change is warranted, the employer will have spent thousands of dollars proving its innocence, costs that will undoubtedly be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.
Gov. Chris Christie took up his veto pen on Monday and conditionally vetoed an equal pay bill that would have made New Jersey a significant outlier and opened employers in our state up to unprecedented liability. In his five-page veto message, Christie objected to several provisions of the bill that NJCJI had flagged as problematic.
A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of April 2-8.
The New Jersey Assembly voted 46-17-9 in favor of A883, the employment statistics bill, this Thursday. NJCJI is concerned that this bill will create a treasure trove of data on employers that could be used by the trial bar to gin up lawsuits.
The New Jersey Assembly has scheduled a vote on A883, the employment statistics bill, for this Thursday, April 7. NJCJI is concerned that this bill, which is being sponsored by Assemblywomen Muoio (D-Trenton), Lampitt (D- Voorhees), and Mosquera (D- Turnersville), has the likely unintentional consequence of creating a treasure trove of data on employers which could be put to use by the trial bar to generate litigation.
On April 4, NJCJI’s Alida Kass appeared before the Assembly Women and Children Committee to testify against the “New Jersey Schedules That Work Act.” A1117, which is being sponsored by Asemblywomen Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) and Pamela Lampitt (D-Voorhees), is another example of well-meaning legislation that would have a broad, negative impact on our state’s business community. If enacted, it would curtail flexible scheduling, and expose businesses to lawsuits over scheduling disputes.
One of the core tenets of the U.S. legal system is that criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Defendants are not required to lift a finger or open their mouths in their own defense. On the civil side of things, both the plaintiff and the defendant have the responsibility to show up in court and present evidence, but typically the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the wrongs they allege are more likely to have occurred than not.
The New Jersey Senate once again delayed a vote on the merits of S799, which would require all businesses in the state to offer their employees paid sick leave, choosing instead to amend the bill and hold it for further consideration.
On Monday, March 14, the Assembly voted 54-14-6 in favor of A2750/S992, which has been described as a state-level Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute opposes this legislation, which is now headed to Governor Christie’s desk, because it goes much further than the federal law and makes changes to the fundamental underpinnings of our legal system.
On Monday, two important bills working their way through the legislature, the paid sick leave bill and the equal pay bill, will be voted on. If enacted, these bills would presume employers are guilty when a lawsuit is brought against them unless they can prove their innocence. This is an unprecedented change to our legal system.