What Are Employee Rights in NJ?
All employees in New Jersey have rights. You have numerous protections under the law related to overtime, paid leave from work, and lost wages, among other protections. You also have the right to feel that you can speak up about unfair treatment in the workplace without fear of retaliation by your employer, whether current or former. Understanding your employee rights in NJ is critical to know what legal options you have when they are violated.
What Are My Rights as an Employee in NJ?
New Jersey protects workers from a wide range of risks. Take a look at some of the most important rights you have:
Prohibiting discrimination and retaliation
Employer discrimination and retaliation against employees in protected classes is a core concept in New Jersey. Employers may not discriminate against people who need pregnancy accommodations either. Also notable is NJ laws protection of an employee’s right to discuss wages.
When it comes to hiring, you have a number of rights. NJ employers are allowed to complete pre-employment background checks. However, for the most part (though there are some limitations), employers cannot ask most potential hires about criminal history questions on their job applications.
Drug testing is another area of protection for employees. The state does not require drug testing in the workplace, but it is permissible for employers to require this type of testing with reasonable suspicion as well as random testing situations in those who are in sensitive positions.
Wages and benefits
New Jersey law also has specific requirements for employers to follow in that employees are entitled to specific times of time off, including for:
- Family leave
- Emergency responder leave
- Military leave
- Paid sick leave
- Domestic violence leave
Healthcare continuation, pay statements, and wage deduction laws are also applicable. Temporary disability benefits laws, along with laws related to how frequently employees are paid, are also in place.
What Are the Types of NJ Employee Rights?
There are numerous types of employee rights in New Jersey. Consider the following as some of the most common that are abused by employers.
Fair Employment Practices
Under the state’s laws, you are protected against discrimination or harassment in areas such as:
- Affectional or sexual orientation
- Atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait
- Gender identity or expression
- Genetic information
- Liability for military service
- Marital, domestic partnership, or civil unions
- National origin
Your employer also must provide pregnancy accommodation with added bathroom breaks, periodic rest periods, modified job duties, and assistance with manual labor.
Equal pay and the discussion of wages also fall in this area. Employees also have whistleblower protections.
Hiring and Recruiting Laws
Employees in NJ have a number of rights in the following areas:
- Credit checks: The employer may obtain a credit report if the applicant is notified prior to doing and provides consent.
- Criminal checks: Employers may ask about conviction records if those convictions are related to the position.
- Salary history: Law restricts employers from screening for salary histories
Wage and Hour Laws
A number of wage and hour laws apply in NJ, including:
- Overtime: Must be paid for more than 40 hours of work per week for hourly employees
- Minimum wage: This is $14.13 per hour for large employers and $12.93 for smaller employers
- Breastfeeding breaks: Employers must provide reasonable break times and a location for the expressing of breast milk
This does not represent all employee laws in NJ. If you feel your rights were violated, seek out help immediately to discuss them.
What Are Examples of Being Treated Unfairly at Work?
There are many examples of an employee being treated unfairly at work that could be a violation of NJ employee rights:
- Employers who spread false rumors about workers for any reason
- Firing an employee directly related to their injury on the job
- Using race, gender, or other non-work specific factors to make decisions in hiring, firing, promotions, and pay raises
- Laying off a worker because they are older
- Terminating or disciplining an employee for discussing their wage with another employee
- Not paying at least minimum wage or not paying overtime hours for work beyond 40 hours in any workweek
- Not continuing healthcare coverage through COBRA or other means after leaving employment
- Not providing time off to a parent for qualified family leave
These are just a few of the many examples of employee harassment, discrimination, or other unfair treatment. It is illegal to engage in these actions.
What Can I Do if I Feel Like My Employer Is Violating My Rights?
If you feel that your rights have been violated, it is critically important to take steps now to seek out help. That could include speaking to an attorney about your legal rights to take action. It may be possible for you to seek legal action against your employer, especially if you’ve been terminated as a result of this action. Reach out to Hamilton Law Firm for assistance.