NJ Bill Could Make Resolving Employment Disputes Tougher

Law360

Maxine Neuhauser, a Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Newark office, authored an article in Law360, titled “NJ Bill Could Make Resolving Employment Disputes Tougher.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

As sexual abuse and harassment scandals have captured media attention and brought down powerful executives, increasing numbers of women have used social media and the hashtag #MeToo to share their own sexual harassment stories. The #MeToo movement aims to show the magnitude of sexual assault and harassment. To date, hundreds of thousands of women have tweeted “me too” leading Time magazine to name the “Silence Breakers” as 2017’s Person of the Year.

In the wake of these scandals, coverage and disclosures on Dec. 4, 2017, New Jersey state Sen. Loretta Weinberg introduced legislation (S-3541[1]), which by declaring them contrary to public policy and unenforceable, would effectively prohibit prospective arbitration agreements and jury trial waivers with respect to employment discrimination, retaliation and harassment claims. The legislation would similarly bar confidentiality provisions in agreements settling such claims. On Dec. 7, 2017, state Assemblyman John McKeon introduced an identical bill (A-5287[2]) to the New Jersey State Assembly. Currently both bills are in committee review.

The proposed legislation is less than two pages long, but has the potential, if enacted, to substantially limit employers’ options for defending and resolving employment disputes. Broad and undefined terms used in the bills raise a host of issues that will, if enacted, make resolving disputes more difficult.