Situated in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. regions, New Jersey is the most densely populated state, the center of the Northeast megalopolis that also includes New York City, Boston, Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Starting from the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st, the economy has started expanding rapidly, becoming increasingly diversified, including tech, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. The robust agricultural sector, which earned New Jersey the moniker Garden State, has also developed, becoming highly specialized.
With a population of well over nine million people making up a diverse demographic, employees working in New Jersey naturally want to know what their rights are in the workplace. If you’re considering moving to the area, here’s what you should know.
The New Jersey law prohibits any form of workplace discrimination. The federal government refers to this as EEO, Equal Employment Opportunity, which ensures that workers won’t be discriminated against based on race (including all the traits historically associated with ethnicity, such as hair texture or styling choices), religion, sex or gender, sexual orientation, nationality, age or marital status.
If you believe your rights have been infringed upon, you can contact a New Jersey employment lawyer that can ensure a successful outcome of your case. Some of the most common complaints include harassment in the workplace, bullying or discrimination, as well as wrongful discharge. New Jersey is an “at-will” state, meaning the employer can fire any team member for no clear reason, barring discriminatory acts.
The law can be confusing in this regard, so it’s essential to discuss with an expert to ensure you’re in full possession of the facts. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, also known as NJLAD, also prohibits retaliation against employees that file a discrimination complaint, so you shouldn’t worry about additional problems if you come forward.
The wage gap refers to the difference between men’s and women’s earnings, with the latter being disadvantaged. According to statistics, a woman working full-time and year-round will receive 83.7%, with the numbers being even lower for Hispanic or Black women. One of the main reasons is that women’s work tends to be undervalued. There’s also the fact that women are more likely to have low-paying jobs that come with fewer benefits.
According to New Jersey law, wage differences are only permissible in the case of differences in education, training or experience, as well as the quality and quantity of production. Each of these factors must also be applied within a reasonable framework and avoid perpetuating harmful characteristics or patterns.
New Jersey’s minimum wage is $12.93 for small or seasonal enterprises and $14.13 for larger employers. The minimum wage is set to gradually increase to $15 per hour by 2024, as per legislation signed by Governor Philip Murphy in February 2019 and which came into effect on January 1st, 2023. Employees must also be paid overtime for extra work. Child labor laws restrict the occupations and number of hours per week that are suitable for minors. Those not yet sixteen cannot assist in any potentially hazardous operation.
The wage payment must be fulfilled in full through checks or cash. Typically, employees must receive their wages semimonthly. Deductions may apply based on federal or state law and only with the employee’s written authorization.
When you work in New Jersey, you must be fully aware of your rights to ensure positive development in the workplace.