On January 10, 2023, Governor Murphy signed legislation implementing amendments to the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (“NJ WARN Act”) that were placed on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendments, which go into effect on April 10, 2023, impose new requirements on employers of 100 or more who implement mass layoffs or plant closures.


Governor Murphy initially signed an amended NJ WARN Act on January 21, 2020, which was scheduled to take effect on July 20, 2020. However, in April 2020, the Governor signed Executive Order 103 declaring COVID-19 a public health emergency and postponing the effective date of NJ WARN Act amendments until 90 days after the conclusion of the state of emergency. Although the COVID-19 state of emergency remains in effect, the Legislature “unlinked” the amended NJ WARN Act from the state of emergency, thus permitting the implementation of the amendments to take effect on April 10, 2023.

Recently, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the Superior Court’s decision in Jersey Precast v. Enterprises, Inc. et al.  Particularly, the December 7, 2022, decision affirmed the lower court’s finding that a “pay-if-paid” clause in a material supplier’s purchase order with a general contractor was binding and enforceable. The court in Jersey Precast, acknowledged that New Jersey has no statute or published caselaw that addresses the enforceability of “pay-if-paid” clauses.  As such, the court relied upon the authorities and approaches of other jurisdictions.  For example, various courts in other states require such a clause to include clear and unambiguous language in order to for a “pay-if-paid” to be enforceable.  See e.g.  Main Elec., Ltd. v. Printz Servs. Corp., 908 P.2d 52, 528 (Colo. 1999) (stating “…the relevant contract terms must unequivocally state  that the subcontractor will be paid only if the general contract is first paid by the owner and set forth the fact that the subcontractor bears the risk of the owner’s nonpayment”); DEC Elec., Inc. v. Raphael Constr. Corp., 558 So. 2d 427, 429 (Fla. 1990) (stating risk-shifting provisions of a pay-if-paid term must be clear and unambiguous or, if ambiguous, interpreted as setting a reasonable time for payment). Moreover, at the federal level pay-if-paid clauses are typically enforceable where there is express contractual language that clearly demonstrates the intention of the parties to shift the risk of payment from the contractor to the subcontractor.  See Fixture Specialists, Inc. v. Global Construction LLC, 2009 WL 90431, at *4-6 (D.N.J. March 30, 2009).

Using the above standards as guidance, the Appellate Division in Jersey Precast, critically pointed out that in New Jersey freedom of contract is a “‘is a factor of importance'” within “the framework of modern commercial life.” See Whalen v. Schoor, DePalma & Canger Grp., Inc., 305 N.J. Super. 501, 505-06 (App. Div. 1997). It is a “settled principle that parties bargaining at arm’s-length may generally contract as they wish.” Id. at 505. To that end the court held that, “parties may make contractual liability dependent upon the performance of a condition precedent.” See Duff v. Trenton Beverage Co., 4 N.J. 595, 604 (1950).  The Appellate Division further articulated that a prohibition against the use of pay-if-paid provisions as conditions precedent in construction contracts should come from the legislature rather than the courts, and as such, held that as long as the contract specifies a clear and unambiguous intent and agreement by the parties to shift the risk of nonpayment, a pay-if-paid provision is enforceable subject to the parties’ implied duty to not frustrate conditions precedent to their performance.

Key Takeaways

Published on:

Following a unanimous vote in the Senate, on November 16, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Speak Out Act (the “Act”) which now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature.  The Act is just the latest effort by legislators at the federal and state levels to shine the light on instances of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. This new legislation renders unenforceable certain non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions that prevent individuals from disclosing the details of sexual harassment or assault claims that may occur in the future.

In practice, this Act will have a limited impact because its prohibitions only apply to employment or other agreements signed prior to a claim of harassment arising. Thus, the Act will not bar the inclusion of non-disparagement/nondisclosure provisions in separation agreements or settlements of sexual harassment or assault claims. In addition, the Act does not prohibit non-disclosure agreements that bar disclosure of other forms of discrimination (e.g., age, race religion) or workplace misconduct. Finally, the Act explicitly states that nothing in the new law limits employers’ prevalent use of non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements designed to protect trade secrets or critical propriety information.

Impact On New Jersey Employers:

As previously advised New York City’s Pay Transparency Law (the “Transparency Law”) requiring most New York City employers to disclose salary ranges in their job postings, takes effect on November 1, 2022.  Guidance recently issued by the New York City Commission on Civil Rights (the “Commission”) gives further insight into the employer requirements of this new law.

Under the Transparency Law, employers with four or more employees or one or more domestic workers, must include a good faith minimum and maximum salary range in all job advertisements, promotions, and transfer opportunities for work to be performed in New York City.

Job advertisements for temporary employment at a temporary help firm, such as a staffing agency, are specifically exempted from these disclosure requirements.

Contact Information