Articles Posted by Insights

The goal of this article is to highlight some of the changes to the rules governing retirement account distributions under the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 (aka SECURE 2.0). The positive changes include the following:

  • The age at which one must withdraw required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) has increased to age 73 effective January 1, 2023; it increases again to age 75 effective January 1, 2033;
  • The penalty (excise tax) for failure to make a timely withdrawal is reduced to 25% from 50% and, in some cases, to 10%;

On May 30, 2023 Jennifer Abruzzo, General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board , sent a memorandum to all Regional Directors expressing her view that except in limited circumstances, non-compete provisions in employment and severance agreements constitute unfair labor practices under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) because they “tend to chill employees in the exercise of Section 7 rights” which protect employees’ rights to take collective action to improve working conditions.  While many mistakenly believe the NLRA’s reach only extends to unionized workplaces, both unionized and nonunionized employers are liable for unfair labor practices that violate employee Section 7 rights.

More specifically, the memorandum claims that non-competes interfere with employees’ ability to:

  • Concertedly threaten to resign to secure better working conditions;

BACKGROUND

Title VII prohibits employers from using neutral selection procedures that disproportionately exclude individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin unless the employer can show the procedures are “job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.”   In 1978, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) adopted Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures providing guidance for employers to determine whether selection procedures commonly used in making employment decisions ran afoul of Title VII’s protections.

In response to the increased use of algorithmic decision-making tools (commonly referred to as artificial intelligence or “AI”) to assist in making a wide array of employment decisions, in May 2023, the EEOC issued new guidance entitled “Assessing Adverse Impact in Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence Used in Employment Selection Procedures Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”  While the EEOC’s guidance does not have the force of law and is not binding upon employers, it serves as a warning that the EEOC will be monitoring AI use to ensure that these decision-making tools do not adversely impact protected groups in violation of Title VII.

In today’s market, many spas are looking to expand their service lines to include cosmetic medical services, such as laser therapies, IV hydration, and Botox treatments.  With the prevalence of cosmetic medical services on the rise, people are now electing to receive these treatments in a spa setting – as opposed to a traditional medical office. Regulations abound, yet, they often fail to provide spas with direct guidance on these emerging services and the technological advancements in treatments. When forming a spa that provides cosmetic medical services (a “medi-spa”), there are a number of issues a business owner should consider.

First, it is critical to understand whether a medi-spa needs a state license or registration to operate. If a license or registration is required, it often must be obtained in order to form the entity itself.  The time it takes to obtain any necessary license or registration can also impact the medi-spa’s application to state tax authorities during the formation process.

Second, it is critical to understand what licensing boards regulate the medi-spa and its professionals. For example, estheticians are typically regulated by a state cosmetology board. Healthcare professionals can be regulated by a variety of boards, including but not limited to boards of medical examiners, nurses, chiropractors, pharmacists, and dieticians.  Each board has its own applicable rules and regulations, which often require certain credentialing and limit the scope of services the licensed individual can provide.

Co-parenting can be a challenging but rewarding journey for both parents and children. Whether you’re co-parenting after a divorce, separation, or just sharing the responsibility of raising a child, it’s essential to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship to ensure the well-being of your child.

Five Tips for Successful Co-Parenting: 

Communication is Key

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A recent decision from the New Jersey District Court illustrates the extraordinary job protections for recreational marijuana users under the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (“CREAMMA”).

THE LEGAL BACKDROP

The job protection provisions of CREAMMA prohibit employers from disciplining employees “solely due to the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in the employee’s body fluid.”  Although CREAMMA expressly permits workplace reasonable suspicion, post-accident and random testing for marijuana, it also mandates a physical evaluation be conducted “by an individual with the necessary certification” to determine the employee’s current state of impairment before discipline can be imposed.  The physical evaluation requirement was included because current tests can only determine recent marijuana use, not current impairment.  However, the physical evaluation requirement was temporarily waived by regulation until such time that the NJ Regulatory Cannabis Commission (the “Cannabis Commission”) develops standards for a Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert (“WIRE”) certification. Thus, for the time being a physical evaluation is not a prerequisite for taking action against an employee who tests positive for cannabis.

On March 16, 2022, the New Jersey Appellate Division concluded in Davis v. Disability Rights of New Jersey that a plaintiff-employee’s privacy interests in her social medial posts and personal cell phone bills did not restrict her employer’s right to the production of these records when defending against claims that the plaintiff’s termination violated New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (the “NJLAD”) and caused her to suffer emotional distress.  This decision is the first in New Jersey to detail the scope of discovery regarding a litigant’s private social media posts.

The Background

In Davis, the plaintiff filed a NJLAD complaint against her former employer alleging wrongful termination and emotional distress. In its discovery requests, the employer demanded that the plaintiff produce copies of all her social media content “concerning any emotion, sentiment or feeling of [p]laintiff, as well as events that could reasonably be expected to evoke an emotion, sentiment, or feeling.” The employer also sought the production of the plaintiff’s personal cell phone bills on the grounds that she had used her personal cell phone to perform work duties remotely.

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On February 22, 2023, the United States Supreme Court in Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. v. Hewitt  held that a highly compensated executive employee paid a guaranteed daily rate is not paid on a ‘salary basis’ and therefore, is a nonexempt employee entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The decision should alert employers to review their classification of employees as exempt versus nonexempt to ensure compliance with applicable federal and state requirements.

The Fair Labor Standards Act

While the FLSA requires that most employees be paid overtime for work time in excess of 40 hours, it exempts several categories of positions from that requirement. The most common exemptions from overtime are referred to as the “white-collar exemptions,” which include executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, IT professionals, and highly compensated executive positions.

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On February 6, 2023, Governor Murphy signed new legislation into law significantly expanding the rights of temporary workers. The law, known as the “Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights” (A1474/S511), is aimed at advancing pay equity, increasing government oversight of temporary staffing agencies, and prohibiting retaliatory conduct against temporary workers. A1475/S511 applies to workers in designated classifications, including protective services, food preparation, construction labor and trade, personal care services, and building, grounds cleaning, and maintenance occupations. The range of protections afforded by the new law, as outlined below, are expansive and will have significant implications on staffing agencies as well as third-party clients who utilize these agencies to place temporary workers.

New Protections

Equal Pay and Benefits

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After someone passes away, their estate must be administered. This is true whether the person was worth $10,000 or $10 million. The process of administering the estate is often the same regardless of its value. This article discusses the basic process of estate administration and the duties of the executor, who is the person or persons responsible for the process.

Appointment to act on behalf of the estate

The first step for an executor (or administrator, if there is no Will) is to be appointed by the local Surrogate’s Court as executor. In New Jersey, this is a simple process where the Will and death certificate are presented to the court, along with the names and addresses of the next-of-kin and beneficiaries named in the Will. Assuming everything is in order, the Surrogate will admit the Will to probate and issue a Certificate of Letters Testamentary to the executor, which serves as his or her official appointment to act on behalf of the estate. The executor is then responsible for notifying all heirs and beneficiaries that probate has been completed.

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