A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Labor & Employment

COVID-19 and The High Risk Employee

Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Below is an article written by my colleague, Ralph R. Smith, Esq., Co-Chair of our firm’s Labor & Employment Group. If you wish to view additional articles and/or be kept up-to-date with labor & employment issues, visit our HR Resource blog by clicking here. With businesses reopening thanks to modifications of state stay at home orders, employers are beginning to contemplate what their new work environments will look like when employees return. Over the past several months, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (‘EEOC”) has provided guidance to employers regarding the ways that a company can safeguard its […]

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N.J. Supreme Court Decides Issue on Compensation for Unused Sick Time

On April 20, 2020, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an important decision regarding a teacher’s right to compensation for unused sick leave at the time of retirement or separation from a board of education. In Barila v. Board of Education of Cliffside Park, the State’s Supreme Court held that the unambiguous terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the teachers’ union and the board of education dictated the right to sick leave compensation upon retirement and such agreement did not violate a vested right. The Cliffside Park Education Association (“Association”) is the exclusive collective bargaining representative for all teachers […]

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Interactive Process Breakdown: Employee’s Refusal to Participate Bars Discrimination Claims

By on April 14, 2020 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On March 31, 2020, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals decided the matter of Petti v. Ocean County Board of Health, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10082 (3d Cir. 2020). Plaintiff B. Janet Petti was an accountant for the Ocean County Board of Health (“OCHD”) and worked in one of the two buildings at OCHD’s office campus. Construction began at the building next to where Petti worked. Petti reached out to OCHD’s Director of Administration and Program Development regarding construction debris and asbestos out of concern it could aggravate her unspecified medical condition. OCHD responded that […]

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N.J. Supreme Court Reverses; Refuses to Allow “Tyranny of Labels” to Compromise Analysis in Tenure Case

By on February 5, 2020 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided a teacher tenure case which it warned served as a cautionary tale that “demonstrates the ability of labels to cloud an analysis.”  Melnyk v. Bd. of Educ. of Delsea Reg’l High Sch. Dist., 241 N.J. 31 (2020).  The Delsea Regional School District (“District”) had employed the petitioner, Paula Melnyk, as a tenured special education teacher since 1991.  In 2002, the district began also employing Melnyk to work evenings as a teacher in its after-hours alternative program, in addition to her position as a special education teacher during the regular school day.  Melnyk […]

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N.J. District Court Issues Post-Janus Decision on WDEA

By on January 7, 2020 in Labor & Employment with 1 Comment

On May 18, 2018, the New Jersey Governor signed into law the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act (“WDEA”), which allows union employees to withdraw from the union and cease paying dues upon notice to the employer during the 10 days following each anniversary date of their employment. On June 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus, holding that public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from non-consenting employees. On December 27, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey issued a decision in Thulen v. AFSCME regarding union members’ argument that the […]

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Elimination of Salary Caps for Superintendents of Schools Signed Into Law Effective Immediately

By on July 31, 2019 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq.Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On July 19, 2019, Governor Murphy signed new legislation, L. 2019, c. 169 (S-692 / A-3775), which eliminated the cap on maximum base salaries for superintendents of schools which had been in effect since February 2011.  At time of the new law’s passage, subject to several potential modifications allowable under law, the salary cap levels had been set by administrative regulations of the Commissioner of Education at $147,794 for schools districts with enrollments of 749 students or less, $169,689 for districts with enrollments of 750 to 2,999, or $191,584 for districts […]

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Appellate Division Rules Chapter 78 Does Not Preempt Terms of CNA

The Ridgefield Park Education Association (“Association”) filed an appeal with the New Jersey Appellate Division challenging a ruling by the Public Employment Relations Commission (“PERC”) in favor of the Ridgefield Park Board of Education (“Board”), which held that Chapter 78 preempted the terms of the parties’ collective negotiations agreement (“CNA”) for the period July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2018. On May 3, 2019, the Appellate Division reversed PERC’s determination in In the Matter of Ridgefield Park Board of Education and Ridgefield Park Education Association and remanded the matter to PERC to implement a remedial mechanism to refund the excess […]

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Contract Rescission Does Not Avoid Need for Public Notice and Hearing

By on March 15, 2019 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Statutes are to be read sensibly rather than literally. This was the message sent by the New Jersey Appellate Division on March 14, 2019 in Wall Township Education Association v. Board of Education of the Wall Township School District when it reversed the Commissioner of Education’s decision and held that a superintendent and school district may not avoid the requirements for public comment and public hearing under N.J.S.A. 18A:11-11 simply by rescinding an existing superintendent employment contract. The Superintendent had a contract which was to expire on June 30, 2019. After […]

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Appellate Division Upholds Arbitrator’s Decision to Limit Increment Withholding

By on February 11, 2019 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On January 28, 2019, the Appellate Division affirmed an arbitrator’s decision to limit the withholding of a teacher’s increment to one year. In Trenton Board of Education v. Trenton Education Association, the Trenton Board of Education (“Board”) approved the withholding of a teacher’s increment for an indefinite period of time. The Trenton Education Association (“Association”) challenged that decision. During the 2015-2016 school year, the Board employed Carmel Gabriel as a middle school teacher. The principal, who was Gabriel’s direct supervisor, and vice principal cited him for various deficiencies, such as problems with his teaching practices, failure to attend mandatory meetings, and […]

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Appellate Division Rules Teacher Not Entitled to Tenure in Extracurricular Assignment

By on January 2, 2019 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

*Please note that on January 20, 2020, the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Division in this matter. You can find our blog article on the Supreme Court’s decision here.* On December 17, 2018, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Melnyk v. Board of Education of the Delsea Regional High School District upheld the Commissioner of Education’s decision that a teacher who already has attained tenure based upon his or her years of service in a particular position cannot also acquire separate tenure in an extracurricular assignment if the teacher is not required to possess a different certificate other […]

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