A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Tag: employment

NJ Supreme Court Holds That Supervisor’s Two Uses of Offensive Slurs are Sufficient Support Hostile Work Environment Claim

By on June 24, 2021 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Kristen M. Doyle, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In a case decided on June 16, 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court held in Armando Rios Jr. v. Meda Pharmaceutical, Inc. that a supervisor’s use of two offensive slurs was severe and pervasive enough to support a hostile work environment claim for a jury to decide under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”). The facts on the summary judgment record established that defendant Meda Pharmaceutical, Inc. (“Meda”) hired Rios, a Hispanic male, in May 2015 as the company’s Director of Brand Marketing. Rios alleged that one month after […]

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NJ Supreme Court Holds Adverse Employment Action Not a Required Element of a Failure to Accommodate Claim

By on June 16, 2021 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Gitika Kapoor, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On June 8, 2021, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held in Richter v. Oakland Board of Education that an employee is not required to establish adverse employment action such as demotion or termination in a failure to accommodate disability claim brought against an employer under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”).  In addition, the Court considered whether the plaintiff’s claim was barred by the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act (“WCA”). The Court held that the NJLAD and WCA are not in tension with each other, and […]

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Boards of Education Prohibited from Discussing Tenure Charges During Public Session

By on January 22, 2021 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On January 21, 2021, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued a published decision in Simadiris v. Paterson Public School District in which it decided whether a board of education’s decision to certify tenure charges against an employee during private session violated that employee’s right to request such consideration in public. In short, the Appellate Division agreed with the school district and ruled that a board of education was prohibited from discussing the tenure charges during public session. Tenure charges were brought against an employee of the Paterson Board of Education (“Board”). The employee’s attorney received notice two days before a […]

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When “The Easy Way Out” Isn’t So Easy – Beware of Litigation from Non-Tenured Teachers Who Are Non-Renewed

By on January 18, 2021 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

As a practitioner who has spent most of his legal career as a school board attorney serving as general or labor counsel to boards of education, I address a trend that seems to be on the rise – litigation brought for employment discrimination in the wake of a non-tenured teacher being non-renewed at the conclusion of the teacher’s annual employment contract. In the world of school law, a “non-renewal” is distinct from a “termination,” “discharge,” or “firing” in both the legal and practical sense.  The latter tend to occur upon notice, and, in the public school context, almost always with […]

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Passage of Chapter 79 Makes Subcontracting More Cumbersome

By on October 15, 2020 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

Passage of Chapter 79 places new restrictions on a school district’s ability to subcontract work performed by its existing employees.  Chapter 79, which was approved on September 11, 2020 and became effective immediately, prohibits a school district from entering into a subcontracting agreement affecting the employment of any employees in a collective bargaining unit during the term of an existing collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). A district may enter into a subcontracting agreement for a period following the term of the current CBA if the district: provides written notice to the majority representative of employees in each collective bargaining unit which […]

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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

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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