Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Changes Coming for State's Employers

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Changes Coming for State's Employers

Article excerpt

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS -- New Jersey employers face a "dizzying" array of workplace issues regarding paid sick leave, social networking, medical marijuana and bullying, two experts told a local business group Wednesday.

Company officials were given an update on looming developments in employment and benefits law at a workshop held by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, a Paramus-based business advocacy group.

Mitchell Boyarsky, an employment lawyer, warned companies about roughly a half-dozen issues that they will have to navigate -- some of them stemming from inconsistencies among municipal, New Jersey and federal statutes -- in the coming year. There is a "dizzying" amount of change coming, he said.

Tony Russo, executive vice president of government affairs and communications for the commerce group, kicked off the roundtable with a wrap-up of current and pending law regarding paid sick leave.

"It's incredible what's going on here," Russo said at the breakfast session at the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights. "It's a big issue and it could come back at the state level, too."

Jersey City has passed, and Newark has pending, ordinances requiring private-sector employers to provide workers with paid sick leave, and a similar bill is pending in the state Legislature, Russo said. The variations in the local law could pose problems for companies with multiple sites, he said. For example, it's unclear whether a bank that has a branch in Jersey City would be subject to the city ordinance.

"How are you going to manage that?" Russo asked.

On the social-media front, New Jersey passed a law in August that bars employers from requesting or requiring a current or potential employee to disclose user names or passwords for accounts such as Facebook and Twitter. But Boyarsky said that this new law applies only to personal accounts, and doesn't prohibit an employer from using information it obtains regarding an employee from social networking in the public domain. …

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