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Bergen County, New Jersey, Law Blog

Breaking free of the criminal record ball and chain

The ball and chain image enjoys a long history in U.S. iconography. It can mean many things. In the context of criminal law, it tends to serve as a visual cue that the person wearing it stands convicted of some charge. For the person it's attached to, it is a burden that can't be shed.

Balls and chains are not as common as they once were, but records of arrest or conviction can have the same effect, barring some from full participation in society. Applications for housing, education or work often ask if a person has a record, and answering truthfully often means rejection.

Need-to-know information about NJ sick leave law

Getting a job can be difficult. Sometimes, keeping one can be hard, too. As we noted in a post back in August, New Jersey stands out in the United States when it comes to mandating benefits for workers. Counted under this heading is the Family Leave Insurance program.  Family Leave Insurance provides monetary benefits for up to six weeks so employees can bond with a newborn or newly adopted child, or provide care for a seriously ill or injured family member.

Combined with the federal Family and Medical Leave act, the Family Leave Insurance provides some measure of financial security for many workers in the state. Taking advantage of them, of course, requires knowledge about what rights those laws convey. Many people don't have that information, which is why consulting an employment law attorney is important.

Understanding The New Jersey Equal Pay Act

On April 24, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the "Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act," which became effective on July 1, 2018. N.J.S.A. 34:11-56:13. The Act amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("LAD"), and prohibits pay disparities based upon characteristics protected by the LAD, such as race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, or sex.

Specifically, the Act made it an unlawful employment practice for "an employer to pay any of its employees who is a member of a protected class at a rate of compensation, including benefits, which is less than the rate paid by the employer to employees who are not members of the protected class for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility." N.J.S.A. 10:5-12(t). However, an employer may pay an employee who would otherwise be protected at a different rate of compensation if the employer demonstrates that the difference is based on: (1) a seniority system, (2) a merit system, or (3) a showing of five specific factors. Ibid. 

Is there a deadline for personal injury claims in New Jersey?

Anyone in New Jersey injured due to someone else's negligence has a right to seek compensation for losses incurred. The list of potential damages could include medical costs, lost wages, diminishment of normal previous function, emotional distress or other pain and suffering.

The scope of possible of injuries one can endure is wide and so is the time that it can take to determine whether full recovery will be possible. A simple broken bone could take weeks or months to mend. Traumatic brain injuries could take longer and full recovery might never happen. The law, however, sets deadlines for injured parties to bring legal action against negligent parties. Missing a deadline can derail any right to seek damages.

Will fatal self-driving accident have repercussions?

Headlines across the country have been discussing what many believe is the first fatal car accident involving an autonomous vehicle. The crash involved an Uber self-driving vehicle, and the company immediately pulled their self-driving vehicles off of the road so they could investigate the circumstances of the crash. The police are looking into the wreck as well.

The accident occurred at an intersection where a 49-year-old woman was trying to cross the street with her bike. As she was doing this, the self-driving car -- which had a 44-year-old test driver in the driver's seat -- plowed into her. The wreck was fatal, with the 49-year-old perishing from her injuries. The vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash, meaning the test driver had no control of the car.

Has road safety plummeted in the last two years?

Fatal car accident statistics used to portray our highways as a dangerous and treacherous battle ground. In the 1960s and 1970s, fatal car accidents were occurring at a rate of 40,000 to 50,000 every single year. It wasn't until the 1990s that fatal accident statistics dropped into the low 40,000s every year, and by 2008 it dropped below 40,000. And the rates remained consistently below that threshold--until the last several years, that is.

The mid-90s to mid-twenty-tens was heralded as a sort of "golden age" for road safety, one that wouldn't stop given the amazing technological advancements in motor vehicle safety. However, that belief may have been incorrect.

Will law to end 'surprise' medical bills be enough?

You can argue all you like about whether medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy filings in the U.S. or not. Experts regularly do. Regardless of what side of the fence you come down on, however, no one would argue that the cost of care is inexpensive.

One trip to the emergency room, even for those with stable jobs and good insurance, can lead individuals to the brink of bankruptcy, wondering what will happen if they take the plunge. The best way to learn the answer is to consult with an experienced debt relief attorney.

Juggling potential employment law benefits

Those who juggle call it an art and a sport. Regardless of how you describe it, it takes lots of practice to master keeping multiple things in the air at once. We draw on this to suggest an analogy between juggling and the practice of employment law.

Attorneys skilled in protecting worker rights don't juggle balls, torches or chain saws. Rather, what they are called upon to do is know all the laws that might apply to a particular situation, whether they happen to be federal or state. Further, they need to understand how the laws apply. Does one supersede another? Do the various laws complement each other in ways that can benefit the client? These are questions that need answering to assure optimal outcomes.

How to prove workplace discrimination

As an employee, you have the right to be free of discrimination in the workplace. Regardless of your race, gender, age or ethnicity, you deserve the same treatment as all other workers.

Is that standard not getting met in your career? Maybe you keep getting passed over for promotions that you know you deserve. Maybe you have not gotten a raise in too many years, even though others have. Maybe you face consistent discrimination when supervisors make derogatory comments about you, or when other employees make jokes at your expense.

Amid changing NJ laws, employees need to know their rights

The history of law is long, going back thousands of years. That does not mean it is stale and dusty. The truth is that it is ever changing, and so are the implications that follow. The challenge of keeping up with the shifts is a difficult one to face unless you're immersed in the legal environment. That's the value that attorneys bring to the table, and why consulting experienced counsel matters.

The issue of mandated worker benefits is one that is rarely off the legislative radar. As an example, note recent items in the news concerning efforts to provide greater support for working parents through paid family leave in New Jersey.

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