On August 6, 2019, the New Jersey Acting Governor, Sheila Oliver, signed into law the New Jersey Wage Theft Act (the “Act”), which modifies New Jersey’s existing wage and hour laws to protect employees from unfair pay practices.
The Act is one of the strongest anti-theft protection laws in the U.S. and has gone into effect immediately.
Wage Theft Act: Key Details
Some important changes enacted by the Wage Theft Act include:
- The Legislature now permits treble damages for non-payment of wages to New Jersey employees. Damages to be paid to an employee who prevails in an action against an employer for unpaid wages includes recovery of wages owed plus liquidated damages equal to 200% of the wages owed and reasonable costs.
- The Act contains provisions, which impose civil and criminal penalties on employers, corporate officers and any agents involved with management of that corporation, who violate New Jersey wage laws.
- The extension of the statute of limitations from two years to six years.
- Allows for a legal presumption of retaliation for any adverse employment action that occurs within 90 days after an employee complains about their wages. The presumption is rebuttable, but to do so the employer must come forward with clear and convincing evidence. Employers are also required to offer reinstatement of the employees.
Employers who violate the State Wage and Hour Laws may be subject to both fines ($500 to $2,000 per instance) and imprisonment.
Click the above link to learn about all of the upcoming HR and Labor Law changes for New Jersey businesses over the next 12 months.
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