Employment and Labor

Porzio Welcomes Richard Bauch to the Employment and Labor Department

6/1/2017| News

Porzio is pleased to welcome Richard H. Bauch as Of Counsel to the firm and a member of the Employment and Labor Department. He concentrates his practice in the representation of management in the areas of labor and employment, education and general litigation. He is also admitted to the Roster of Superior Court-approved Civil Law Mediators and actively serves as a court-approved civil mediator. 

Prior to joining Porzio, Mr. Bauch was a founding member of the firm of Bauch Zucker Hatfield LLC in Springfield, New Jersey. He successfully represented both private and public employers in numerous labor and employment law cases, including discrimination and harassment cases, as well as in whistle-blower and alleged retaliation cases at the trial and appellate levels.  

Mr. Bauch completed his J.D. degree at Rutgers University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. He earned a B.A. in English, cum laude, from New Jersey City University in Jersey City, New Jersey, and an M.A. from the same, where he was a Reading Specialist and Graduate Teaching Fellow.  

Redefining "Simple Misconduct" in Unemployment Benefits Eligibility

5/31/2017| Article

Employment Law Monthly - May 2017

By Deborah H. Share

Unemployment benefits are crucial to thousands of employees who lose their employment. However, the unemployment benefits law is also crucial for employers to understand, as they often make determinations regarding whether contesting the eligibility of former employees' benefits is worth the effort and cost, and often work on their own to gather the relevant information and testify in appeals. Understanding which former employees are generally eligible for benefits, and which may be disqualified from benefits, is important. 

To read the full article, please click here.

Gagliardi Rises to Managing Principal at Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C.

3/1/2017| News

Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C. is pleased to announce that Vito A. Gagliardi, Jr. has been appointed Managing Principal effective March 1, 2017. Mr. Gagliardi will also serve as President and CEO of the firm's subsidiaries, Porzio Governmental Affairs and Porzio Compliance Services. 

Additionally, a five-person Management Committee will support Mr. Gagliardi. The Committee is comprised of the following Porzio principals: Diane Fleming Averell (Morristown), Michelle D. Axelrod (New England), Kevin M. Bell (Washington, D.C.), Brett S. Moore (New York), and Philip J. Siana (Morristown). Mr. Siana will also serve as the firm’s Vice President.

Mr. Gagliardi succeeds D. Jeffrey Campbell, who has overseen the firm’s operations since 1997. Mr. Campbell has been a catalyst for change for the firm, including introducing rigorous strategic planning, developing a nationally touted paralegal utilization program and launching Porzio’s subsidiaries. Mr. Campbell will stay on as Of Counsel at Porzio and President and CEO of Porzio Life Sciences, LLC.

To read the full press release, please click here.

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Appellate Division Does Not "Waiver" - Recent Decision Provides Guidance on the Enforceability of Jury-Waiver Agreements in NJ

3/27/2017| Article

Employment Law Monthly - March 2017

By David L. Disler

Jury trials are both expensive and unpredictable. To avoid the unnecessary exposure and expense that result from such trials, many employers require their employees to sign agreements that include a waiver of their right to a jury trial (instead, requiring the dispute be decided by a judge or arbitrator). In response, courts have struck down such provisions when they are overly broad or lack specificity. A recent Appellate Division decision, Noren v. Heartland Payment Sys., Inc., No. A-2651-13T3 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div., Feb. 6, 2017) (available here), provides further guidance on the enforceability of jury-waiver provisions. 

To read the full article, please click here.

Federal District Court's Treatment of Employers' FMLA Obligations Ends in a Draw

2/27/2017| Article

Porzio's Employment Law Monthly - February 2017

By Janelle Edwards-Stewart

Have you, as an employer, created your own Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") forms for employees to complete when seeking leave? Do you expect that your employees should be keeping track of their FMLA leave, since "anyone can count from one to 12 weeks, right?" If you answered "yes" to either or both of these questions, then you may end up where Youth Consultation Services ("YCS") found itself this past December, when a federal district court deemed it to have violated its notice obligation under the FMLA. Do not despair. In the same action, the Court declined expanding the company's disability accommodation obligations and, instead, made clear to employees that a FMLA leave request does not double as a request for disability accommodation.

To read the full article, please click here.

New Jersey Appellate Division Increases Requirements Under the Open Public Meetings Act

2/10/2017| Article

By Marie-Laurence Fabian and David L. Disler

On Wednesday, February 8, 2017, the Appellate Division released two companion opinions ("Kean I" and "Kean II") that expanded the requirements under the Open Public Meetings Act ("OPMA") to include: 

1. Rice notice be provided to employees any time matters involving their employment are placed on the agenda (even if the public entity has no intention of discussing the employee or personnel decision in executive session); and

2. Meeting minutes be released to the public within 45 days of the meeting (except for extraordinary circumstances).

To avoid unnecessary litigation that may invalidate its actions, public entities must become familiar with the more stringent requirements under the OPMA. 

 

To read the full article, please click here.

Liability Available by the Case at Costco

1/19/2017| Article

Employment Law Monthly - January 2017

By Kerri A. Wright

A $250,000 jury verdict in federal court in Illinois provides all employers a clear reminder that they have an obligation to protect their employees from the creation of a hostile work environment caused by clients and customers, not just from fellow employees or supervisors.

In denying an employer's motion for summary judgment, and sending the matter to a jury, a federal district court in Illinois held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, in turn, protects employees against a hostile work environment "so permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that it is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the condition of the victim's employment" regardless of whether that hostile environment is caused by another employee, an independent contractor, or even a customer. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 2015 WL 9200560 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 15, 2015)(citing Harris v. Forklift Sys., Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 21 (1993)). Costco received that reminder loud and clear when a jury found it failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a customer from harassing one of its employees, awarded that employee $250,000 in emotional distress damages, and ordered Costco to reimburse her for years of medical bills for psychiatric treatment she allegedly received as a result of the harassment.  

To read the full article, please click here.

Porzio Principals Vito Gagliardi and Kerri Wright to Co-Chair the Firm's Education and Employment Team

1/1/2017| News

Porzio is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2017, principals Vito A. Gagliardi, Jr. and Kerri A. Wright will co-chair the firm's Education and Employment Team. 

Porzio has more than 50 years of experience counseling and representing management on employment and labor matters. Our unique combination of skills has drawn diverse organizations to our firm, from Fortune 500 companies to small and mid-sized businesses in the life sciences, manufacturing, transportation, education, and retail industries, as well as public sector clients such as Boards of Education and police departments.

Vito Gagliardi represents school districts in numerous matters and handles an extraordinary variety of employment law matters for the firm’s public and private sector clients in state and federal courts, before state and federal agencies, and before arbitrators. He litigates and counsels clients in every area of labor and employment law, including issues of restrictive covenants, harassment, discrimination and whistleblowing. 

Mr. Gagliardi is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey's Board on Trial Certification as a Civil Trial Attorney. A Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated lawyer, he has also been listed by New Jersey Super Lawyers in the area of employment law since the list’s inception in 2005.

Kerri Wright has extensive litigation and counseling experience in numerous areas of employment law. She has successfully defended management in class-action wage and hour lawsuits and has handled numerous investigations by management into allegations of employee wrongdoing. Ms. Wright also has significant experience representing and counseling school boards, charter schools, private schools and colleges in a variety of areas. She is one of only a few experts in the State in the area of reconfiguring school districts, including the creation and dissolution of regional school districts and the creation and termination of sending-receiving relationships.

Ms. Wright serves as general legal counsel to the Hopatcong Board of Education. Also an elected member of the Chester Board of Education in Morris County, Kerri is serving in her fourth term. She served several years as the President of the Board, and currently serves as the Chair of the Board’s negotiation committee. She has successfully negotiated employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements with each one of the Board’s labor groups.

Porzio appreciates Vito's and Kerri's individual contributions to the firm and looks forward to the continued development of the team through their joint leadership.

EEOC Is On The Case: Action Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination

12/21/2016| Article

Employment Law Monthly - December 2016

By Deborah H. Share

A district court in Pennsylvania recently denied an employer's motion to dismiss when it found that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Scott Med. Health Ctr., P.C., 2016 WL 6569233 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 4, 2016). Discrimination "because of" one's sex and stereotyping based on one's sex includes harassment and creation of a hostile work environment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation.  

To read the full article, please click here.