Employment and Labor

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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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.

Is Paid Sick Leave Here to Stay?

11/28/2016| Article

Employment Law Monthly - November 2016

By Janelle Edwards-Stewart

It is here now, but for how much longer? The "It" refers to President Barack Obama's Executive Order 13706, which requires all federal contractors to give their employees at least seven days of paid sick leave annually. At its inception, Executive Order 13706 was intended to "increase efficiency and cost savings in the work performed by parties that contract with the federal government." The idea was that offering paid sick leave would improve employee performance. The leave would also serve as an incentive that enabled federal contractors to attract more talented employees. With the impending end of the Obama Administration, it is unclear whether these theories will have the opportunity to be tested.

To read the full article, please click here.

A Sigh of Relief for Employers: Federal Judge Halts Implementation of New Overtime Regulations

11/23/2016| Article

By Kerri A. Wright and Emre M. Polat

Employers across the country have been preparing to implement the new federal Department of Labor ("DOL") regulations, which call for a substantial increase in the base salary for all so-called "White Collar" exempt employees. This new regulation, scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016, was challenged by a group of 21 states and 50 businesses as unconstitutional. With employers across the country anxiously awaiting good news from this lawsuit, that good news came on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, when United States District Judge Amoz Mazzant entered a preliminary injunction temporarily enjoining the regulation from taking effect on December 1, 2016.

To read the full article, please click here.

8th Annual Porzio Employment Law Forum

11/15/2016| News

The 8th Annual Porzio Employment Law Forum was held on November 15, 2016 at Porzio's Morristown, NJ office location.

In-house counsel, business owners, managers, human resource professionals and other company officials with a need for an understanding of employment law and regulations attended from all over New Jersey. Participants learned about the latest developments in federal and New Jersey employment law, networked with peers and Porzio attorneys, and gained up-to-date knowledge to help minimize their organizations' exposure to liability.

Industry hot topics included:

  • "Job Descriptions: Cutting Edge Tips for Ensuring You Get It Right the First Time," presented by Vito A. Gagliardi, Jr. Esq. and Janelle Edwards-Stewart, Esq.
  • "Knowing That The "E" in "E-Mail" Stands for "Evidence:" Best Practices For Employers," To Manage Electronically Stored Information presented by Eric L. Probst, Esq. and Deborah H. Share, Esq.
  • "New Regulations, Legislation, and Case Law Impacting Your Business," presented by Sal M. Anderton, Esq., Marie-Laurence Fabian, Esq., and Eliyahu S. Scheiman, Esq.
  • "Cyber Security For Employers: Not A Question Of If, But When," presented by Deirdre R. Wheatley-Liss, Esq. and David L. Disler, Esq.
  • "Critical Changes to the FLSA: Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees," presented by Kerri A. Wright, Esq. and Emre M. Polat, Esq.
  • "Potential Impact of Trump Administration on New Jersey Businesses," presented by Vito A. Gagliardi, Jr., Esq., Sal M. Anderton, Esq. and Barbara DeMarco

This complimentary seminar provided the option of New Jersey Continuing Legal Education credits and general credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

To receive the Porzio Employment Law Monthly and to stay informed on future Porzio events, please sign up here.

Court Gives Immunization Policy Shot in the Arm

10/31/2016| Article

Employment Law Monthly - October 2016

By David L. Disler

Earlier this month, the Appellate Division in Brown v. Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center upheld a hospital's mandatory flu shot policy that included a religious exemption.  While an employee (who was not an atheist) challenged the policy because it favored religious believers over non-believers, the Court dismissed this claim, finding that the employee was not a member of a protected class.  Notably, however, the Court left open the door for an atheist to claim protection under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD"). 

To read the full article, please click here

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NLRB Making America Grate Again

9/20/2016| Article

Employment Law Monthly - September 2016

By Vito A. Gagliardi, Jr.

Late last month, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that students who work as teaching and research assistants at Columbia University are employees of a union. This landmark decision reverses a 2004 NLRB decision and green-lights unionization efforts at private universities throughout the country.

The NLRB rulings on the issue of teaching and research assistants have flip-flopped in recent years, creating a difficult area to navigate for students and private universities alike, and reflecting very clearly the significance of the political makeup of the NLRB.  

To read the full article, please click here

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