The start of the year is a good time for employers to fulfill their requirements to annually distribute certain employment law notices to their employees. In particular, for certain New Jersey employers, there are two employment law notices that must be provided to all employees on an annual basis: the gender equity notice and the whistleblower notice required by the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”).
Gender Equity Notice:
In response to a law that passed in September 2012, New Jersey employers with 50 or more total employees (regardless of whether those employees work in New Jersey or outside the State) are required to post in a conspicuous place in the workplace a notice to advise employees of their right to be free from gender-based discrimination. The notice must be posted in both English and Spanish. Copies of the notice are available on the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s website. In addition to posting the notice in the workplace, employers must distribute the notice to employees: annually by December 31st of each year, to all employees at the time of their hire, and any time an employee requests a copy. Employers may distribute the notice to employees through e-mail, printed material, or through an intranet site so long as the site is for the exclusive use of employees and can be accessed by all employees.
Employers also must obtain a signed acknowledgement or electronic verification from each employee with each distribution of the notice. The acknowledgment must state that the employee has received and read the notice and understands its terms and must be returned within 30 days of receipt of the notice.
CEPA statutorily protects New Jersey employees who engage in whistleblowing activity. CEPA requires employers with 10 or more employees to annually distribute a notice in both English and Spanish advising employees of their rights under the statute. Copies of the notice are available on the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s website. Unlike with the gender equity notice, employers need not obtain a signed acknowledgment from employees with each distribution of the CEPA notice.
Other Notice Posting Obligations:
While the gender equity and CEPA notices must be distributed annually to New Jersey employees, there are many other notices that New Jersey employers must post, but not necessarily annually distribute, in the workplace. Some of these other notices, however, must be distributed at the time of hire or when there is a potential claim. This includes notices relating to: employees’ right to be free from workplace discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination; family leave; family leave insurance; leave entitlements for victims of domestic violence; wage payment laws; recordkeeping requirements; unemployment and disability insurance, among other notices. In addition, some municipalities require additional postings for municipal sick leave laws. Employers should carefully review their workplace postings and annual distribution practices to ensure compliance with the laws in the jurisdictions in which they operate.