Our Employment Law attorneys have extensive experience representing both employers and employees throughout New Jersey and New York. In this ever-evolving field, we represent employees who have been denied proper wages and who have been harassed, discriminated, terminated, or retaliated against in violation of state and federal laws. We also represent employers in litigation and arbitration and provide “in-house” counseling services to ensure that employers comply with state and federal laws and regulations, such as minimum wage and overtime premium; disability accommodations; and leave under the Family Medical Leave Act and New Jersey Family Leave Act. We also represent executives and medical doctors with regard to their compensation, equity, and business rights.
Experts in Employment Law
Thomas C. Jardim, a shareholder of the firm, has more than two decades of litigation experience in employment and labor law. Tom has handled all forms of employment discrimination matters, including discrimination based upon gender, race, national original, sexual orientation, religion, age, and disability. He has litigated employment-related cases before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission (“PERC”), and the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). He has also tried employment matters in the state courts of New Jersey and New York, as well as in federal court. In addition to litigating cases, he serves as in-house counsel to businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
Richard S. Meisner, a shareholder of the firm, represents executives, medical doctors, employees, and plan participants with regard to a broad scope of matters. Richard negotiates employment contracts, executive compensation, private and public equity arrangements, severance packages, and pre-litigation settlement agreements. He also represents employees who have been unlawfully discriminated, unlawfully terminated, and denied the pension and welfare benefits promised to them. He counsels businesses regarding employment, compensation and employee benefit plan matters. Rich’s extensive knowledge and expertise in employment and business matters enable him to lead the firm’s ERISA, Employment Benefits, Executive Compensation department and co-chair the Franchise Law department.
Comprehensive Legal Services for Employees and Businesses
Negotiating employment agreements and severance packages
Our attorneys negotiate agreements between employers and employees at the commencement of the employment relationship, during the relationship, and at the conclusion of the relationship.
For employees, the termination of employment raises many issues, such as whether the termination was unlawful, whether the employee has been paid his or her wages, whether the employee has waived any claims against the employer. For example, if the employee was wrongfully terminated, the employee may have leverage to negotiate a better severance package before waiving all claims against the employer.
For businesses, the termination of employment often leads to issues related to waiver of claims, confidentiality, reputation, and enforcement of restrictive covenants (“non-compete agreements”). Thus, it is essential that each of these issues are clearly detailed in the employment agreement from the outset. If not, the employer may not have the right to bring an enforcement action against the employee.
Litigation and Arbitration
Our attorneys have litigated and arbitrated a wide variety of employment cases on behalf of employees and businesses, including:
- Breach of employment contract
- Failure to pay proper minimum wages and premium overtime
- Wrongful termination on the basis of age, sex, race, disability, and religion
- Failure to provide disability accommodations
- Failure to offer tenure (public schools)
- Hostile workplace
- Retaliation for whistleblowing activities
- Retaliation for exercising rights protected by ERISA
- Retaliation for refusing to engage in illegal conduct
Many employment discrimination, wrongful termination, hostile workplace, and employee retaliation cases arise from one or more of these laws: the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”), the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”), and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).
We have researched, briefed, and argued cases arising under each of these laws in the trial and appellate courts. In many instances, we have settled these cases on outstanding terms before trial. We have also achieved favorable results where confidential, binding arbitration was contractually required.
In-House Counseling Services
We also serve as “in-house counsel” to businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Attorneys who serve as “in-house” legal services provide a variety of legal services on an “on-going” basis, and typically at a flat monthly fee. Such services may involve drafting employment contracts and severance agreements; reviewing employee handbooks; revising company policies; and offering legal advice about HR compliance, employee privacy issues, employee leave laws, wage and hour matters, and termination of employees.
Whenever necessary, we can also offer businesses and not-for-profit organizations with more complex and time-intensive legal work at reasonable rates, such as sexual harassment training to managers; assist with the investigation of internal employee complaints; coordinate with HR managers to address internal employee complaints; and participate in mediation or arbitration to address these complaints.
When a government agency such as the U.S. Department of Labor or New Jersey Wage and Hour Division investigates an employee complaint, we can assist businesses and not-for-profit organizations with the investigation process. If the government agency determines that the complaint is substantiated, we can advise whether the employer should pay the assessed damages or negotiate a more favorable settlement.
Hiring an in-house counsel is often cost-effective for businesses and not-for-profit organizations because it helps ensure that businesses are in compliance with various state and federal laws. Compliance with the law can greatly help prevent substantial fines by government agencies and avert what may result in a very expensive litigation.
If you have any questions or would like more information about our employment law services, contact Thomas C. Jardim and Richard S. Meisner for a free consultation.