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January 2016 Archives

Joint, Shared, and Sole Physical Custody in NJ: Keep the Focus on Children

In New Jersey, there are a number of routes divorcing parents may regarding child custody issues. Beyond the parents’ needs or desires, focus on the children’s best interests is of paramount importance to the courts and the public, and the parents should share that concern. This goal is also the focus of any court proceeding should the parents be unwilling or unable to hammer out a custody agreement through negotiation or mediation.

“When Does My Firing Amount to Wrongful Discharge?”

Wrongful Discharge Defined

Wrongful termination, or wrongful discharge, involves a breach of one or more conditions of an employment contract, a handbook quasi-contract, or a federal or state employment law.

If a discharged employee proves wrongful termination in a court of law or arbitration proceeding, the two main remedies are reinstatement and monetary compensation.

Ready or Not, NJ Closed Adoptions Set to Open in 2017; and Open Adoptions Become the “New Norm”

In May of 2014, open adoption activists celebrated the Governor’s signing a bill into law that will allow them to get their original birth records, beginning in January of 2017.
Governor Christie’s sister was adopted in the 1970’s, and her husband also was adopted. The couple, the Governor said, could not get medical information under previous law. That will all change in 2017.

Mandatory Workplace Testing and the Making of an ADA Violation

On January 26, 2016, the NJ Appellate Division published IN THE MATTER OF PAUL WILLIAMS, a precedent-setting case that struck a blow for workers’ rights to be free from mandatory and unnecessary medical and psychiatric “fitness for duty” testing. For many years, employers have gotten away with using written and unwritten “fitness for duty” policies to discriminate against public and private sector workers, including wrongful termination. This case is important, instructive, and deserves public attention.

New Jersey Husbands: Eligible for ‘Manimony’?

Among the stereotypes harbored by some Americans is the notion that spousal support in divorces is the sole domain of undeserving ex-wives seeking a lifelong payday while refusing to work. In reality, spousal support in the Garden State is a two-way street, upon which both men and women are eligible to receive reasonable alimony for a reasonable time, based on statutorily defined criteria. While the numbers are far from even, men are increasingly the recipient of spousal support, which can come as a shock to the women who are ordered or agree to make such payments.

Investigation of NJ Workplace Civil Rights Complaints

Civil rights and other workplace relation laws require employers to investigate employee complaints, to meet the employer’s commitment under the laws. The employer must investigate problems of which they are aware or should be aware, concerning any type of discrimination, harassment, threat, or safety problem faced by an employee. They must take immediate and effective corrective action to solve the problem. To know what action to take, and find out whether an investigation is even necessary, the employer has to collect and examine essential facts. Employers who fail to look into such issues or problems are at risk of losing claims or lawsuits brought by employees adversely affected by those underlying problems.

NJ Legi Approves Presumptive Termination of Child Support; Law Awaits Governor Christie’s Signature

When in a New Jersey child’s life should his or her right to child support payments come to an end? That is a question to which New Jersey’s lawmakers recently found an answer. The bill (S-1046/A-2721) was passed overwhelmingly in the New Jersey Senate last summer by a 31-2 vote and in the New Jersey Assembly on December 17, 2015, by a unanimous vote, 68-0, with one abstention. The bill provides for automatic termination of child support upon a child’s reaching 19 years of age, with some exceptions. It awaits only the signature of Governor Christie to become law.

NJ “Watchdog” Whistleblower Case from 2015 Could Help Workers and the Public in the New Year

“Watchdog” Whistleblower Protections Expand Employee Rights

In July of 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled unanimously on key provisions of the NJ Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1, et seq., New Jersey’s so-called “whistleblower” statute, which protects whistleblowing employees from the adverse economic effects of employer retaliation. The CEPA statute has been considered one of American’s strongest bulwarks against employer misconduct and retaliation against employees whose only “crimes” were their reporting of criminal, financial, environmental, and/or unethical wrongs. The High Court’s definitive interpretation puts an end to certain lower court rulings that exempted from CEPA’s coverage those employees whose jobs already required them to report malefaction in the workplace. Joel S. Lippman, M.D., vs. Ethicon, Inc., and Johnson & Johnson, Inc., 222 N.J. 362 (2015).

Hanan M. Isaacs, P.C.
4499 NJ-27
Kingston, NJ 08528

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