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Know the Law
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Know the Law

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EMPLOYMENT LAW

As a working person in New Jersey, you are protected by a range of workplace laws.   This web site will inform you about employment laws which protect your rights and what to do if they are violated. 

 

YOUR LEGAL STATUS

Every person who works for another person/firm is an employee at will.   This means that either the employee or the employer is free to end the employment relationship at any time for any reason.  A worker can quit a job whenever s/he chooses; a worker can be fired for a good reason or for no reason at all.  This is the basic status of workers, including temp workers.

But employment at will has been modified in some ways.  When an employee receives a handbook or letter or other document describing the terms of her employment, there is a contract governing the employment.  Verbal promises can also create a contract.  The contract governs the employment, not the employment at will relationship.  Every contract includes what are called the implied covenants (promises) of good faith and fair dealings.  This means that you cannot be fired without good cause, and the employer cannot arbitrarily change other terms and conditions of your employment.  It is therefore important that you keep all of the materials which are given to you by the temp agency when you register for temp work.  It is also recommendable that you make a written record of any promises your employer (the temp agency or client firm) makes to you.  These documents are your contract of employment with the temp agency.  Make sure you keep them.

The New Jersey State Legislature and the United States Congress have also enacted laws which protect employees and change employment at will.  These laws assure you a safe workplace and guarantee that you will be paid at least minimum wage and overtime in a timely fashion.   The law protects you from firing or discrimination because of:

Race, religion (creed), color, nationality/national origin, ancestry
Age
Sex or marital status
Affectional or sexual orientation; Perceived affectional/sexual orientation
Organizing a union or joining work advocacy groups
Whistle-blowing (complaining about unlawful workplace activities publicly)

Laws that protect workers are harder to enforce when it comes to temp workers.   Temps are technically employed by the temp agency, not the client firm.  Even though temps go to work at the office of the client firm, temps are still paid employees of the temp agency, not the client firm.  And it is understood that every temporary job can end at any time:  it is temporary.  So even if an assignment quickly ends illegally, a client firm or temp agency can claim that they simply no longer need the temp.  But there are some provisions of law which an employer cannot easily evade.

 

CONSUMER FRAUD

The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act requires temp agencies to give workers copies of all signed documents.  It also prohibits bait and switch routines, false advertising, and other frauds.  If you are sent out on an assignment and it turns out the pay or the conditions of employment are not what you were told/promised; or if you are sent on a temp-to-hire/temp-to-perm assignment and it turns out be only temporary; or if you register with a temp agency because of a newspaper help wanted ad which promises temp-to-perm, and the promise proves to be false, then the temp agency has committed fraud according to the Consumer Fraud Act.

New Jersey law licenses temp agencies to provide workers for a firm's temporary, excess, or special work load.  We believe it is a common and growing fraud to place temp workers in permanent long-term temping jobs (commonly referred to as perma-temping) without ever converting them to regular employees.  Employers do this in order to avoid the cost of benefits.  This exploitative practice is expedited by contracts between temp agencies and client firms that often include on-site supervisors from the temp agency.  The employer hires temps and then replaces them every six months or so, even if they do a good job.

If a job is in truth a permanent job, every time a temp is replaced in that job, that temp has been wrongfully discharged.  And both the temp agency and the client firm has violated the Consumer Fraud Act.  If you have been victimized by this practice and you would like to do something about it, contact usWe intend to stop this abuse.

 

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