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Local NJRA: New Laws Demand Attention

Posted on  | January 20, 2015   Bookmark and Share
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On August 11th, 2014, the “New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act” was signed into law. This new legislation will change the employment application process for New Jersey employers with 15 or more employees, starting March 1st, 2015. 

Employers will no longer be permitted to ask about a candidate’s criminal history during the initial employment application process, either on paper or verbally. The initial employment application process includes the time from which a candidate first inquires about a position until after the employer has conducted a first interview, whether in person or by any other means. Employers also are prohibited from producing printed material that says they will not consider anyone convicted of a crime or offense. 

After the initial employment application process is complete, employers may make inquiries regarding a candidate’s criminal history. Employers also are not precluded from refusing to hire a candidate for employment based on the candidate’s criminal history; unless the criminal offense has been expunged, there are some exceptions to the Act. 

If you are unclear on whether an exception applies to a certain position, please call the NJRA or your attorney. Failure to comply with the law includes penalties that range from a fine up to $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

These fines are the only penalties available under the Act, and the Act specifically indicates that it does not allow for a private cause of action against an employer who is alleged to have violated the law. 

With March 1st approaching quickly, please review all your documents, applications and review with your managers or HR staff.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 30, the “Save American Workers Act.” 

Changing the definition of “full time” has been one of the restaurant industry’s top priorities since the health care law was passed in 2010. Though the House passed identical legislation during the 113th Congress, the legislation failed to find its way onto the Senate floor for a full vote. 

While the House passed H.R. 30 by a margin of 252-172, passing the bill in the Senate is expected to be more challenging, as 60 votes are required to bring it to a vote. 

The National Restaurant Association’s CEO Dawn Sweeney and Chairman Jack Crawford, along with NRA advocacy staff, met with several members of the House and Senate earlier this week to build support for the legislation. Crawford spoke at a press conference alongside Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (DIN) in support of the Senate bill.

The National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Public Affairs Conference registration is officially open. This year, the conference will be held in conjunction with the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Legislative Action Summit at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. We will join forces for some events and then separate to focus on issues that are specific to the restaurant industry. There will be some dual-networking opportunities built into the agenda, but attendees should only register for their applicable conference. 

If you are interested in attending, please call the NJRA office at (609) 599-3316 or email Alicia Papp at apapp@njra.org.


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