If you are employed in the United States, whether you are a U.S. citizen, an immigrant or a refugee, you are protected under the law. If you have been asked by your employer to work overtime, have not been paid what you are owed by your employer, have not been paid leave or have other benefits that your employer has withheld, you have a legal right to them.
If you have asked at work about your rights or have tried to exercise those rights and you are afraid that your employer will take action against you in response, there are laws that will protect you. That applies to your current employer as well as former employers.
How does the law apply in different situations?
In New Jersey, your work situation has different applicable laws that apply. The following apply in the different situations:
- Wages and payments: According to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the New Jersey Division of Wage and Hour Compliance is the division that enforces the state’s labor laws, including minimum wage, accrued sick leave, how a person is paid, laws regarding employing children and other labor issues. When it comes to overtime pay and minimum wage, that is determined by the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law. If an employee works over 40 consecutive hours, the law dictates that they will earn 1.5 times their regular wage (with few exceptions).
- Independent contractors and misclassification: There are differences in the laws for a full-time permanent employee and a contractor. However, it is not uncommon for the employer to mistakenly classify the worker, which affects the benefits and rights that they receive. An employee is a person who works for an employer (with the exception of independent contractors). Employees have protection under New Jersey law, including Unemployment Compensation Law. Contractors, on the other hand, don’t have such protection. Because of that, it is essential that employees are classified correctly.
- Employees who are under 18 years of age: The rules for workers under the age of 18 years are different from the rules for workers who are over age 18. The Child Labor Laws in New Jersey protect the worker by limiting the number of hours that they are allowed to work as well as the kind of work they are allowed to do. Minors must have an employment certificate (commonly known as working papers) or a specific permit for the specific job that they wish to do. Additionally, they must have a 30-minute break after they have worked six consecutive hours and they are not allowed to work more than six days in a row in any given week.
- Other types of employees protected under New Jersey law: There are also laws that protect victims/survivors of sexual and domestic violence, workers of construction jobs and farm workers. New Jersey also addresses paid sick time, temporary disability, family leave, retaliation, domestic workers and tipped workers.
Understand your employee rights in New Jersey
It is important that as an employee in New Jersey, the law protects you and it is important for you to understand your rights so that you can defend them if your employer is violating those rights. If you are experiencing such a situation, the experienced advice of a New Jersey employment attorney may help your case tremendously.
Attorneys help workers fight for what is right. You must remember that you have options and you don’t have to settle for what someone else is trying to convince you to do, especially if you know that it is not right for you.