The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits the discrimination against employees by the employers in any job- interviewing, discharge, promotions, recruitment, hiring and compensation and other terms and conditions on the basis of legally specified protected categories.
The S121 is the new bill which amends the NJLAD in two significant ways and is applicable to all agreements entered or renewed or modified on or after 18th March,2019:
- confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements (NDA) in employment contracts/settlement agreements would be unenforceable.
- arbitration clauses and jury waivers in employment contracts relating to claims of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment are prohibited.
It is noteworthy that the new amendment does not have any retroactive effect and hence agreement before the specified date are not affected by it.
It is to be noted that though the new amendment deems these confidentiality provisions unenforceable yet it permits employees and employers to enter into agreements containing such provisions if the parties agree to do so. In cases where the parties expressly agree to include a confidentiality/non-disclosure provision the agreement shall include a bold letter notice “though parties agreed to facts confidential, such provision is unenforceable against employer if the employee publicly reveals details of the claim so that the employer is reasonably identifiable.” Therefore, employers and employees may opt for non-disclosure provisions in agreements pertaining to discrimination, retaliation and harassment claims, nonetheless the employees are permitted to disregard these provisions. Also, any employment contract which requires an employee to waive their right to a jury trial or arbitrate a claim is now void as a matter of law.
This amendment to NJLAD has been in line with the action taken by various state legislatures in USA when #MeToo movement got momentum. These changes are made to be more responsive to the changing legal landscape worldwide.
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