On May 8, 2023 the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (“NJDOL”) announced that it has created a web page to highlight key provisions and provide guidance for compliance with the recently enacted Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights (the “Law”). As we previously discussed, the Law creates notification requirements for temporary help service firms when placing a temporary laborer at a worksite, prohibits retaliation against a temporary laborer for exercising his or her rights under the Law, and requires equal pay and benefits for temporary laborers performing the same or substantially similar job functions as employees of the third party contracting employer at each worksite. Although the bulk of the Law’s provisions do not take effect until August 5, 2023, the notification and prohibition on retaliation provisions are effective as of May 7, 2023.
The web page provides an overview of the Law and a set of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) covering the Law’s key provisions. The FAQs discuss which provisions went into effect on May 7 and summarizes those set to take place August 5, noting that additional guidance will be published in the coming months.
As of May 7, temporary help service firms are required to provide the temporary laborer with a Temporary Laborer Assignment Notification Form containing information such as the contact information of the temporary help service firm and the third party client, the wages offered, and the nature of the assignment. The temporary help service firm must provide at least 48 hours’ notice if there is a change in the schedule or location of a multi-day assignment. Additionally, a temporary help service firm is prohibited from sending a temporary laborer to a worksite where a strike or other labor dispute exists without informing the temporary laborer of the dispute and their right to refuse the assignment. As stated in the FAQs, this information must be available to the temporary laborers “in Spanish or in any other language that is generally understood in the locale of the temporary help service firm.” If the NJDOL determines a temporary help service firm has violated the notification provisions, it may assess administrative penalties of between $500 and $1,000 for each violation.
Also now in effect is the Law’s prohibition of retaliation. Temporary help service firms and third-party clients are prohibited from retaliating against a temporary laborer for exercising his or her rights under the Law, which can include filing a complaint, cooperating with an investigation, or informing others of their rights under the Law. Adverse action within 90 days of any of these activities creates a rebuttable presumption of retaliation. The NJDOL may assess a penalty up to $250 for a first violation and up to $500 for each subsequent violation of the retaliation provision.
Notably, the FAQs state that, as of May 7, the NJDOL “is only empowered to collect administrative penalties.” This is because Law’s provision creating a private right of action allowing a temporary laborer to file a suit in Superior Court does not go into effect until August 5, 2023. Once this provision takes effect, the temporary laborer will be able to seek money damages for certain violations, in addition to money damages and reinstatement in cases of unlawful retaliation.
Now that the Law’s notification and prohibition on retaliation provisions are effective, employers should ensure that the temporary help service firms they contract with are complying with these provisions. Furthermore, employers should regularly check the web page for additional guidance regarding the provisions set to take effect August 5, 2023 to ensure their practices and policies conform with the new requirements.