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New Law Offers Protection to New Jersey Service Workers

Numerous service workers know firsthand how it feels to get fired suddenly after months or years of hard work simply because ownership of their employer has changed hands. Even top employees have been terminated without warning simply because the new owner wanted to “bring in their own people.” Now, a new law gives service workers throughout New Jersey protection against this type of instant dismissal.

Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill on July 24, 2023 that prohibits new owners from dismissing service workers who have been employed at a location for at least 60 days, or the until expiration of their existing employment contract, whichever comes first. This legislation covers building maintenance workers, many types of airport employees and individuals working in school cafeterias. To qualify for this protection, the service worker must be on the job for at least 16 hours per week.

The law was passed over objections from some business groups and does set forth some exceptions to the service worker retention requirement. For example, new owners do not have to comply with the 60-day retention period if they determine that fewer service employees are needed to perform the work than had been employed by the previous owner. In these cases, the new owner must retain service employees based on their seniority within a job classification and give preference to the workers who were let go when additional hires are made.

Labor unions and worker advocacy groups supported the measure because it gives affected employees the ability to show their new bosses that they are capable contributors before they can be released. Also, it gives service workers notice that a change in ownership has taken place so they can decide if they want to stay at their current job or pursue other opportunities.

Once the law was signed, it took effect immediately, but it is likely that these types of summary dismissals will continue to occur due to ignorance of the new standard or new owners who intentionally violate the law. If you’re a service worker who was the victim of this type of illegal firing, you should contact an experienced New Jersey wrongful termination lawyer as soon as possible.

Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack advocates on behalf of New Jersey workers in wrongful termination and other types of employment law matters. To discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney, please call 551-245-8894 or contact us online.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

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Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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