COVID-19, Cannabis & Culture: The rapid evolution of labor law


The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused every human being to reassess their work-life balance.

“People no longer live to work; they work for a living, and their job is not their life, ”says Weiner. “Although the law does not necessarily oblige employers to provide employees with everything they can reasonably expect (that is to say benefits, paid time off, flexible hours, hybrid / remote work environments, etc.), employers may need them to ensure they are able to retain the best and the brightest – even after the pandemic sags.

“With employees bringing these issues to the fore, it’s the market that dictates changes in employer behavior. Usually it’s the legislation that does that, but here it is, ”says Weiner.

“This is why we are seeing labor shortages – peopleI want to work for a company where they feel good, ”adds Mastroianni. “Businesses need to understand how to not only attract people, but also be excited to come to work. everyday. ”

This can present real challenges, Wells says.

“If an employer wants to return to work in a hybrid fashion and an employee has moved without notice, can they continue to accommodate them with remote work, and as a business, does they want to? ” she says.

“In addition, for employees who are entitled to overtime, do employers make sure to properly record their time when working from home? Employers who allow hourly workers to work remotely should have policies, procedures and procedures in placee technologies to record hours worked so that they don’t violate the law on wages and hours, ”says Wells.

Despite the prevalence and continued impact of COVID-19, it is not the only thing that has drastically changed labor law over the past two yearss.

“Employers need to be aware of the new job protections for cannabis users within the state,” Mastroianni said. “An employer can no longer take unfavorable employment action, such as dismissal, against an employee solely because of a positive drug. test for THC.

“If an employee is clearly under the influence of cannabis at work, that would be a very legitimate reason for dismissal. However, the law also changed the regulations regarding drug testing for cannabis use – there must be physical control. review too, ”she said. “This requirement is currently suspended by the state, but will likely go into effect next year – and those charged with detecting whether someone may be under the influence really need to understand what that looks like in real time.”

Mastroianni adds that she expects to see more enforcement action against companies falsely classifying employees as independent contractors in 2022.

“When New Jersey released all these new laws, they did a 1% audit of acro the state and found nearly 13,000 cases of employee misclassification, ”she said.

“If an employer classifies employees as independent contractors, they must be free from the employer’s control and can conduct their business as and when they wish; otherwiset, employers must pay them as employees with minimum wage, overtime and, from a tax perspective, take out the appropriate deductions and deductions, including payments to temporary disability and unemployment funds Adds Weiner. “Department of New Jersey of Labor now has numerous sanctions and audit powers to ensure that employers properly classify their employees.

Ultimately, it is more cost effective to have a full-time human resources manager or labor lawyer who is paid or available on a regular basis.At least a semi-annual basis to review updates only to be found non-compliant because you had no other way to know the law.

“You can go 20 years without a problem, but when an employee lifts one, it usually comes in a group, which leads to a slippery slope,” Wsaid einer. “While it may seem like an unnecessary expense when things are going well, if you break the law you can be affected by retrocession fees, compensatory and / or lump sum damages, attorney fees, and you are then under the radar of the Depart of work.

“I liken it to buying an insurance policy – you pay the premium monthly, and while you may never need to file a claim, if and when the storm hits you will be really happy. to see her.”

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