Look, cut me some slack here.
It’s 1:45 AM local time in New Orleans. This is my fourth major city in less than a week, having just arrived in town from San Francisco, where I spoke with EEOC General Counsel David Lopez on LGBT workplace rights at the EEOC EXCEL Conference. Instead of doing some last-minute preparing for tomorrow’s spiel at the 2016 DMEC Annual Conference — or, better yet, sleeping — I’m giving you a blog post about the discrimination implications of farting at work.
Please send my Pulitzer to Philadelphia.
About two years ago, I blogged here about this decision from the NJ Superior Court, Appellate Division, where the court held that an employer and employee could agree to shorten the statute of limitations on employment claims. For example, in Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture Company, Inc., conspicuously placed in its application materials, was language requiring that any employment-related lawsuit against Raymours be filed within six months of whenever the claim arose. Thus, if one of these employees was later discriminated against, he would have to file his lawsuit within six months (rather than within two years, as New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination permits).
There’s an equal-pay-for-women movement going on nationwide. Maybe you’ve heard of it. The most-commonly cited statistic is that full-time American female employees are paid only 79 cents for every dollar paid to men.
Locally, here in New Jersey (technically, I’m typing this post in Cherry Hill, NJ
in a diner located between two jughandles), the battle has waged on for some time. On Monday, on Governor Chris Christie’s desk sat a bill, which purported to foster equal pay for men and women.
He vetoed it.
My readers are the best!
On Friday, I received two emails within 15 minutes of one another, encouraging me to blog about this story. Kenneth Hilario at the Philadelphia Business Journal writes about an employee of an NJ company who is suing her employer. What makes this story special? The company allegedly fired the spouse’s husband, the company’s controller, because of his “extreme gas and uncontrollable diarrhea.”
Earlier this year, I shared the most unique late-to-work excuses. “I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning, and I lost track of time” did not make the list. However, according to the Associated Press, a New Jersey teacher used that excuse to explain away the 111 times he was late to work.
In these Summer months, it’s easy to relax a bit. For example, last weekend I spent Sunday morning sleeping off a fun Saturday night in the shade of a tree on my front lawn while my four kids played slip-and-slide
in traffic on the front lawn too. Although, I did catch my youngest two cooling off in drinking out of puddles on the sidewalk.
Can a person whose job is to ensure that the company follows a particular standard of care; i.e., a watchdog employee, bring an action against the company under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the state’s whistleblower law?
In case you missed it, earlier this month, the New Jersey Supreme Court answered this question (here) with a resounding yes! The logic is that CEPA is a very broad, remedial statute, and there is nothing in the letter of the law that carves away protections for watchdog employees. Therefore, when an employee “blows the whistle” on an unlawful (or what he/she reasonably believes is an unlawful) employer activity, that employee may have a claim under CEPA — even if the whistleblower is employed as, well, a whistleblower.