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Position Papers

CCSNJ Support for A-281



TO: Members of the New Jersey General Assembly 

FROM: Hilary Chebra, Manager, Government Affairs, CCSNJ

RE:                           A-281 (Umba/Torrissi)

DATE: May 26, 2022

The Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey (CCSNJ) would like to voice our support for A-281 (Umba/Torrissi), which expands the wage and hour law’s good-faith violation defense to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development employee interpretations.

This bill provides that the good faith defense against violations of the “New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law” based on an administrative regulation, ruling, approval, or interpretation by the Commissioner of the Department or Director of the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance be expanded to include those made by the authorized representatives of the Commissioner or Director. Current law only provides the good faith defense for decisions made by the Commissioner or the Director directly, not by members of their respective teams.

A-281 (Umba/Torrissi) is in response to the issues raised by the Branch v. Cream-O-Land Dairy case. The case concerned a violation of the wage and hour law that was upheld as a violation because the corrective ruling was made by an employee of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and not directly by the Commissioner.

 The court recognized that the statute left an employer in a difficult position. By allowing only the Commissioner or Director to sign off on good faith defense claims, it would make it nearly impossible for an employer to ever successfully seek that protection. As a result, the court suggested that the Legislature and the Department determine whether additional statutory guidance should be provided regarding the good-faith defense in wage and hour law proceedings.

If passed, this law will clarify the Legislature’s intent that Commissioners and Directors may act through their authorized agents in dealing with good faith defense claims, helping avoid future disputes regarding who is qualified to make such determinations.

Thank you for the ability to share our support for A-281 (Umba/Torrissi).

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For any Government-related comments, questions or suggestions please contact:

Hilary Chebra 

Manager, Government Affairs, CCSNJ

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