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Position Papers

CCSNJ Support of A-281

Labor Mandates Workforce


TO: Members of the Assembly Labor Committee

FROM: Hilary Chebra, Manager, Government Affairs, CCSNJ

RE: A-281 (Umba/Torrissi)

DATE: March 10, 2022

The Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey (CCSNJ) would like to voice our support for A-281 (Umba/Torrissi), which expands the “good-faith” defense to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJLWD) under the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law.

A-281 (Umba/Torrissi) provides that the good faith defense against wage and hour violations based on an administrative regulation, ruling, approval, or interpretation by the NJLWD be expanded to include those made by the authorized representatives of the NJLWD Commissioner or Director of the Division of Wage and Hour. Current law only allows these decisions to be made by the Commissioner or the Director directly.

This bill is in response to the issues raised by the Branch v. Cream-O-Land Dairy case, which concerned a violation that was upheld because the corrective ruling regarding compliance was made by an employee of the NJDLWD, and not directly by the Commissioner. The court recognized that the statute left the employer in a difficult position acknowledging that any good faith defense would be nearly impossible for employers to successfully seek given the decision had to be made by one of two people. The court suggested that the New Jersey Legislature and the NJLWD determine whether additional statutory guidance should be provided regarding the good-faith defense in Wage and Hour Law proceedings.

If passed, this law would clarify the Legislature’s intent that Commissioners and Directors may act through their authorized agents in dealing with good faith defense claims, avoiding 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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