Members of NJBIA’s Government Affairs team told a Senate committee that a bill moving through the Legislature that seeks to address sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace was not the right solution and would open the floodgates for litigation.
NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas and Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor testified in opposition to the bill, S-3352, which was narrowly approved by the Senate Labor Committee last week.
Buteas emphasized that the employer community does not condone any type of sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace. In fact, NJBIA provides businesses with a tremendous amount of information and training resources to help educate employers and protect employees, she pointed out.
However, while NJBIA supports the intent of this legislation, some of its provisions related to the standard to file a lawsuit, the defenses an employer can use, and the expansion of discovery would have grave consequences for the workplace and the court system, they said.
“We do believe this bill is not the solution,” Buteas told the committee.
Cantor noted that under existing New Jersey Supreme Court precedent, an employers can avoid liability if they have taken affirmative steps to prevent or respond to the offending conduct, but that the legislation essentially removes employer defenses.
“Currently under the law right now an employer can have as a defense that they had policies in place, they had training for their employees, they took prompt action when they became aware of a violation,” Cantor said. “All of those defenses would be removed from the law if this legislation were to pass. This will open the floodgates of litigation.”
To listen to the entire testimony of the NJBIA Government Affairs team, go here.