New Jersey Business & Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs Michael Wallace issued the following statement regarding the signing of the Wage Theft law today by acting Governor Sheila Oliver.
“NJBIA fully supports the strong penalization of employers who knowingly and willfully cheat their employees through failing to pay wages, salary or benefits they are entitled to. This law, as signed, however, criminalizes inadvertent wage-and-hour violations and will also hold New Jersey businesses responsible for the actions of their contractors.
“Navigating the complexities of wage and hour laws is often a challenge for employers, whether new or experienced. As a result of this law, employers acting in good faith will now be threatened with excessive civil and criminal penalties for unintended mistakes. In certain scenarios, these unsuspecting employers will be forced to choose between protecting their business and defending their rights in court.
“Employers are now at risk of massive penalties and possibly years of jail time if they lose in court on reasonably disputable points. Also, as a result of this law, they now assume the risk of treble-damage class actions for unknown violations of a vendor or contractor they hire.”
“We look forward to working with the Legislature and the Administration to ensure employers that operate honestly and in good faith are protected from punitive damages for inadvertent errors.”