New Jersey Court Denies Effort to Enjoin Temporary Workers Bill of Rights

In February 2023, the New Jersey governor signed a bill that creates a Temporary Worker Bill of Rights (TWBOR). Employment statutes typically only protect people who meet a fairly specific definition of an “employee” that often excludes temporary workers. The TWBOR expands the protections offered by many New Jersey employment laws to include temporary workers employed by staffing agencies. Its effective date was August 5, 2023, 180 days after the date the governor signed it. In May, several trade organizations that represent staffing agencies filed a federal lawsuit seeking to enjoin the TWBOR on constitutional and statutory grounds. A judge denied their request for a preliminary injunction in late July, allowing the TWBOR to take effect on schedule.

The TWBOR covers temporary workers in multiple industries, including security, building maintenance, personal care services, food preparation, construction, manufacturing, repair, and transportation. These workers are directly employed by staffing agencies and provide services to client businesses. According to the New Jersey Legislature, temporary workers receive significantly lower pay than other employees for the same work and are more vulnerable to abusive workplace practices.

The new law imposes disclosure and recordkeeping requirements on temporary staffing agencies. It limits agencies’ ability to charge temporary workers for expenses like transportation to and from worksites. The provisions of the TWBOR that took effect on August 5 include a requirement that temporary workers receive wages that are at least equal to “the average rate of pay and average cost of benefits” for employees of the client businesses that do “the same or substantially similar work.” Violations of many of these provisions may result in civil fines and liability for damages to aggrieved temporary workers.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) and the Division of Consumer Affairs are responsible for enforcing the TWBOR. The NJDOL published a notice of proposed regulations in July 2023. No regulations implementing the TWBOR have gone into effect yet.

In May 2023, three trade associations filed suit against the State of New Jersey and several state agencies and officials. They alleged that implementation of the TWBOR would “lead to insurmountable problems, resulting in paralysis within the temporary staffing industry.” The lawsuit asserts seven causes of action based on alleged violations of the Dormant Commerce Clause, Due Process rights based on statutory vagueness and unreasonable exercise of police power, Equal Protection under the federal and New Jersey constitutions, the Privileges and Immunities Clause, and federal and New Jersey civil rights statutes.

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction on July 26, after hearing arguments in June. A party seeking a preliminary injunction in the Third Circuit must establish the following four elements:
1. They have a reasonable chance of prevailing in the litigation.
2. They “will be irreparably injured” without an injunction.
3. An injunction will not cause harm to “other interested persons.”
4. An injunction will not harm the public interest.
The court found that the plaintiffs had demonstrated that the TWBOR would cause them irreparable harm, but not that they were likely to succeed on the merits of the case.

If your employer has violated your rights in New Jersey or New York, you may have rights under federal or state law. A experienced and skilled employment attorney can help you understand your options and advocate for you in a claim for damages. Please contact the Resnick Law Group today at 973-781-1204, 646-867-7997, or online to schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can help you assert your rights.

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