New Jersey employment laws safeguard a wide range of rights for employees, including the right to a minimum wage and overtime compensation, a workplace free from unlawful discrimination, and the ability to organize and negotiate collectively for better working conditions. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is a federal law that protects employees’ rights to self-organization and collective bargaining. It prohibits both employers and unions for coercing employees or interfering with their lawful activities. If an employer has allegedly violated its employees’ rights under the statute, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has the authority to seek a temporary injunction blocking the employer’s alleged actions. A federal district court in New Jersey granted this type of injunction to the NLRB in late 2022.
The NLRA broadly protects workers’ rights to form or join unions. It prohibits a variety of unfair labor practices by both employers and unions. Employers violate the statute if they interfere with lawful employee actions or discriminate against employees because of organizing activity. The statute also imposes affirmative duties on employers. Once employees have chosen a union to represent them in contract negotiations, § 8(a)(5) of the NLRA makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer to refuse to negotiate with an authorized union representative.
The General Counsel (GC) of the NLRB can bring an administrative action against an employer or union for alleged NLRA violations. If the GC and the employer cannot reach a settlement, an administrative law judge (ALJ) will hear the case and render a decision. The members of the Board may hear appeals of ALJ decisions. From there, it may be possible to appeal a decision in the federal court system. One provision of the NLRA, however, allows the NLRB to seek relief from a federal court while a case is pending.
Section 10(j) of the NLRA allows the NLRB to request temporary injunctions against employers or unions. If a court grants an injunction, it will remain in place as long as the matter is pending before an ALJ or the Board, or until the court revokes or modifies it. The purpose of a § 10(j) injunction is to give workers temporary relief from unfair labor practices while the system processes their claims.
In October 2022, a New Jersey federal court granted the NLRB’s request for a § 10(j) injunction against a Newark-based building demolition contractor. The NLRB alleged numerous unfair labor practices, such as threats to fire employees or reduce their pay because of their support for unionization, surveillance of employees engaged in union activities, and multiple examples of retaliation related to the union. The judge found reasonable cause to believe the employer had violated and continued to violate the NLRA.
The injunction bars the employer from threats, surveillance, and other acts intended to discourage or punish union activities. It directs the employer to recognize the union “as the exclusive collective bargaining agent of its bargaining unit employees” and, upon the union’s request, to “engage in good faith bargaining with the Union over the terms and conditions of employment of its bargaining unit employees.”
Workers who are involved in disputes with New Jersey and New York employers need skilled and experienced legal advocates on their side. The employment attorneys at the Resnick Law Group are available to answer your questions, advise you of your options, and fight for your rights both in and out of the courtroom. To schedule a confidential consultation, please contact us today online, at 973-781-1204, or at 646-867-7997.