New Jersey Employers: Don’t Forget to Circulate Your Annual Notices – Not All Notices Can Just Be Posted!
Under state and federal law employers are required to post certain labor related notices in a conspicuous place accessible by all employees and to provide such notices to new hires. However, what not all employers may realize is that there are two notices that, in addition to being posted and provided at the time of hire, need to be distributed to employees on an annual basis. These notices are the Gender Equity Notice and CEPA Notice.
Gender Equity Notice
In September of 2012, the New Jersey Equal Pay Act was amended to require that employers with 50 or more employees provide notice to employees of the right to be free of gender-based discrimination in the workplace. This “Gender Equity Notice” must not only be posted by employers in both English and Spanish and in a place accessible by all employees, but employers must also distribute a copy of the notice to employees annually, as well as at the time of hire and any time an employee requests a copy. The Gender Equity Notice may be distributed to employees via email or hardcopy or made available on a company intranet site that is accessible by all employees. Furthermore, employers must obtain from all employees a signed acknowledgment or electronic verification confirming that the employee has received, reviewed and understood the terms of the Gender Equity Notice.
Conscientious Employee Protection Act Notice
The Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), also known as the “Whistleblower Act,” prohibits an employer from taking any retaliatory action against an employee for engaging in whistleblowing activity. Employers are required to advise employees of their rights and protections under CEPA by conspicuously displaying a “CEPA Notice,” in both English and Spanish, in a place accessible by all employees. In addition, employers with 10 or more employees are also required to distribute a copy of the CEPA Notice to all employees on an annual basis. Unlike the Gender Equity Notice, there is no requirement that employers obtain a signed acknowledgment of an employee’s receipt, review and understanding of the CEPA Notice. Nevertheless, a best practice is to obtain such an acknowledgment in order to document that the employer did in fact distribute the CEPA Notice annually.
To ensure compliance with these laws, employers should include the Gender Equity Notice and CEPA Notice in the employer’s new hire packets and as part of its materials annually circulated to employees, along with appropriate acknowledgment forms to be signed by the employees. Copies of The Gender Equity Notice and CEPA Notice are publically available from the New Jersey Department of Labor’s website.