News & Events

What is a Trip Worth?

Aug 29, 2017 in Publications by

It is a new school year. While you welcome staff, faculty and students back to school, we encourage all of the NJAIS Members to have your policies, procedures and forms reviewed and revised.  The recent Hotchkiss Decision highlights the fact that the way something is written can be an invaluable tool to protect the school from fierce litigation. Please do not hesitate to contact Stefani C Schwartz, Esq. or Jody T. Walker, Esq. We will be happy to review your relevant policies to afford you more protection and answer any questions you may have.  


Best Buy’s Click to Accept vs. Click to Agree Policy

Aug 16, 2017 in Articles by

On August 11, 2017, the Appellate Division reached a decision in the matter Dugan v. Best Buy Co., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2053 (App. Div. August 11, 2017). The case involved the enforceability of an Arbitration Agreement, which required Best Buy employees to pursue employment-related claims in arbitration rather than court.   While the Court found that Best Buy’s arbitration policy satisfactorily alerted employees that they were waiving their right to sue in court, it determined that the plaintiff, a former employee, did not assent to the terms of the agreement when he electronically acknowledged the policy. The Court noted that a party can assent to the terms of a contract by electronically clicking on a website box. However, in this case, the Court determined that the plaintiff’s mouse-click on the acknowledgment box did not manifest his assent to the policy, only that he read and understood the policy. The Court stated that Best Buy could have firmly established the plaintiff’s assent by adding the words “and agree to the terms of the policy” to the acknowledgment box. The Court could not find any evidence that the plaintiff agreed to the terms of the policy, and as a result, the Arbitration Agreement was deemed unenforceable as to the employee. Language The wording of an arbitration clause can make all the difference when it comes to whether the clause will stand up in court if it is challenged as unenforceable. As a matter of practicality, it is important for employers […]


Risky Behaviors are Risky Business for Sexual Harassment Claims

Aug 2, 2017 in Articles by

Sexual Harassment in the workplace is risky business.  Partner Stefani Schwartz and Counsel Jody T. Walker discuss what the guidelines for Sexual Harassment are and how to recognize them.  Many types of behaviors can lead to a sexual harassment suit.  Learn how to identify what risky behaviors will put your company in jeaopardy.  What is Sexual Harassment? Take a quick poll by asking what people would consider Sexual harassment? Ask around the office.  Is it physical? Verbal? Body Language? Sexual Harassment is… Form of discrimination based on sex.​  This applies to male, female, transgender, etc. Unwelcome sexual advances.​  No one likes to be groped Requests for sexual favors.​  There is absolutely no place where this is acceptable. Other verbal or physical conduct which unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an abusive work environment.  Remember, if it feels wrong, then it probably is. Two basic types of sexual harassment Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment​.  Otherwise known as “This for That” or “Put Out or Get Out.”​ Can be committed only by someone who can effectively take formal actions that will adversely affect the victim. (i.e., firing, demotion, denial of promotion).  For example, supervisors, managers, officers, etc. Hostile Work Environment​ The creation of an abusive work environment or interference with the employee’s work performance through words or deeds because of the victim’s gender.  This can be described as the workplace not being “welcoming”. Unlike a quid pro quo, a hostile environment can result from the gender-based unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers or anyone […]


Labor and Employment Law for Finance Officers: What You Need to Know

Jul 24, 2017 in Articles by

Labor Law is a topic that Human Resources and in-house counsel deal with on a regular basis.  Partner Stefani Schwartz, Esq. and Associate Amanda Barisich, Esq. open the Employment Law and Labor Law discussion for Finance Officers in the first of this summer long series. The workplace today is different.  Employment law has drastically evolved over the decades.  Now more than ever employers and employees must be aware of their conduct and their surroundings. What may have been “acceptable” then can easily be grounds for a lawsuit today. Where do we Even Begin? Understand that the law is constantly changing and evolving. The courts are always interpreting the law in new ways as it fits into our ever evolving society.  No matter how much we may question or disagree, these are the laws we have to abide by. Educate yourselves and your staff. Be up to date regarding workplace issues. Educate your employees. Setup proper training and procedures for educating new employees. Empower your employees to protect the company. Give your employees the right tools to do the job you require of them. When in doubt, always ask for clarification. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Always best to err on the side of caution when in doubt. It All Starts With You As Finance Officers, you are leaders and must train Managers and Supervisors to be good role models. You are held to the same standards as the employees you oversee Sometimes even a Higher Standard […]


Schwartz Aids New Jersey Board of Education with a Victory in Appellate Court

Jul 10, 2017 in News by

Partner Stefani C Schwartz was victorious as she secured a win for a New Jersey Board of Education from the Appellate Division. In the Honorable Darrell M. Fineman’s Opinion, affirmed by the Appellate Division this month, he found that the School District could not be held responsible for Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying, the New Jersey Law against Discrimination and reckless endangerment of its students


NJ Senate Helping to Bridge the Gender Pay Gap

Jun 28, 2017 in News by

New Jersey is one step closer to enacting a new law that will limit the information employers can request and disclose about a worker’s salary history.  On June 26, 2017, the New Jersey Senate gave its final legislative approval to Bill 3480 –  a bill that is intended to promote equal pay for women.  The bill will limit the amount of information employers can request and disclose about a worker’s salary history, and is designed to bridge the gender pay gap between men and women. Currently, New Jersey is one of more than 20 states that are considering such legislation.  Cities and states like New York City, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia have already passed similar laws. The Key Terms Of The Bill The New Jersey bill seeks to promote equal pay for women by prohibiting any employer, or employer’s agent, representative, or designee from: asking about or requiring, in writing or otherwise, a current or prospective employee to provide their salary history which includes, but is not limited to, compensation and benefits; or releasing the salary history of any current or former employee without written authorization from the current or former employee; or relying on the job applicant’s salary history at any stage in the hiring process, including finalizing the employment contract; or taking reprisals against any employee for disclosing to any other employee or former employee of the employer information regarding the job title, occupational category, rate of compensation, the gender, race, ethnicity, military status, or national origin of the […]


Achieve NJ: Components and Changes in Teacher Observations, Student Growth Objectives (SGO) and Corrective Action Plans

Jun 26, 2017 in Articles by

Partner Andrew B. Brown, Esq. has spent his entire legal career working for School Boards in New Jersey.  In this article he shares some guidance on complying with  Achieve NJ. ACHIEVE NJ  Components of New Teacher Evaluations Teacher Practice + (based on classroom   observations)   All Teachers & Principals Student Growth Objective (set by teacher and principal)   All Teachers & Principals Student Growth = Percentile (now based on PARCC)   (Less than 20% of teachers) Summative Rating (overall evaluation score) For tested grades and subjects, which include grades 4th through 8th, LAL and Math*: Teacher Practice accounts for 55% of the Evaluation, SGOs account for 15% of the Evaluation, and SGPs account for 30% of the Evaluation. For non-tested grades and subjects*: Teacher Practice accounts for 85% of the Evaluation, and SGOs account for 15% of the Evaluation.  *These Evaluation Weights are for the 2016-2017 school year Teacher Observations Old procedure v. changes under TEACH NJ Before TEACH NJ, a “long” observation was conducted for a minimum of forty (40) minutes, while a short observation was conducted for a minimum of twenty (20) minutes. This is being changed. There will only be observations for a minimum of twenty minutes. If a non-tenured teacher is present for less than 40 percent of the total student school days in a school year, he or she shall receive at least two (2) observations to earn a teacher practice score. Multiple observers are required when observing non-tenured staff and recommended when observing tenured staff. All […]


New Jersey Family Leave as It Applies to NJ Public School Employees

Jun 19, 2017 in Articles by

Partner Andrew Brown, Esq. rounds out his multi-part series on seniority, tenure, and leaves of absence.  In this section, he discusses the Board’s obligations as well as the interplay between FMLA and FLA.  Next Week we will be working on Teacher Evaluations. NEW JERSEY FAMILY LEAVE ACT (NJFLA) Entitlements: NJFLA leave is not intended for the employee’s own disability. Rather, it provides that an employee is entitled up to twelve (12) weeks of leave in a twenty-four (24) month period, in order to care for a seriously ill family member or to care for a newborn and/or newly adopted child. N.J.S.A. 34:11B-4. Qualification: “Employee” means a person who is employed for at least 12 months by an employer, with respect to whom benefits are sought under this Act, for not less than 1,000 base hours during the immediately preceding 12-month period. N.J.S.A. 34:11B-3. “Serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition which requires (1) inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility; or (2) continuing medical treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider. N.J.S.A. 34:11B-3. Interplay Between FMLA and NJFLA  Consecutive Leave v. Concurrent Leave: If the basis for the leave is covered by both statutes, then the leaves run concurrently Maternity leaves: Once FMLA converts from the employee’s own disability, and becomes caring for the child, the remaining FMLA time runs concurrent with the start of the NJFLA period. 30 days before and 30 days after birth, the mother […]


SELG&C Welcomes Pam Kapsimalis, Esq. as Corporate Law Partner

Jun 8, 2017 in News by

Please join SELG&C in welcoming new Partner Pamela M. Kapsimalis, Esq. to the firm. Pam is a highly experienced corporate attorney for local and global companies. Kapsimalis, has joined SELG&C to help expand the corporate law department, handles all types of corporate and business matters, including sale and lease transactions, structuring and restructuring of businesses, commercial real estate matters, and franchise and financing transactions. commercial, contract, construction, financing, leasing/storage, regulatory, employment and compliance matters. Most recently, she was corporate counsel for Preferred Freezer Services, LLC., of Chatham, a privately held international cold storage and shipping company with 35 facilities and 2,000 employees. In that role, she established the first in-house position to advise the company on many aspects of warehouse, contract, corporate and commercial real estate matters. Throughout her years of experience as both in-house and outside counsel, Kapsimalis counselled a wide variety of clients, ranging from start-up ventures to large public companies. Her clients span a range of industries, from financial services, health care, wellness, product development to  retail. Kapsimalis also serves as a business adviser for her clients, advising them on growth strategies, cyber security and the pros and cons of policies and practices. Her clients span a range of industries, from financial services to health care to retail. In addition, she assists women-owned businesses, from start-ups to franchise agreements. “With her breadth of knowledge and experience, Pamela is an excellent addition to our firm. She knows first-hand, from the inside, the type of legal guidance companies seek […]




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