New Jersey officials announced this summer that the state would begin enhanced enforcement of employment law violations.
Starting September 2023, the state began listing violating employers on what it calls The WALL — the Workplace Accountability in Labor List.
New Jersey began sending warning letters to employers with outstanding liabilities in August 2023. Employers with unaddressed violations — related to a wide variety of the state’s employment laws — are added to The WALL and barred from public contracting opportunities.
Employment Law Compliance. Simplified.
New Jersey Employment Law Enforcement
Any business added to The WALL is prohibited from public contracting with state, county, or local governments. Procurement officers at all levels of government will be able to cross-reference the list before awarding public contracts.
Employers must pay their liabilities in full to be removed from the list.
“The WALL is the first major initiative of our new Office of Strategic Enforcement and Compliance,” Peter Basso, the group’s director, said in a statement. “This resource is just one part of our coordinated cross-division, cross-state agency strategic enforcement efforts to ensure employers are adhering to New Jersey’s state, benefit, and tax laws.”
Notably, state officials say The WALL is separate from — and could be in addition to — other accountability measures, including public contractor debarment, and business license suspension or revocation.
Some of the laws covered by the initiative include the New Jersey:
- Wage Payment Law
- Prevailing Wage Act
- Wage and Hour Law
- Workers’ Compensation Law
- Unemployment Compensation Law
- Temporary Disability Benefits Law
- Family Temporary Disability Leave Act
- Gross Income Tax Act
- Earned Sick Leave Law
Related Employment Law News Posts:
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Department of Labor considers nine factors before deciding to place a business on the list:
- Record of previous violations
- Previous placement on The WALL
- Frequency of violations by the business discovered in previous or pending cases
- Significance or scale of the violations
- Failure to pay
- Failure to cooperate or respond to a request to produce records, forms, documents, or proof of payments
- Submission of falsified or altered records, forms, documents, or proof of payment
- Failure to provide goods or services
- Failure to comply with contract specifications
“Public contracting is a privilege — not a right. And, complying with state wage and hour and tax laws and providing benefits such as paid time off and overtime, are not optional,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “We intend to use every legal means to protect workers and level the playing field for employers who follow the law — and, thanks to Gov. Murphy and the Legislature — that now includes naming and shaming bad actors.”
As of this writing, there are about 40 businesses listed. The information includes specific violations as well as the total liability owed.
Learn more about The WALL, including FAQs, on the state department of labor’s website.
Related: New Jersey WARN Act Amendments
Employment Law Compliance Management
The flurry of new employment laws in recent years has created additional government scrutiny of employers, as is the case with the enhanced New Jersey employment law enforcement.
In addition to negative headlines, potential litigation and reduced internal morale, noncompliance can set up companies for additional penalties, such as potentially losing out on government contracts or license revocation.
Plus, there has also been a rise in class-action lawsuits in employment law in recent years, and lawmakers and government officials have been aggressive in investigating employers suspected of violations.
At the same time, lawmakers continue to pass more employee-friendly legislation, with the Colorado POWR Act as a good recent example. More than ever, employers that operate in jurisdictions across the U.S. must keep tabs on the latest laws impacting their business.
Employment Law Compliance Resources
Employers with locations in the Garden State should ensure they are adhering to state employment laws in light of the new enforcement measure.
For more information, visit the New Jersey website.