Green Savits had a very productive and exciting 2018 to protect employee rights.
Partner Jon Green and counsel Laura LoGiudice teamed up for two successful jury verdicts. First, on May 2, a Newark, N.J. federal jury found that our client, a retired female police sergeant, was wrongfully denied promotion from Sergeant to Lieutenant by her employer, the City of Jersey City. The jury found that she was illegally retaliated against because she exercised her First Amendment and New Jersey Law Against Discrimination rights to object to sexual harassment on the job The jury awarded her $276,000 in past wages and past and future pension benefits. Additionally, eight other police sergeants also were found to have been illegally denied promotion because of what happened to our client and they were awarded a collective total of $1.8 million dollars in lost wages and pension benefits. Currently pending is her and her co-plaintiff’s application for a tax gross up award for that verdict amount and an application for attorney’s fees.
The second verdict came on October 5, where a Newark, N.J. state court jury found that our client was illegally fired because he objected to certain business practices that he reasonably believed violated New Jersey environmental regulations and New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. The jury awarded our client $298,000 in back pay and $298,000 in punitive damages. The case was settled quickly thereafter for an amount that cannot be disclosed but also included payment for attorney’s fees.
Jon and Laura also teamed up for a victory on behalf of employees in the New Jersey Supreme Court in January 2018 in the decision, Noren v. Heartland Payment Systems, Inc., 2018 N.J. LEXIS 7 (Jan. 12, 2018). In this case, our firm represented as amicus curiae the New Jersey chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association. The New Jersey Supreme Court adopted in totality the argument made to the Court in our amicus brief.
Jon spoke at two different New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education seminars: in June 2018, he spoke about the viability of bringing a lawsuit against a publicly traded employers based on their employment manual that promises there will be no retaliation against an employee who objects to an employer’s practice that the employee reasonably believes violates the law. The second seminar in November 2018 discussed the merits of banning non-disclosure agreements pertaining to discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims in employment and settlement agreements. In that vein, Jon also was on a New Jersey State Bar task force that proposed legislation to the New Jersey Legislature in June 2018 dealing with that very subject matter.
Finally, Jon was recruited by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) to become an arbitrator in employment law. After taking the requisite exam and two-day seminar in Miami in November, he is now a AAA panel member in employment law.
Partner Glen Savits as co-counsel settled and secured final court approval for two class action lawsuits. The first settled in August on behalf of restaurant servers and bartenders where the restaurant violated the tip-credit provisions of the FLSA. The second settled in September on behalf of workers who claimed that their employer retroactively changed performance standards in order to deny them a bonus. He also settled litigation involving discrimination against Spanish-speaking employees.
As Administrative Co-Chair of the Employee Rights and the ABA’s Responsibilities Committee, Glen helped organize the Committees Annual Midwinter Meeting held in Clearwater, Florida in March 2018.
Additionally, Glen presented talks at the NELA/NJ Annual Conference on the use of e-discovery in October 2018 and at an New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education Employment Law Round Table in December 2018 where he discussed the just enacted New Jersey Equal Pay Act which took effect as part of the New Jersey law Against Discrimination in July of 2018. Glen also taught a class at the Middlesex County College on Employment Law for continuing education students.
In August, Glen was elected to serve a second stint as a member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association.
Counsel Laura LoGiudice scored a major victory for a client where she convinced a New Jersey state court judge to enforce a settlement that the employer refused to honor even after extensive negotiations had taken place via phone calls and emails. She also defeated employer motions to dismiss incases involving claims of age, gender, disability and discrimination claims and a case involving whistleblower claims. She settled pre-lawsuit cases involving disability discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and failure to reasonably accommodate while she and Glen Savits settled litigation involving a claim of the employer’s failure to pay overtime.
Laura also spoke at New Jersey Institute for Continuing Education’s Employment Law Roundtable seminar on Ethics in Retainer Agreements about Ethics in Retainer Agreements and gave a presentation at the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting on the Legal and Ethical Obligations to Keep in Mind When Engaging in a Dual Business, including a discussion concerning the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law. She also authored an article for the quarterly report of the New Jersey State Bar Associations Labor & Employment Law Section that described what an employees must do to preserve their rights if they are harassment victims, are seeking leave under the Federal Medical Leave Act and/or seeking reasonable accommodations in the workplace if they have physical disabilities.
Our firm is proud of our efforts to vindicate the rights of employees and we look forward to continuing doing so in 2019.