News & Events

Leaves of Absence for NJ Public School District Employees

May 8, 2017 in Articles by

Public Employees, including School district employees or Board of Education Personnel have guidelines for employees taking leaves of absence.  In this segment, Partner Andrew Brown discuss what a Leave actually is.  He also discusses what the Federal Provision is for Military Leaves.   Next week he will discuss FMLA. LEAVES OF ABSENCE (LOA) What is Leave Generally? N.J.S.A. 18A:30-1 entitles an employee to a minimum of ten (10) sick days per year for use due to his own disability. N.J.S.A. 18A:30-4 permits a Board of Education to require receipt of a doctor’s note in order for an employee to obtain sick leave. N.J.S.A. 18A:30-6 allows a Board of Education to grant extended sick leave to employees who have drained their available leave balances, less the cost of a substitute. N.J.S.A. 18A:6-8.1 and 8.2 also allow certain employees to take leave to serve in the New Jersey Legislature (leave is taken with pay) or on a Board of Chosen Freeholders (leave is taken without pay). Military Leave and its Federal Entitlements The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. §4301, et seq. Pursuant to guidance offered by the Office of the NJ Attorney General, USERRA: Applies to all employers, regardless of size. Covers the employer’s obligation to release an employee for military duty, reemployment requirements upon an employee’s return from military duty or training and prohibits discrimination in initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion or other benefits based on membership or application for membership, service or membership for service […]

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Partner Stephen Edelstein Files Legal Action to Allow Singh to Participate in NJ Gubernatorial Debates

May 5, 2017 in News by

Hirsh Singh, a little-known Republican candidate for New Jersey governor, is suing the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission, arguing that he deserves a spot in a pair of televised GOP primary debates next month even though he missed a key filing deadline. Singh, a 32-year-old aerospace engineer from Atlantic County who has never run for public office, claims he has raised more than $900,000 in the race, according to a legal brief filed Wednesday in state Superior Court in Trenton. That is more than double the amount hopefuls are required to have in their campaign coffers to participate in the debates, sponsored by ELEC, the state’s election watchdog agency. There was no way to verify Singh’s total Wednesday. Candidates who raised more than $430,000 by April 3 qualified for the state’s matching funds program — in which gubernatorial candidates receive $2 in public money for every $1 they raise. They are then required to participate in the debates. Contenders who do not take matching funds may take part in the debates if they show they have at least $430,000 in campaign cash, either through self-funding or fundraising. The deadline to file that paperwork was April 3, as well. Singh admits he missed that deadline. But in the legal brief, Stephen Edelstein, Singh’s attorney, called that an “innocent mistake of a first-time candidate.” The dates for the N.J. governor primary debates The state released the schedule for the four primary debates in this year’s race to succeed Gov. Chris Christie. Edelstein […]

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Tenure Charges & Seniority in New Jersey Public Schools

Apr 20, 2017 in Articles by

Partner Andrew Brown, Esq. continues in his series on seniority, tenure, and leaves of absence in New Jersey public schools.  Looking for more information?  Contact Andy. Neglect, Misbehavior, or Other Offense: Examples  Secretaries: I/M/O Tenure Charges of Charai Bowman, (S. Wood-Osborn, May 23, 2016): Tenured secretary was charged with conduct unbecoming, neglect of duty, and other just cause for her excessive tardiness, accepting a part-time teaching position with Trenton schools while still retaining her secretary job, and continuously failing to perform her secretarial duties. The Arbitrator upheld the charges and she was dismissed from her Secretarial position in the Trenton School District. Custodians I/M/O Tenure Charges of Marvin Davis (A. Symonette, May 15, 2014): Respondent tenured custodian charged with conduct unbecoming of a staff member by engaging in inappropriate physical contact with students, particularly touching and pulling the hair of several female elementary school students. The Arbitrator upheld the charges and Respondent was dismissed from the Asbury Park School District. PRACTICAL POINTS Make sure that you document everything, including preparing memoranda of verbal warnings and actions. Pay attention to details and be careful in preparing documents. Make sure that the descriptions correspond to the grades that are given to the employee. Follow the procedures. Meet every deadline. Use multiple observers, particularly if a grievance or charges have been filed against an administrator. Avoid comments or discussions that could raise possible political, discrimination or union activity claims. IMPORTANT STEPS FOR FILING TENURE CHARGES BE CLEAR IN YOUR EVALUATIONS. PROVIDE SPECIFIC COMMENTS, […]

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Seniority and Tenure in New Jersey Public Schools

Apr 11, 2017 in Articles by

  Partner Andrew Brown, Esq. is known throughout New Jersey for his knowledge and expertise in Education Law.  In the second of this multi part series, Andy bullet points Seniority and Tenure details for both teaching and non-teaching staff.  The New Jersey Association of School Business Officials recently took advantage of Andy’s expertise by asking him to present this topic to its members.  To view the full presentation, please contact Mr. Brown directly or Michele D. Roemer, Assistant Executive Director of the NJASBO. Calculating Seniority The number of academic or calendar years (or fractions thereof) in a specific district, in specific categories of employment. N.J.A.C. 6A:32-5.1. If a teacher moves to a different category, all employment is credited to the amount of seniority in all relevant categories. N.J.A.C. 6A:32-5.1(b)(h). If a teacher is employed simultaneously in two or more categories or under two or more endorsements, their seniority is counted in all subject area endorsements and categories. N.J.A.C. 6A:32-5.1(f). Leaves of absence may count towards seniority. N.J.A.C. 6A:32-5.1(b): Unpaid absences not exceeding 30 days aggregate in one academic or calendar year. Leaves of absence at full or partial pay. Unpaid absences granted for research. Military service Calculating Seniority: Custodians, Secretaries, and Other Support Staff Custodians: N.J.S.A. 18A:17-4 specifically requires that in the event of a RIF, a Board must dismiss and rehire tenured custodians in order of seniority. Secretaries: Secretaries are not afforded statutory seniority rights; however, many Districts provide seniority rights to secretaries through their CBAs. Districts may also grant seniority rights to otherwise […]

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Nathanya Simon Named to Top 50 Women Lawyers in New Jersey by Super Lawyers

Apr 6, 2017 in Uncategorized by

Schwartz Simon Edelstein & Celso is pleased to announce that Partner Nathanya G. Simon, Esq. has been selected as one of New Jersey’s Top 50 Women Lawyers in addition to her selection as a 2017 New Jersey Super Lawyer.  Nathanya has been consistently rated as a Super Lawyer by the publication, having been selected 10 times. This is, however, the first time she has made this prestigious list.   Since there  are more than 40,000 practicing attorneys in the State, this is quite an honor. This recognition is well earned. Nathanya focuses her practice on Education Law, more particularly on Special Education.  Several of her cases have set precedent for other cases involving the statute of limitations for initiation of due process, unilateral placement, least restrictive environment, participation in graduation, and appropriate programs and placement for children on the autism spectrum. Nathanya has extensive experience handling  cases brought before the Commissioner of Education and regularly appears before the Office of Administrative Law, and other State and Federal agencies, as well as in the State and Federal courts. She is admitted at all levels of the courts up to the New Jersey Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation […]

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Tenure and RIF in New Jersey Schools

Apr 4, 2017 in Articles by

Partner Andrew Brown, Esq. head of the Education Department discusses tenure and RIF’s in Public School Districts in New Jersey. Mr. Brown is a frequent presenter on these topics for the NJSBA, the NJASBO and the NJASA. Each week this month he will provide insight into different areas of employment law for districts in New Jersey. For more information or to see how Andy can help your district please contact him.

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New Jersey Employment Law Updates, Whistleblower and Social Media

Mar 27, 2017 in Articles by

Partner Stefani Schwartz completes her updates on New Jersey Employment Law in the final section of this four part series.  For additional information on Whistleblower and Social Media policies and procedures, please contact Ms. Schwartz. Whistleblower Litigation  New Jersey Employers should be aware of potential changes to whistleblower litigation. Assembly Chairman John McKeon introduced a bill, which would bar public entities and public employees from entering into confidential settlements of whistleblower lawsuits. This bill would mandate that such settlements would constitute public records.  This bill was introduced after  the state settled a whistleblower lawsuit for $1.5 million dollars. A former Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor claimed that he was fired for alleging that Governor Christie’s administration “dismissed an indictment because it involved supporters of the Governor.” McKeon stated “It’s disturbing that someone who uses the whistleblower law to truthfully speak out against wrongdoing can be stifled when the matter is resolved.” Social Media and Employment Law Social media has greatly changed the workplace and has given employers “unprecedented access to their employees’ off-duty activities.”  Some employers screen employees through social media platforms. Social media is also a concern to employers because it has created opportunities for employees to harm a company’s image and to disclose confidential information. Employers should be aware of the limits that the law places on an employer’s ability to monitor employees. In New Jersey, employers cannot require prospective or current employees to disclose their social media information such as their username, password, or other login information for any of […]

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