Bipartisan legislation targeting illegal labor practices, sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho and Senator Troy Singleton, cleared the Senate Labor Committee.
“Everybody pays a price when bad actors violate ethical labor practices,” said Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren and Morris). “Not only do employees suffer, the effects of illegal labor actions take a toll on the economy and harms law-abiding employers and taxpayers. The state needs better enforcement of labor laws to crack down on businesses that blatantly disregard rules and mistreat workers.”
The legislation would establish the Office of Labor Law Enforcement in the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development to coordinate enforcement of the provisions of labor laws.
“The creation of the Office of Labor Law Enforcement will provide a streamlined, coordinated effort in the enforcement of New Jersey’s labor laws, improving workers’ rights throughout the state,” said Senator Singleton. “This will ultimately help to ensure that our workers are protected, and offenders are held accountable.”
The bill directs the attorney general to assign at least one deputy attorney general to represent the labor department in proceedings regarding labor law violations. All fines and penalties collected would be applied to the costs of administering and enforcing the laws, including expenses on the enforcement office.
“Businesses who play by the book struggle to compete with shady employers who skirt the rules,” Oroho added. “Unscrupulous companies illegally underpay employees, evade taxes, and skirt health insurance and social security costs. Stronger oversight will help stop abusive labor practices and improve the quality of life for many hardworking New Jerseyans.”
The Assembly bill companion, A-184, is sponsored by Assemblyman Hal Wirths, former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor.