On March 18, Gov. Murphy signed S-121 into law, which provides for sweeping changes and new requirements to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).

Specifically, S-121 addresses employer contracts and settlement agreements where there are issues of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.  The law took effect as soon as the governor signed it, and will apply to all contracts and settlement agreements in the future.

Importantly, provisions in future employment contracts that waive substantive or procedural rights or remedies relating to discrimination, retaliation, or harassment will be against the law.

Additionally, future non-disclosure clauses in employment contracts and settlement agreements concerning allegations of workplace discrimination, retaliation or harassment will be unenforceable against former and current employers.

It is important to note that these new provisions do not apply to collective bargaining agreements between employers and collective bargaining representatives.

A form of the following language must now be prominently placed in bold type for all settlement agreements resolving these types of claims:

“Although parties may have agreed to keep the settlement and underlying facts confidential, such a provision in an agreement is unenforceable against the employer if the employee publically reveals sufficient details of the claim so that the employer is reasonably identifiable.”

The law sets forth that challenges to an employers’ actions under this action are to be filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey and provides a two-year statute of limitations on such challenges.

Districts should review in detail all employee contract and settlement agreement language with their board attorney to insure compliance with this new law.  Questions about this law can also be referred to the NJSBA Department of Legal and Labor Relations at (609) 278-5254.