95% of MEL members have adopted the MEL’s model employment practices risk control program and are eligible for premium and deductible incentives. These programs must be updated every two years to remain eligible.

Members with updated loss control programs receive the standard EPL deductible of $20,000 per claim plus a 20% co-pay capped at $50,000 and may be eligible to buy down deductibles and co-insurance caps (see note below concerning members with adverse EPL claims experience). To qualify for the incentive, have your General Counsel or Employment Attorney complete this form checking the minimum requirements for updating the plan. It is not necessary to attach any further documentation. Mail the completed form to MEL Fund Office, 9 Campus Drive, Suite 216, Parsippany, NJ 07054.

Members that did not qualify for the 2015–2016 incentive must adopt the EPL loss control plan and submit to the MEL for review. Have your General Counsel or Employment Attorney complete this form checking the minimum requirements for the plan. The following must be attached to this form: (1) the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual, (2) the resolution adopting this manual, and (3) the Employee Handbook. Mail the completed form and attachments to the MEL Fund Office, 9 Campus Drive, Suite 216, Parsippany, New Jersey 07054.

Members submitting the required form by October 1, 2016 will qualify for the deductible incentives effective January 1, 2017. Members submitting this form after the deadline will become eligible for the deductible incentive upon approval of the application, but not retroactively.

Members without updated loss control programs will have a deductible of $100,000 per claim plus a 20% co-pay with no cap. (See note below concerning members with adverse EPL claims experience).

Members with adverse EPL claims experience

Members with adverse loss experience will have a deductible of $75,000 if they have an updated loss control plan and $150,000 if they do not – in addition to the co-pay provisions as outlined above. In a few cases, the insurance carrier will establish higher deductibles for members on probation because of exceptionally adverse experience.

Public Official’s Training Credit

The MEL is continuing the public officials training throughout the state for elected public officials and authority commissioners. Sessions have been scheduled at the League Convention and the AEA Convention in Atlantic City. Click here for a notice and registration form. The MEL will reduce each member’s 2017 workers’ compensation premium by $250 for each municipal elected official and authority commissioner who completes the course by May 1, 2017. The credit is also extended to the member’s CEO (i.e. municipal manager/administrator or authority executive director). The maximum credit is 25% of the member’s workers’ compensation claims fund. An updated schedule will be posted here as additional sessions are scheduled.

Videos

Public Officials and Employment Practices Liability (21 minutes)
Rights and Duties of a Volunteer in Local Government

Required Elements for the Incentive

Employment Attorney/Advisor | An Employment Attorney or an Employment Advisor usually provides advice concerning personnel matters. However, the local unit may designate its General Counsel if experienced in employment matters.

Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual | To facilitate this process, the MEL has developed a Model Personnel Policies and Procedure Manual that members are free to use at their discretion. Members can adopt the model, take sections from the model and place them in their existing personnel manual, or write their own policies that cover the subjects in the model.

Conscientious Employee Protection Act Notice | This notice (in both English and Spanish) must be posted on the bulletin board and distributed to all personnel. The notice required by the NJ Department of Labor is included in the Model Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.

Employee Handbook | The handbook must be updated and distributed to all personnel. To facilitate this process, the MEL has developed a Model Employee handbook that members are free to use at their discretion.

Model Local Unit Civil Rights Resolution (municipalities only) | Adopt the model resolution.

Managerial and Supervisory Training | Court decisions made personnel training for managerial and supervisory “mandatory.” A signed acknowledgement that the manager or supervisor has completed training within the last 12 months must be placed in the personnel files. Training is also mandatory for the Municipal Judge, the heads of volunteer emergency service organizations such as Volunteer Fire Departments, EMS units, and the heads of organizations such as Library Boards and Planning Boards, etc., that are involved in personnel matters. The MEL has developed a Model that the local JIFs will conduct over the next 6 months. Your JIF will contact you with the details. The PowerPoint is listed below.

Police Chief, Captains and Lieutenants Training | Because Police Departments are involved in a high percentage of employment-related litigation, Police Chiefs and at least one other command officer must complete employment practices training that takes into consideration the Attorney General’s guidelines for police operations.

Sessions currently scheduled
The schedule will be updated as additional sessions are confirmed

Training for All Other Personnel | Court decisions also require employers to offer anti-harassment and related personnel training to all employees. This can be accomplished by requiring your employees to complete the 14-minute online Employee Orientation found in the MSI.

Instructions on how to access this program online

MEL EPL Helpline | The MEL includes a helpline to its members at no additional cost. Members are required to enroll (if you have not already done so) by calling 415-817-1611 or emailing bhansen@enquiron.com.

For assistance, please contact the MEL office or the office of your local JIF.

Decisions

Lehmann v. Toys R Us (1993) | Employer liable for sexual harrassment committed by a supervisor because of the lack of an effective anti-harrassment program.

Mancini v. Teaneck (2002) | Sexual harassment suits subject to the continuous trigger rule.

Hernandez v. Montville BOE (2002) | The trial judge should be very cautious about the overturning the jury’s verdict in CEPA cases.

Gaines v. Bellino (2002) | An employer is responsible for sexual haressment unless there is an effective anti-harassment progam in place.

Nardello v. Voorhees (2005) | Even minor incidents must be considered when determining if there is a pattern of retaliation in a CEPA case.

Maimone v. Atlantic City (2006) | Involuntary transfer out of the detective bureau can be considered as retaliation.

Cutler v. Dorn (2008) | Jokes based on an employee’s religion create a hostile work environment actionable under LAD even if the employee didn’t complain at the time.

Groslinger v. Wyckoff (2009) | Summary judgment affirmed because of the Township’s prompt and consistent enforcement of its personnel policies.

Valentino v. Woodcliff Lake (2011) | Summary judgement affirmed because the employer’s actions were not of the type that would compel a reasonable employee to resign.

Winters v. North Hudson Regional Fire (2012) | Employees who lose with civil service cannot also sue under CEPA.

Farneski v. Hunterdon County (2013) | In a CEPA case, the Court must examine each discrete act to determine whether that act is time barred.

Vaticano v. Edison (2013) | Employees must show competent evidence connecting political activity and an adverse employment action to claim political retaliation.

Hahn v. Edison (2013) | In CEPA cases, employees must establish that the offensive activity poses a threat of public harm, not merely private harm only to the aggrieved employee.

Buonanno v. Elmwood Park (2014) | The elimination of the plaintiff’s position was improper because a council member who had a conflict of interest failed to recuse from the deliberations and vote.

Dunkley v. Coraluzza Petroleum (2014) | Summary judgement affirmed because employer had an anti-harrassment program that met the standard in Lehmann and employer acted promptly when the plaintiff reported harrassment.

Kownacki v. Saddle Brook BOE(2014) | In a CEPA case, the statute of limitations tolls after one year from the last alleged event that could be actionable under CEPA.

Urbanski v. Edison (2014) | Filing a CEPA case bars filing a LAD case for the same incidents.

Aguas v. New Jersey (2015) | The employer may assert as an affirmative defense that it “exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior,” and “the plaintiff employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided,” provided that the employer has not taken an adverse tangible employment action against the plaintiff employee.