New Jersey Labor and Employment Considerations After the Fall of Roe v. Wade

As a result of landmark case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which is the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe vs. Wade, there are bound to be labor and employment repercussions. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has vowed to stand behind the protections that existed under Roe vs. Wade, stating that he will work to “expand access to reproductive freedom” and plans to work with legislative leaders to “further strengthen access to reproductive care and protecting a women’s right to her own body.” Finding a path forward and legislative agreement may take time and effort, but for now, New Jersey retains abortion access and protections.

Regardless, NJ businesses will still have to deal with some repercussions from this decision:

How are you going to address reactive employees? Employee reactiveness can be a hurdle for employers. There are extensive emotional circumstances to consider and you may have to deal with employees expressing their opinions concerning the recent decision in the workplace. You will need to be careful to allow your employees to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech, while also monitoring whether the employee conduct at issue is appropriate for the workplace. Employees may express themselves in a number of different ways, including:

  • Walkouts or other protests in the workplace
  • Interactions with customers or business partners
  • Wearing clothing in the workplace that contains a reflection of their opinions
  • Social media posts

If your company has an office in a location impacted by the recent decision, how will you handle transfer requests? Employees who are directly affected and no longer want to reside in their state due to this decision may want to transfer to New Jersey, have you considered if you can accommodate these transfer requests?  Will your business help pay a portion of the relocation costs? Will salaries need to be adjusted based on the average cost of living here in New Jersey? Businesses may need to take a look into their employee handbook and make decisions on these issues now, if they want to avoid confusion later. 

Are you going to take a public position on this issue? Everyone has an opinion and many people want to make sure their employer, or the manufacturer of the product they are purchasing, is in alignment with their beliefs. Remember that all new policies and public stances could be in question down the road, so transparency in the decision making process may be needed.

If you have any questions about the topics raised herein or about any other labor relations matter, please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Tobia & Lovelace Esqs., LLC at 973-746-6000 for further information or assistance in decision making on these complex issues.