New Jersey Supreme Court Set to Rule on Definition of “Independent Contractor”

November 7, 2014Articles Legal Opinion Letter

The New Jersey Supreme Court will soon issue a ruling in a critical wage-and-hour employment law case, Hargrove v Sleepy’s, LLC, Dkt. No. 072-742 (“Sleepy’s”). In Sleepy’s, on which the Court heard oral argument on March 17, 2014, the Supreme Court is expected to resolve the issue of when an individual may be properly classified as an independent contractor under the New Jersey Wage Payment Act and the New Jersey Minimum Wage Act. The Court took this case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit certified the question to the Court in August 2013. The Third Circuit recognized that the “determination of whether individuals are employees or independent contractors for purposes of New Jersey law may well have a significant impact on the tax revenue collected by the State of New Jersey.” Accordingly, it certified to the Court the following questions of law: “Under New Jersey law, which test should a court apply to determine a plaintiff’s employment status for purposes of the New Jersey Wage Payment Law, N.J.S.A.§ 34:11, et seq., and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law, N.J.S.A.§ 34:11-56a, et seq.?

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