Jersey City Adopts Wage Theft Prevention Ordinance


The City of Jersey City recently enacted an ordinance designed to impose stricter penalties on businesses that engage in wage theft. The wage theft prevention ordinance allows the city to deny or suspend an employer’s Jersey City-issued business license if the employer is found liable of violating a wage and hour law and fails to cure the violation.

The ordinance defines “wage theft” as “having been found guilty, liable or responsible in any judicial or administrative proceeding for unpaid wages” in violation of any federal, state, or Jersey City law related to the payment of wages or the collection of debt owed due to unpaid wages.

If an employer is found guilty of wage theft and has not cured the violation by complying with the judicial, governmental, or administrative entity’s order or decision within 90 days, then Jersey City will not issue or renew the company’s municipal-issued business license.  When a company is submitting its initial or renewal application for a business license, it must certify under penalty of perjury whether it has been found guilty or liable of wage theft during the prior 24 months and the details of the violation and disposition of the proceedings.  Any false statement may result in the city denying the application or revoking any previously issued license.

If at any time the city department or division responsible for issuing a license is made aware of an employer refusing to cure a wage and hour violation, it will request the company provide documentation of its having cured the violation.  If that documentation is not provided within 30 days of the request, then the city has the power to suspend the company’s license until the employer provides documentation of the cure. The city intends to conduct annual reviews of the state’s case files, judgments, and determinations regarding wage and hour claims made against the city’s licensees in an effort to monitor any wage and hour violations.

The ordinance is set to take effect on October 1, 2015.  Please contact Connell Foley’s labor and employment law attorneys should you desire assistance with any wage and hour issue your business is facing.