2023 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 34 - Labor and Workmen's Compensation
Section 34:11-58 - Claims; investigation; judgment.

Universal Citation: NJ Rev Stat § 34:11-58 (2023)

34:11-58 Claims; investigation; judgment.

34:11-58. a. An employee may file a claim for wages against an employer under this section or any of the other State wage and hours laws for wages owed related to work performed, including but not limited to wages owed related to unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime compensation, wages lost because of unlawful discharge or other discriminatory acts taken in retaliation against the employee, up to six years prior to the date the claim for wages is filed.

b. An employer found to owe an employee wages shall pay the employee the wages owed plus liquidated damages equal to not more than 200% of the wages owed, exclusive of any costs or fees.

c. The commissioner is authorized and empowered to investigate any claim for wages due an employee and in such investigation may summon the defendant, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and shall upon such proceeding make a decision or award when the sum in controversy, exclusive of costs, does not exceed $50,000.

Such decision or award shall be a judgment when a certified copy thereof is filed with the Superior Court.

Such judgment shall be entered in the same manner and have the same effect and be subject to the same proceedings as are judgments rendered in suits duly heard and determined by courts of competent jurisdiction.

d. Upon an investigation of a wage claim initiated pursuant to this section or any of the other State wage and hours laws, if an employer fails to provide sufficient employee records, as required to be kept under any State wage and hour laws, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the employee worked for the employer for the period of time and for the amount of wages as alleged in the wage claim. The rebuttable presumption shall not apply to an employer that can demonstrate it does not have sufficient employee records as a result of record destruction due to a natural disaster.

e. The commissioner is authorized to supervise the payment of amounts, including liquidated damages, due to employees under an award made pursuant to this section, and the employer may be required to make these payments to the commissioner to be held in a special account in trust for the employees, and paid on order of the commissioner directly to the employee or employees affected. The employer shall also pay the commissioner an administrative fee equal to not less than 10% or more than 25% of any payment made to the commissioner pursuant to this section. The amount of the administrative fee shall be specified in a schedule of fees to be promulgated by rule or regulation of the commissioner in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.). The fee shall be applied to enforcement and administration costs of the Division of Workplace Standards in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

f. Upon issuing a decision, under this section or any of the other State wage and hours laws, finding wages due to an employee in an amount equal to or greater than $5,000, the commissioner shall:

(1) inform the employer that the commissioner may conduct an audit of the employer or any successor firm of the employer pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2009, c.194 (C.34:1A-1.12); and

(2) notify the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury of the decision and may recommend that the division conduct an audit of the employer to ensure the proper withholding and payment of payroll and other taxes by the employer.

g. No payment of an amount of wages owed or related damages, including wages or damages related to retaliation, shall be required under the provisions of this section, or under the provisions of any of the other State wage and hour laws, which results in a violator paying wages owed or damages more than one time for the same violation. amended 1953, c.33, s.40; 1964, c.92, s.2; 1985, c.135, s.1; 1991, c.205, s.4; 2006, c.25; 2019, c.212, s.7.

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