Perhaps the most far-reaching employment law opinion of the term was Tartaglia v. UBS PaineWebber Inc., 197 N.J. 81 (2008). The Court refined and recast the elements of a claim for discharge in violation of public policy under Pierce v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp., 84 N.J. 58 (1980); it clarified the interplay between spoliation as an evidence issue and as a substantive claim of fraudulent concealment; it addressed what constitutes protected activity under the LAD; and it clarified the limits of fair comment in summation.
Plaintiff Maria Tartaglia is an attorney who began employment with UBS PaineWebber Inc. in 1992. Tartaglia had been terminated from a previous employment with Prudential-Bache, after she suffered from severe depression and was criticized for her work and for failing to keep up her personal appearance. For some period during her early years at Paine Webber, Tartaglia reported to Eric Seltzer, who gave her mixed reviews. After a 1994 year-end review that included criticisms of her judgment and timeliness, Tartaglia asked for a transfer from the regulatory group to the counseling group, which was granted. She made no complaint about Seltzer at the time.
Tartaglia asserted sex discrimination and retaliation claims that were based on two incidents with Seltzer. First, she claimed that at a co-worker’s wedding, Seltzer said to her boyfriend that “Everyone at the table with a cock used to have Maria reporting to him.” Second, she claimed that Seltzer ridiculed her by stating that he nearly wet his pants when she mistakenly stated she was still in the regulatory group. She also complained that Seltzer was subjecting her to daily verbal harassment; that Seltzer’s attitude may have impacted his evaluations or his description of her to her new boss, Janick; and that Janick had laughed at the “wet my pants” comment. Tartaglia (who previously had been diagnosed as bi-polar) said that she was being medicated as a result of this treatment and that she felt that she might have a nervous breakdown.
A prompt investigation by HR revealed that no one else at the wedding had heard the alleged remark, which was denied by Seltzer. Seltzer offered to apologize about a comment in Janick’s office, as did Janick. But Tartaglia told HR she just wanted to be left alone, and admitted that all of the behaviors by Seltzer that bothered her stopped at that time.
Tartaglia’s wrongful termination claim was based on another series of events that began in 1996, when she was reporting to a different supervisor, Garry Stegeland. Stegeland assigned her to the municipality project and later made her supervisor of the municipality group. Tartaglia was again criticized for not completing work quickly enough. Later, Stegeland told Tartaglia that the municipality project should be concluded by late 1997 or early 1998 and that she would need to look for another position, either within Paine Webber or outside. Later still, he advised her that he did not think there would be another position for her at Paine Webber.
Tartaglia nonetheless applied for a position in Paine Webber’s early dispute resolution unit. Although the staff there considered Tartaglia ill-suited temperamentally for the position, Janick intervened and Tartaglia was given the position for a probationary period and subject to close monitoring. After one day in the department, Tartaglia questioned the ethics of Paine Webber procedures in representing both Paine Webber and its financial advisors in response to customer complaints. She contended that there was a conflict and that written consent from the financial advisors was required. Tartaglia also said she was unable to attend 8:30 a.m. meetings because of an antidepressant she was taking, and that she could not arrive at work until 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. However, she refused to follow Paine Webber’s procedures for approval of such an accommodation: she declined to sign a release for her medical records and she failed to submit a note from her doctor. Tartaglia continued to arrive late and complaints about her job performance arose, including that she was not moving her cases quickly enough. After Tartaglia stated in a counseling session that she would not update supervisors on the status of her work or explain why she could not meet deadlines, a decision to terminate her was made. On the day Tartaglia was notified of her termination she filed a claim for disability benefits, which was denied on the ground that she had already been terminated.
Tartaglia’s initial complaint asserted (1) a Pierce claim for alleged discharge in retaliation for her complaints about the conflicts issue; (2) a disability discrimination claim; (3) a claim of retaliation because of her harassment complaint against Seltzer; and (4) a breach-of-contract claim for denial of disability benefits. Additional claims for negligent destruction of evidence and fraudulent concealment of evidence were later asserted and bifurcated. Tartaglia voluntarily dismissed the breach-of-contract claim and the trial court dismissed the Pierce claim. The court held that to prevail on a Pierce claim the employee must demonstrate that he actually complained to an outside agency about the allegedly wrongful conduct, something that Tartaglia concededly did not to.
After a lengthy trial on the remaining claims, the jury returned a verdict for defendant on all substantive claims, rejecting both the retaliation and discrimination theories. Plaintiff’s bifurcated spoliation claims were tried following the main trial and settled during trial.
The Appellate Division affirmed dismissal of the Pierce claim, concluding as the trial court did that an employee’s expression of concern internally is insufficient to sustain a recovery under Pierce . However, the Appellate Division found plaintiff entitled to a new trial on her statutory retaliatory and discrimination claims, based on three trial errors. First, the panel held that it was error to deny plaintiff an adverse inference charge about missing documents, even through there were factual issues surrounding the documents, including whether they ever existed. Second, the panel held that the trial court erred in instructing the jury that Tartaglia’s complaint about the “wet my pants” comment could not be considered protected behavior for her retaliation claim because it was not sexual. Finally, the panel concluded that portions of defense counsel’s closing argument were unduly prejudicial. Defendants petitioned for certification; plaintiff cross-petitioned on the Pierce issue; and both were granted.
The Supreme Court addressed two questions regarding Pierce : whether plaintiff’s purely internal complaint about an asserted violation of the RPCs was sufficient, and whether the RPC at issue qualified as a clear mandate of public policy. The Court first concluded that an external complaint is not a prerequisite under Pierce . It rejected its contrary suggestion in Young v. Schering, 141 N.J. 16 (1995), as dicta . It rejected the long-standing Appellate Division decision in House v. Carter-Wallace, 232N.J. Super. 42 (App. Div.), certif. denied , 117 N.J. 154 (1984), noting that the employee’s claim there failed not just for lack of an external complaint but also for failure to identify a clear mandate of public policy. The Court emphasized, however, that removal of the external complaint requirement did not mean that every passing gripe to a co-worker would qualify as the basis of a Pierce claim: “It requires, as well, a sufficient expression of that disagreement to support the conclusion that the resulting discharge violates the mandate of public policy and is wrongful. That is to say, a complaint to an outside agency will ordinarily be a sufficient means of expression, but a passing remark to co-workers will not. A direct complaint to senior corporate management would likely suffice, but a complaint to an immediate supervisor generally would not.”
Addressing the second aspect of the Pierce claim, the Court also sided with plaintiff. Although declining to address whether the RPCs in general constitute a clear mandate of public policy for Pierce purposes, the Court found that RPC 1.7(b), relating to conflicts of interest, does. The Court based that ruling on its conclusion that this RPC, like the Local Government Ethics Law in MacDougall v. Weichert , 144 N.J. 380 (1996), “implicates such basic duties embraced in our rules relating to conflicts of interest. . . . that it may implicate the kind of clear policy mandates that Pierce is designed to remedy.”
Yet, the Court continued, that alone would not establish a Pierce claim. “Consistent with our interpretation of Pierce , although she need not have voiced a complaint to an external authority, she must demonstrate that she took other action reasonably calculated to prevent the objectionable conduct. This could be demonstrated if plaintiff, for example, established that she refused to comply with the directives from her supervisors that she believed violated the RPCs and was terminated as a result, or that she complained to someone within the corporate structure at a high enough level of authority to demonstrate that her subsequent termination was contrary to public policy.”
Even more significantly, the Court imposed an additional requirement for the lawyer-plaintiff. The Court acknowledged that under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 et seq . , employees need not prove an actual violation of public policy but only a reasonable belief of same. However, the Court emphasized that the Pierce cause of action is different. It “requires the employee to prove not only that he or she complained about a public policy, but that his or her resulting discharge violated a clear mandate of public policy.” For that reason, and in light of the special duties attendant on attorneys with regard to the RPCs, the Court concluded that an attorney who bases a Pierce claim on the public policy set forth in the RPCs must prove that the conduct complained of was an actual violation. “Any lesser standard of proof would threaten to expand Pierce far beyond its intended boundaries and would inappropriately intrude on the role of our disciplinary authorities.”
Dual Remedies for Spoliation
Turning to the spoliation issue, the Court considered whether Tartaglia should have been granted an adverse inference charge in addition to the bifurcated trial of her direct spoliation causes of action. It concluded that she should have.
Looking to the history and policy of spoliation claims and remedies, the Court concluded that the adverse inference instruction and a substantive claim for intentional concealment serve different purposes and are nonexclusive. Recognizing that in many cases the choice of remedies will depend upon when the spoliation is discovered, the Court stated that it did not intend to limit parties to one or the other in Rosenblit v. Zimmerman , 166 N.J. 391 (2001). It explained why both remedies should be available in appropriate circumstances. For example, the Court noted, a plaintiff who prevails on her substantive claim with benefit of an adverse inference charge might nonetheless have a claim for additional damages due to the spoliation, such as the cost of additional experts required by the fact of missing evidence. Since the spoliation claims in this case were settled during the bifurcated trial of same, the Court noted that on remand the trial court might have to mold the verdict to avoid duplicative relief. Finally, but quite significantly, the Court commented in a footnote that since spoliation claims between parties to a suit are technically claims for fraudulent concealment, “we have not in the past recognized, and we do not now recognize, any separate tort for negligent spoliation.”
What Is Protected Conduct for an
LAD Retaliation Claim
The Court turned next to the question of whether plaintiff’s complaint to HR that a supervisor said he almost wet his pants when she mistakenly said she still worked in Regulatory was protected activity under the LAD that could form the basis of a retaliation claim. The Court agreed with the Appellate Division that it was. The Court began its analysis with the familiar rule that a statement need not be sexual in nature to be considered harassment “because of” an employee’s sex. If the statement is sexual, it may be presumed to be because of sex; if not, the employee must prove it is. But, the Court continued, that is only a subsidiary question here. Since the claim at issue was retaliation, the question was not whether the statement in fact was made because of plaintiff’s sex, but rather whether she had a good-faith and reasonable belief that it was. Unless plaintiff failed to prove that her complaint was reasonable and in good faith, she was entitled to a jury charge that it was protected activity. If there was a fact question as to its reasonableness and her good faith, the jury should have been instructed on that as well.
Finally, the Court agreed with the Appellate Division that certain comments by defense counsel in summation were inappropriate. The first was an anecdote about a hard-working “immigrant woman” who was contrasted with plaintiff’s deficient work ethic. The second was references to plaintiff’s absences from the courtroom during trial, “from which the jury was invited to draw inferences about her behavior as an employee.” Plaintiff did not object to either. The immigrant woman story was disapproved as “entirely unsupported by the record,” and consisting of “entirely unsupported stereotypes and innuendo.” The comments on plaintiff’s absences from court were disapproved in light of evidence in the record that they were due to her medical condition.
Scope of Review of Arbitration Award
Another topic drawing the Court’s attention was the proper method and scope of review of arbitration awards, which it addressed in two different contexts and cases: Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 880 v. New Jersey Transit Bus Operations, 220 N.J. 105 (2009), and Borough of Glassboro v. Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 108, 197 N.J. 960 (2008).
In Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 880 v. New Jersey Transit Bus Operations, 220 N.J. 105 (2009), a divided Court reinstated a labor arbitration award that had been vacated by the Appellate Division and clarified the standards for review of labor arbitration awards and handling questions of arbitrability.
The arbitration in that case involved an employee, Juan Anaya, who allegedly made misrepresentations on his certified application for employment. Unaware of the misrepresentation, NJ Transit offered Anaya a job as a bus driver, with a 90-day probationary period. Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) between the Amalgamated Transit Union (“Union”) and NJ Transit, Anaya became a member of the union after 30 days, but remained a probationary employee for the full 90 days.
During the 30 days before Anaya became a member of the union, NJ Transit informed him that a background check had revealed inconsistent information and asked him to provide documentation on each conviction. Several weeks later, after Anaya completed his probationary period, he was terminated.
The union grieved the discharge and NJ Transit moved to dismiss the arbitration on the ground that discharge of a probationary employee was not subject to the grievance procedure in the CBA. The arbitrator granted NJ Transit’s motion based on the governing documents: (1) Anaya’s employment letter which stated that after he successfully completed the probationary period he could be terminated only in accordance with the CBA; and (2) the CBA provision which stated that “Employees entering the service of the Company shall become members of the Union after 30 days. However, the 90-day probationary period agreed to by the employee on applying for a position with the Company will be recognized.” The arbitration panel concluded that in light of these provisions the termination could not be reviewed with reference to the CBA, and since its power was limited to “interpretation, application or operation of the provisions” of the CBA, the grievance should be dismissed.
The union’s application for an order to show cause vacating the dismissal was denied by the trial court, which agreed that the CBA’s reference to the 90-day probationary period could only be read as a limitation on employee rights during that time. The Appellate Division reversed in an unpublished opinion. Characterizing the issue as one of “substantive arbitrability” (whether the grievance is within the scope of the arbitration clause specifying what the parties have agreed to arbitrate), the Appellate Division concluded that it was an issue for the courts (and not the arbitration panel) to decide. The Court concluded that it was arbitrable because (1) it was wrong for the arbitrators to look to the employment application in interpreting the CBA; (2) the CBA did not specifically exclude full-time probationary employees from the grievance procedure while it did specifically exclude part-time probationary employees; and (3) termination of employment is indisputably subject to grievance and arbitration. The Appellate Division therefore reversed the trial court and remanded for arbitration before a different panel. The Supreme Court granted NJ Transit’s petition for certification and in a 5-2 opinion by Justice LaVecchia, reversed the Appellate Division and reinstated the arbitration award.
The majority began its analysis with an explanation of why questions of substantive arbitrability but not procedural arbitrability are for the courts. Since a party should not be forced to arbitrate something he or she has not agreed to submit, it is appropriate to assign that threshold decision to the courts, where the inquiry “must be strictly confined to the question whether the reluctant party did agree to arbitrate the grievance or did agree to give the arbitrator power to make the award he made.” In contrast, if a particular dispute is arbitrable, but there are questions of whether procedural prerequisites to arbitration have been satisfied, it is appropriate to allow decision by the agreed-upon arbitral forum.
But having reviewed the arbitrability guidelines, the majority concluded that the procedural/substantive distinction relied on by the Appellate Division was largely irrelevant in this case, because the question whether a probationary employee could access the grievance procedure to challenge his termination was something the CBA had authorized the arbitrators to decide. As such, the Appellate Division exceeded the scope of its authority in “inserting an unnecessary substantive arbitrability analysis into the mix as the vehicle to justify overturning an arbitration determination with which it disagreed.” A court’s role in reviewing an arbitrator’s award is limited and a court should not interfere with an arbitrator’s reasonably debatable decision. Here, the arbitrators clearly had authority to interpret the CBA and they exercised that authority to decide that the CBA did not intend that the grievance and arbitration procedure be used to review terminations of probationary employees. The majority summed up its holding as follows:
[T]he Appellate Division’s foray into substantive arbitrability was unnecessary and irrelevant because it could only have accomplished that which had already been obtained: an arbitrator’s interpretation of this CBA concerning a probationary employee’s right to invoke the grievance provisions to secure a review of the merits of his termination. The arbitration panel performed its allotted interpretative task under this CBA. Its interpretation of the CBA and the documents found to be incorporated therein led the arbitral panel to conclude that probationary employees do not have the right to grieve. Because that question of CBA interpretation was properly before the arbitrators, we defer to the arbitration panel’s decision based on the “reasonably debatable” standard of review.
Justice Long filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Albin joined.
The dissent took issue with the majority as “essentially adopting a no-harm, no-foul paradigm based on the fact that the employee in fact was permitted to arbitrate his grievance and thus received the process that was due.” For them, the issue that was arbitrated was whether a probationary employee is entitled to access under the grievance procedure, and that issue was one of substantive arbitrability that could be decided only by the courts. The fact that the merits issue — the proprietary of the employee’s termination — was subsumed by the arbitration panel’s determination that the CBA did not apply to him did not move the dissenters past the arbitrability issue as it did the majority.
The dissent agreed with the Appellate Division that the courts were to decide the arbitrability question and that the issue presented was arbitrable on the face of the CBA. The dissent also agreed with the Appellate Division that the arbitration panel should not have considered the terms of the employment agreement in addressing arbitrability and that even if they were considered they would not change the result. Finally, the dissent stated that since in their view the merits issue had not been addressed, and the only issue addressed by the arbitration panel was the arbitrability question which was “beyond their ken,” the reasonably-debatable standard of review did not apply.
The Court addressed arbitration again in Borough of Glassboro v. Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 108, 197 N.J. 960 (2008), which involved a promotion decision in a noncivil service municipality. The grieving employee in that case, Peter Amico, was leading in contention for promotion to lieutenant after the first two phases of the promotion process, but lost out to another officer after the final interviews. The union grieved the decision, arguing, among other things, that Glassboro had improperly considered residency in the selection process. The arbitrator agreed, finding that there was nothing in the record to positively determine why Amico fell behind in the interview phase and that the record did not even contain the questions asked during the interview. He therefore surmised that it was because Amico has moved out of the borough and that it was improper to use residency except as a tie-breaker where two individuals have achieved the same test score. N.J.S.A. 40A:14-122:6. The arbitrator therefore ordered that Amico be promoted and awarded back pay.
The trial court denied the borough’s motion to vacate the award, citing the longstanding standard that if an award is “reasonably debatable” it may not be disturbed. It disagreed with the arbitrator that residency could not be used, but found that the absence of any evidence explaining what happened in the interviews and how the other candidate passed Amico, the arbitrator “could not have come up with any different decision than the one he reached.” The borough submitted additional evidence on a motion for reconsideration, but the trial court found it belated and, in any event, insufficient. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that in the absence of an explanation how Amico fell behind in the interview phase, the failure to promote him was an arbitrary and capricious act. The Supreme Court granted certification.
The Supreme Court again began its analysis with the familiar arbitration standards. An arbitrator must uphold a noncivil service municipality’s promotion decision unless the decision is clearly arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. In the public sector, the New Jersey Arbitration Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:24-1 to -11, permits courts to vacate arbitration awards only where (1) the award was procured by corruption, fraud or undue means; (2) there was either evident partiality or corruption in the arbitrators; (3) the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct; or (4) the arbitrators exceeded or so imperfectly executed their powers that a mutual, final and definite award upon the subject matter submitted was not made. And in addition to those statutory grounds, the Supreme Court noted, a court may vacate an arbitration award that is “contrary to existing law or public policy” as embodied in legislation, regulations or legal precedents.
In that framework, the Court agreed that the arbitrator’s decision vacating the promotion should not be disturbed. It dismissed the borough’s argument that residency could be determinative not just in the case of a tie as provided by statute, but also in cases where the candidate scores were close. It also rejected the borough’s suggestion that the ruling improperly intruded on its municipal powers. “Rather, the case stands for the unremarkable proposition that, should a grievant make the type of showing that Amico made here, and should the municipality not provide even the simplest explanation on the record of some rational reason for its decision, the decision cannot stand.” However, the court disagreed with the arbitrator and the courts below as to remedy. Since there was inadequate evidence in the record to explain what happened in the final stage of consideration, the court reasoned, there was also inadequate evidence to support a conclusion that Amico’s performance warranted promotion. “In short, it was beyond the arbitrator’s power to fashion a remedy that promoted Amico, and the affirmance of that award must be reversed.” Accordingly, the court reversed that portion of the award and remanded for the conduct of a new Phase III proceeding.
In Leang v. Jersey City Board of Education , 198 N.J. 557 (2009), the Court faced the task of balancing the rights of a school employee, the public interest in protecting students and the obligations of co-employees to report perceived threats to the students in their care.
The plaintiff, Sopharie Leang, was a teacher of English as a second language in a Jersey City elementary school, hired as a provisional teacher under a one-year contract. On May 14, 2002, she was advised in writing that her contract would not be renewed. She did not challenge or question that decision. In the litigation, however, she claimed that a co-worker, Vladimir Ashworth, had harassed and then sabotaged her by denying her textbooks and a mentor, in retaliation for her refusal of his advances.
On the last day of the school year, plaintiff and Ashworth were in a classroom with 22 students and two teaching assistants. Plaintiff made a comment about stress that was disputed in substance. Plaintiff contended that she said “my doctor said the amount of stress in my body could have killed some people.” Ashworth contended that plaintiff said “I’m so stressed out that I can kill twenty-two people.” Ashworth was alarmed and reported the statement to the school nurse and the principal, as a result of which plaintiff was escorted to the nurse’s office. The Jersey City Police were called in. There was in place “A Uniform State Memorandum of Agreement Between Education and Law Enforcement Officials” which had been adopted by the board and approved by the Department of Law and Public Safety and the Department of Education. Although it addressed threats by students (and not teachers), the agreement required officials to immediately notify the police in the event of any perceived threats. The Jersey City Police Emergency Services Unit responded and transported an “irate,” “upset,” and “frantic” Leang to the hospital of her choice, where her evaluation included elevated blood pressure and an Axis I diagnosis of “generalized anxiety, rule out homicidal ideation.” Plaintiff left the hospital against medical advice and received no further treatment.
Plaintiff filed suit against the Jersey City Board of Education, the Superintendent of Schools, the Principal of her school and her co-worker, Ashworth. Her 11 counts were for (1) false imprisonment; (2) battery; (3) assault; (4) invasion of privacy, alleged to have been a strip search and psychiatric examination at the hospital; (5) defamation, libel and slander; (6) sexual harassment and retaliation in the form of poor performance reviews that led to her nonrenewal; (7) breach of her employment contract; (8) violation of due process; (9) wrongful discharge and constructive discharge; (10) intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (11) a per quod claim by her husband. A second complaint, which was later consolidated with the first, named various police and medical entities as defendants and asserted claims for (1) acts taken under color of state law and excessive use of force and abuse of governmental authority; (2) per quod; (3) false arrest; (4) malicious prosecution; and (5) intentional infliction of emotional distress
The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment, “essentially based on the motion judge’s analysis of qualified immunity and an alternative analysis relating to an absence of evidence supporting damages.” The Appellate Division affirmed in part and reversed in part. With respect to plaintiff’s employment claims, it affirmed dismissal of all claims against the superintendent. It affirmed dismissal of plaintiff’s employment discrimination claims because management neither knew nor should have known of the harassment claims. It affirmed dismissal of the wrongful discharge claim for failure to allege violation of a clear mandate of public policy as required by Pierce v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. , 84 N.J. 58 (1980). It affirmed dismissal of plaintiff’s breach-of-contract claims against the individual defendants on the ground that they were not parties to the contract. But it reinstated plaintiff’s breach-of-contract claims against the board under an implied-in-fact contract theory. The Supreme Court found all of the employment claims to be barred.
Reiterating the longstanding rule that public entities may be found liable for discrimination claims by their employees notwithstanding the limitations imposed by the Tort Claims Act, the Court declared that “any analysis of the claims raised by plaintiff that relate to her employment must be analyzed in accordance with our usual rules governing such claims and without any overlay of TCA immunities.”
The Court found that plaintiff’s sexual harassment and discrimination claims against the board were properly dismissed in accordance with Carmona v. Resorts Int’l Hotel, Inc. , 189 N.J. 354, 373 (2007), because she failed to make an internal complaint. It found her claims against the individual defendants properly dismissed because she had asserted no facts to support aiding and abetting in accordance with Tarr v. Ciasulli , 181 N.J. 70, 83-84 (2004).
The Court rejected plaintiff’s breach of employment contract claim. It disagreed with the Appellate Division’s conclusion that this claim was governed by the Contractual Liability Act, because that statute excludes entities like the board which are statutorily authorized to sue and be sued. However, under Title 18A, plaintiff was employed as a non-tenured teacher under a one-year contract, which the board had no obligation to renew. In light of the board’s statutory right not to renew, plaintiff’s breach-of-contract claim based on nonrenewal had to fail. The Court also rejected plaintiff’s contract or quasi-contract claims, finding them derivative of the failed contract claims. Finally, the Court rejected plaintiff’s state law due-process argument on the ground that plaintiff had failed to involve the statutory procedure for contesting her nonrenewal and was not entitled to create her own alternative.
The Court’s decision in Leang was right in line with the overall trend this term, in which the Court continued to provide practical guidance to employers, employees and litigants. Its rulings were evolutionary — not revolutionary — refining established principles for current problems and effecting no truly major changes in the employment law landscape.
Alito is a partner at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis of Newark and is the author of New Jersey Employment Law ( 2nd ed.) and Employment Law for New Jersey Businesses, both published by New Jersey Law Books. She is also the chair of the New Jersey Law Journal Editorial Board.