Can an employer regulate your private life?

Many employees do not realize that employers in New Jersey may have the right to regulate and prohibit personal lifestyle choices after work and during their private time unless the conduct falls within a clear cut constitutional privacy protection or meets a clear mandate of public policy protecting private lifestyle choices.  Generally, the prohibited conduct relates to extramarital affairs, romantic relationships among co-workers, free speech, smoking bans and other private lifestyle choices.    All employers and employees are cautioned that the scope of the prohibited conduct will be closely reviewed by the Courts in New Jersey.   New Jersey seems to follow (as customary) its own thoughts on permissible versus unpermissible conduct. 

In a leading case, the Court has indicated that while an employer is free to discharge an employee at will, the general rule must yield when an employer Aacts contrary to public policy in accordance with the leading New Jersey case of Pierce vs. Ortho@.  

Questions about what may or may not be permissible versus dischargable private behavior by an employer?  Lauren Bercik, Esq. handles the firm’s employment related issues.  She can be contacted at lbercik@hnwlaw.com/.

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