EAST ORANGE, NJ - The East Orange City Council recently moved to champion legislation (ORDINANCE NO. 14 OF 2016) to support, protect and uplift the citizens that live and work in East Orange in the form of an anti-wage theft ordinance. The purpose of an anti-age theft ordinance is to remove incentives for dishonest employers to cheat employees out of their earned wages.

There is widespread occurrence of wage theft across New Jersey causing millions of dollars in lost wages and tax revenue a year; this is particularly impacting the lives of lower-income working families. Wage theft causes New Jersey working families to lose millions in earned income each year when unscrupulous employers exploit weak enforcement of State and Federal wage and hours laws. 

Following best practices taken by municipal governments in New Jersey and across the country, City Council moved to enact an ordinance that clarifies its municipal code in light of state and federal laws against wage theft and links the issuance, suspension and revocation of city licenses and permits to an entity’s record with respect to wage theft. 

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State law provides municipalities with broad power over local licensing. Commonly, municipal code requires that a business owner demonstrate “good character and business responsibility” and make “fraud, misrepresentation or other dishonesty in the conduct of the licensed activity”, grounds for suspension or revocation of a license. 

Other municipalities that have passed anti-wage theft ordinances in New Jersey include, Newark, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Highland Park and Princeton.