Unreviewed NJDOL Determination Not Binding In Subsequent Lawsuit, New Jersey District Court Rules

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In Kiernan v. AAA Mechanical, Inc., No. 10-4421 (MLC), 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90655, (D.N.J. June 29, 2012), the plaintiff sued her employer for overtime compensation under the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law shortly after the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) conducted an investigation on her behalf and determined the employer was in violation of the law. Although the employer requested a hearing to contest the NJDOL’s finding, the NJDOL terminated the administrative proceeding without holding a hearing when the plaintiff filed the lawsuit. Despite the lack of a hearing below, the plaintiff argued that the NJDOL’s finding mandated a ruling in her favor in the lawsuit. The court rejected that position, holding that because the NJDOL’s conclusions were subject to further review (including the hearing), they did not constitute a final and binding determination on the merits of the plaintiff’s overtime claim.

Note: This article was published in the August 2012 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.