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Hackensack Business and Commercial Law Blog

Travelers solemnly swears not to cover PF Chang's data breach

Popular restaurant chain P.F. Chang's may be left holding the bag for a breach of customer credit card and debit card data. The breach reportedly began in September 2013; parent company P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc. learned of the problem nine months later, after information from seven million cards had been acquired illegally.

The company now faces a potential class action lawsuit from customers affected by the breach. The plaintiffs maintain that the company could have prevented the breach and allege that the failure to prevent it constituted a breach of implied contract.

Jersey City small businesses feel impact of local leave law p2

Jersey City is one of a handful of cities to adopt a mandatory sick time law. The city has had a year's worth of experience with its ordinance, and businesses seem to be adjusting.

Again, there is a difference between the benefits conferred through this ordinance, the bill in the Legislature and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. What is important to remember is that the different laws do not apply to all the same companies. The FMLA, for example, only applies to companies with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.

Jersey City small businesses feel impact of local leave law

Statewide mandatory paid sick time may be no more than a twinkle in some labor advocates' eyes, but Jersey City is living the experiment. The Municipal Council passed a law in September 2013 that required business with 10 or more employees to provide paid sick leave to all workers, whether full- or part-time. The law went into effect in January.

Employees accrue the time at the rate of one hour per 30 hours worked. The employer may cap the annual total accrued time at 40 hours. Unused time can roll over from one year to the other, but the employer need not compensate the employee for unused time.

Family leave laws a balancing act ... p3

New Jersey's business community is not enthusiastic about Assembly Bill 2354. The bill would require businesses to offer paid sick leave to all workers, even temporary and part-time employees. As we said in our last post, employees would accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked; employees would not be eligible until they pass their 90-day job anniversary.

The 90-day waiting period would only apply to employees hired after the bill becomes law. For everyone else, the accrual is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014. If the bill passes, employers could find themselves suddenly on the hook for hundreds of hours of paid sick leave that they had not budgeted for.

Family leave laws a balancing act ... p2

Certain businesses in New Jersey are subject to the requirements and restrictions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The law applies to businesses with 50 employees or more within a 75-mile radius.

There's a catch, though, especially for start-ups: Even if a company does not meet the threshold for the FMLA, it may be subject to similar state or city laws.

New Jersey may join California and Connecticut soon in requiring paid sick leave for part-time and temporary workers. The Assembly Committee on Labor was set to debate the pros and cons of the proposal in early October.

Family leave laws a balancing act of employee and business needs

Starting a new business is exciting, but it can be a little scary, too. An entrepreneur may focus on getting the product out there as quickly as possible, hiring the staff and purchasing the materials necessary for a fast and successful launch. The nit-picky details of starting a business can easily fall by the wayside.

Investors, though, do not focus solely on the viability of the new product. They look at the business sense of the entrepreneur, too. They want to know that their investment won't be squandered. The product is not profitable if the business is not profitable.

It's not me - it's you: Dating services fail to deliver, p4

We are finishing up our discussion of two lawsuits filed against dating services. The first, from Manhattan, claims that an individual offering matchmaking services failed to hold up his end of the bargain. The second is from Bergen County, and the defendant is a larger matchmaking enterprise.

While the Manhattan plaintiff found the defendant through personal referrals, the New Jersey plaintiff found her service through its marketing efforts. The advertisements for It's Just Lunch! claim, among other things, that the staff is composed of professional, experienced matchmakers who comb through an extensive client base looking for just the right match for each client.

It's not me - it's you: Dating services fail to deliver, p3

We have been talking about recent lawsuits involving dating services. In a Manhattan case, a woman is suing a matchmaker for breach of contract. The men the plaintiff met were not suitable matches, and she claims the matchmaker collected the $8,000 fee and failed to follow through on any of the services covered in the contract.

The second case was filed in Bergen County. The defendant company, It's Just Lunch!, offers (or says it offers) personalized matchmaking services, promising that clients will meet like-minded individuals hand-selected by the skilled professional staff. The plaintiff paid $2,700 to join.

It's not me - it's you: Dating services fail to deliver, p2

Dating has become big business. It is almost impossible to watch an hour of television these days without seeing a commercial for an online dating service. The pitch lately seems to be focused on how easy it is to use one of these services. Singles, it seems, are too busy to spend hours paging through online profiles before even exchanging emails.

There are companies that promise to do all that work for the customer. The customer goes through an interview and completes a detailed questionnaire. The service and its staff of experienced matchmakers do the rest. For clients of the It's Just Lunch! franchise and similar services, the process is supposed to reap introductions to people, potential life partners, with complementary interests.

It's not me - it's you: Dating services fail to deliver

Love is not in the air this month for a dating service in New Jersey and a matchmaker in Manhattan. The former is facing a potential class action, while the latter is accused of breach of contract. Although the particulars of the cases are different, at the heart of each lawsuit is a broken promise, a very personal broken promise.

The plaintiff in the Manhattan matchmaker case is a 43-year-old woman with a busy career who was having trouble meeting people. On the recommendation of a celebrity matchmaker, the plaintiff entered into an agreement with a professional matchmaker based in New York.

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