Business Report: J& J loses court appeal, companies can mandate vaccination, NJ’s clean-car incentives

Johnson & Johnson has lost its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over a $2 billion verdict against it, in a case involving its talc products

New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson has lost its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over a $2 billion verdict against it, in a case involving its talc products. The nation’s highest court made no comment as it rejected the appeal, leaving in place the verdict in favor of women who claimed they developed ovarian cancer from using Johnson & Johnson’s products. A Missouri jury had found that the company’s talc products contained asbestos and asbestos-laced talc can cause ovarian cancer. The company disputed both of those points; its baby powder is no longer sold in the U.S. and Canada, although it remains on the market elsewhere. Johnson & Johnson still faces thousands of talc lawsuits.

A U.S. agency has put out some long-awaited, expanded guidance on how companies can issue vaccine mandates for workers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says vaccines can be mandated for workers returning to the office but not for those who work remotely. The EEOC says requesting proof of vaccination is not an unlawful request under federal discrimination laws. According to the guidance, employers can also offer incentives to encourage workers to get vaccinated.

New Jersey’s popular incentive program to encourage residents to buy electric cars will be offered again in the new fiscal year starting July 1. In the past year, the state handed out $36 million to residents who bought or leased an electric car, with most people receiving $5,000, the maximum allowed. The Board of Public Utilities is looking at ways to tweak the program, including by expanding the number of car models that would qualify for the incentives. Last year, Tesla was the most popular vehicle in the program, accounting for 83% of the incentive applications.

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