NEWARK, NJ — NJ Transit announced the creation of an employee court advocate position to support operational employees such as bus operators and rail conductors who are victims of on-the-job assaults. The position was created in support of the New Jersey State Legislature’s added protections for front-line transportation workers to the state criminal assault statute.
NJ Transit selected attorney Michael Rubin, with 15 years of experience with the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, as its first employee court advocate. Rubin will help employees who are victims of assault navigate the criminal justice system at no cost to the employee, and work with prosecutors to see that assailants face the full sentences allowable by law.
“The creation of the employee court advocate position confirms NJ Transit’s unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees,” NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett said in a press release. “I am confident Michael Rubin will make a real difference in the lives of our front-line employees who are forced to navigate an unfamiliar legal system and ensure that assailants are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“The Amalgamated Transit Union has worked in partnership with NJ Transit to see that every step is taken not only to protect our transit workers, but to offer full support should an assault happen,” said Ray Greaves, an NJ Transit board member and chairman of the New Jersey State Council of the Amalgamated Transit Union. “Now, with the addition of Mike Rubin as NJ Transit court advocate we can be certain that no transit worker will be made to feel alone.”
In June, a man who assaulted a pregnant bus operator in January was given an eight-year prison sentence for his actions. The New Jersey Legislature amended the state’s criminal assault statute to impose larger monetary penalties and increased custodial sentences for those convicted of assaulting NJ Transit’s operational employees.
Rubin’s role includes meeting with NJ Transit employees who have been assaulted to review their cases and help them understand their legal rights. When an employee is required to appear in court, Rubin will accompany them to court to ensure their rights are protected and that prosecutors pursue appropriate charges and sentencing.