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Employment Law

Friday, April 21, 2017

NYC Bill To Ban Employers from Asking Potential Employees About Salary History


What positive effect could banning employer inquiries as to salary histories have on employees citywide?

A New York City bill has proposed preventing private employers in the city from questioning employees about their salary histories.  The bill, number 1253, was approved by the New York City Council on April 5.  It now awaits approval by Mayor Bill de Blasio.  Several other states and cities have taken similar measures to prohibit employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s previous salary.  Our Read more . . .


Monday, March 20, 2017

Major Jewelry Conglomerate Faces Sexual Harassment Lawsuit


What should I do if I am being sexually harassed at work?

Hundreds of former employees have filed claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination against Sterling Jewelers, the owner of Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers.  Female employees claim the work environment in these mega jewelry stores encouraged sexual misconduct, such as groping and sexual favors in exchange for promotions.  The class action lawsuit was first filed in 2008, but the case remains unresolved.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

For Your Own Sake Don’t Do THIS to Your Employees


Dumb, dumb, dumb case from Idaho, reversed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  You can find the case here: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2017/02/03/14-35396.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

New Overtime Rule On Hold - Employers in Limbo


What is the status of the overtime rule for white collar employees?

In May, the Labor Department announced significant changes to the white collar exemptions to the overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for executive, professional, administrative and highly compensated employees. Now that a federal judge has blocked the rule, however, employers have been left in limbo.

The rule was contested by a number of states and business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

EEOC Issues New Retaliation Guidelines


Can I be fired for complaining about discrimination or harassment on the job?

Back in March we reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proposed new guidance on employment retaliation. The EEOC published its final rule in September, owing to the fact that retaliation has become the most common type of claim filed with the agency. In fact, 45 percent of all charges filed last year were related to retaliation.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pushing the Boundaries of Title VII


Does federal law prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity?

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees and job applicants based on specific characteristics including race, color, national origin, religion and gender. Currently, as it has been interpreted by case law, Title VII does not protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Moreover, legislation to end these forms of discrimination in the workplace stalled in Congress in 2013.

EEOC Initiative

Now, the federal government agency responsible for investigating employment discrimination claims has weighed in on the issue. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a bulletin in July stating that Title VII's prohibitions of sex discrimination includes employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Employee Wellness Programs & The Obligations Of Employers


Employers sometimes desire to implement health programs for their workers, which serve to facilitate healthy lifestyles and decrease healthcare overheads.  These employee programs are usually referred to as “participatory” or “health-contingent” wellness programs, depending on whether the worker is required to partake in a certain health arrangement.  However, employers have a plethora of requirements that they must follow in order for these programs to be legally acceptable. 

For example, when employers desire to promote and foster the health of their employees through certain “employee wellness programs,” they have to ensure that the employees’ personally identifiable and health details are kept confidential.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What to know about the new overtime laws


Overtime pay can be a great income boost, particularly since eligible recipients are entitled to one and one-half times their regular rate for staying late. However, until recently, a significantly large portion of the private sector was left excluded from these benefits under the overly-broad concept of “exempt employees.” The list of exempt employees, as provided by the Department of Labor, included everything from executives to agriculturalists, as well as seasonal employees, salesmen and computer technicians. Moreover, the rules included an “income threshold” of just $23,660 -- meaning anyone earning more than that could be legally excluded from overtime pay.

Fortunately, this threshold was recently expanded -- in a big way.


Read more . . .


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Recent NY Employment Law Amendment Will Allow 12-Week Paid Family Leave Law


What is the 12-week paid family leave law and how will it affect NY employees?

Until recently, major family changes were made much more difficult because of employment obligations. The birth of a new baby, the illness of a close family member, or the call to active duty of a family member in the military often threw the whole family constellation out of whack. The new legislation, signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 4th, however, will help to give peace of mind to a great many families in the state. As of the implementation of this legislation, referred to as the "Paid Leave Law," an employee in New York will be  permitted up to 12 weeks of paid leave under any of the following circumstances:

  1. To care for a new child in the family.
    Read more . . .


Friday, April 29, 2016

What New Yorkers Need to Know About the New Paid Family Leave Act


Most New Yorkers are aware of the recent updates to the state human rights laws which provide paid family leave for eligible workers. Fortunately, New York has taken a nationwide leadership role in securing fair and adequate compensation for workers in need of paid maternity leave or medical leave -- a measure which has historically been ignored within the legislative landscape. The following details the law -- which is scheduled to roll out fully by 2018.

In addition, employers within the city of New York are also strongly advised to become familiar with the specific guidelines on medical leave, as wrongfully withholding paid time off could result in costly and unnecessary litigation.

First, much of the paid leave is funded through a deduction from the employee’s pay, and employees are not eligible for paid medical leave until they have worked at least six months for the organization.


Read more . . .


Friday, April 15, 2016

NYC Human Rights Law Strengthened by Amendments to Employment and Public Accommodations


What recent and significant changes have been made to NYC's human rights laws?

Mayor Bill de Blasio has recently signed into law amendments intended to remediate and strengthen the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), particularly in regard to franchisers, franchisees and lessors. In keeping with the Mayor's stated purpose of improving legislation to protect employees and tenants from having their civil rights violated, he has signed into law amendments designed to:

  • Remove language regarding sexual orientation
  • Give the New York City Human Rights Commission the authority to award attorney fees
  • Add franchiser, franchisee and lessor to the list of those forbidden to discriminate on the basis of gender, race, disability, or any other protected class
  • Make it illegal to deny housing to anyone because he or she is a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking
  • Make it illegal to use discriminatory advertisements and public statements

It is important for all employers, businesses, and lessors to review their procedures to ensure that they are in compliance with the newly amended NYCHRL. The new legislation requires that "exceptions and exemptions from the NYCHRL be narrowly construed in an effort “to maximize deterrence of discriminatory conduct.”

Another aspect of the amendments to NYCHRL's protections addresses the manner in which discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should be construed. The new wording states that language of the law should not be construed to:

  • Restrict an employer’s right to require that employees meet certain actual job qualifications
  • Permit employers to inquire about the sexual orientation of their current or potential employees or to adopt affirmative action quotas based on sexual orientation
  • Limit or override any pre-existing exemptions under NYCHRL
  • Legalize any act that violates New York Penal Law
  • Endorse any particular behavior or way of life

In addition, the amendments make it unlawful to "offer benefits, services or privileges" to anyone who is (or is presumed to be) a member of a protected class in such a way that such a person is deprived of the full and equal enjoyment” of those benefits on “equal terms and conditions” as all others who are not members of a protected class.


Read more . . .


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