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On Wednesday April 17, 2024, the US Supreme Court in Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, Missouri, et al. issued a precedential ruling that will likely pave the way for more employee discrimination claims under Title VII. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that Title VII prohibits discriminatory job transfers even if they do not result in a “materially significant disadvantage” to the employee. The Court clarified that an employee challenging a job transfer under Title VII must establish “some harm” with respect to the terms and conditions of employment, but that such harm “need not be significant.”Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court clarifies standard for job transfer discrimination under Title VII

On April 15, 2024, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final rule implementing the federal Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act (PWFA). The PWFA, which went into effect in June 2023,1 requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ known limitations relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical protections. The PFWA builds on existing pregnancy-related protections and employer obligations under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and many state and local laws.Continue Reading EEOC issues final rule on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

As of March 12, 2024, New York employers are prohibited from requesting or obtaining access to the personal social media accounts of employees and applicants. Specifically, employers are not permitted to require employees or applicants to: (i) disclose their user names, passwords, or log-in information, (ii) access personal accounts in the presence of the employer; or (iii) reproduce any posts, including photos and videos, from personal accounts. In addition, employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalize an employee or applicant because of their refusal to disclose such information. Continue Reading New York places limitations on employer access to employee social media

In the dynamic arena of labor laws and regulations, New York City is once again leading the charge with proposed changes that could have profound workplace implications. On February 28, 2024, the New York City Council introduced a trio of bills aimed at significantly curtailing the use of noncompete agreements in the Big Apple. Though these bills are currently pending, and it remains to be seen whether they will ultimately be enacted, employers should nevertheless take note of the bills given that they are part of a broader movement to rein in noncompete agreements across the U.S.:Continue Reading NYC legislators propose three bills to curtail noncompete agreements

On January 29, 2024, the Delaware Supreme Court issued an important decision addressing the enforceability of restrictive covenants. As detailed below, in Cantor Fitzgerald v. Ainslie, the court upheld forfeiture-for-competition provisions set forth in a limited partnership (LP) agreement and ruled in favor of the partnership not having to pay out millions to former partners.

Key highlights

In Cantor Fitzgerald, the Delaware Supreme Court decision relied significantly on the following factors in enforcing the LP agreement as written and determining that the disputed provisions were, in fact, enforceable:

  • The restrictive covenant did not bar the claimants from engaging in competitive activities.
  • Rather, the provisions in question provided, in part, that receipt and retention of prior conditional awards of a portion of their compensation would be subject to the condition precedent that the recipient refrained from competing – in other words, these were forfeiture-for-competition provisions.
  • These forfeiture-for-competition provisions were not liquidated damages provisions (triggered by a breach of contract); rather, these provisions set up a condition precedent (not competing with the employer) to the employees’ receipt of the amounts that had been held back. 
  • The “employee choice doctrine” suggests that courts do not review forfeiture-for-competition provisions for reasonableness where, as here, the employee voluntarily terminates employment (as opposed to remaining employed and vesting in the contingent compensation amounts).

Continue Reading Delaware Supreme Court confirms enforceability of restrictive covenant provisions in favor of employer-partnership, reversing Chancery Court determination

Employment legislation and litigation are often about trends. In the mid-to-late 2010’s, for instance, lawmakers across the U.S. enacted numerous bills concerning paid time off for employees, such as for sick and family leave. A more recent trend involves regulatory and legislative attempts to limit or even outright ban non-compete agreements.

In New York State, the unquestionable employment litigation trend over the past several years has revolved around frequency of pay claims under Section 191 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL). This trend was born out of a radical 2019 appellate court decision that broke from more than a century of judicial precedent.

As more fully discussed below, however, two recent developments – one legislative and one judicial – suggest that the flood of frequency of pay lawsuits may soon be a thing of the past.Continue Reading Are frequency of pay lawsuits in New York soon to be a thing of the past?

Last week, Governor Hochul announced a suite of proposed measures aimed at addressing rising maternal and infant mortality rates. As is relevant to New York employers, this includes a proposed expansion of New York State Paid Family Leave to include 40 hours of paid leave to attend prenatal medical appointments. If signed into law, this would make

New York State lawmakers had a busy 2023 and have ushered in many new measures that will take effect throughout 2024. As New York employers look toward the new year, they should keep the following key dates in mind:

  • January 1, 2024 – The minimum wage rate in New York will increase to $16/hour in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and $15/hour in the rest of the state. Additionally, this will cause an increase to the exempt salary threshold for administrative and executive employees — to $1,200/week or $62,400/year in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and $1,124.20/week or $58,458.40/year in the rest of the state.
  • February 15, 2024 – The statute of limitations for filing administrative claims of unlawful discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law extends from one year to three years (running from the date of the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice). Claims of sexual harassment are already subject to this three-year limitations period.

Continue Reading New year, new laws: Key compliance dates for New York employers

During the height of the #MeToo movement, New York lawmakers passed a host of workplace-related legislation. This included adoption of Section 5-336 of the New York General Obligations Law, which governs the use of nondisclosure provisions in agreements resolving claims of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. On November 17, 2023, Empire State legislators passed several key amendments (the “Amendment”) to the existing law, which took effect immediately.

By way of background, Section 5-336 was originally passed to protect nondisclosure provisions in agreements resolving claims of sexual harassment. Under Section 5-336 and prior to the Amendment, the law prohibited employers from including nondisclosure provisions in such agreements unless it was the employee’s preference and the employer complied with certain procedural requirements, including: (i) the inclusion of the provision is the employee-complainant’s preference; (ii) employee’s receipt of 21 days to consider the nondisclosure provision, a period that could not be shortened or waived (even if the employee wanted to); (iii) a 7-day revocation period; and (iv) employee’s preference for confidentiality memorialized in a separate written agreement.Continue Reading Reminder to New York employers: Amendments to nondisclosure rules will require updates to separation and settlement agreements

As detailed in part one and part two of our multipart series, artificial intelligence (AI) and generative artificial intelligence (GAI) have had a sweeping impact on the U.S. workplace. However, as we will detail in this third and final installment, there are potentially material risks and pitfalls associated with using AI and GAI to assist with various aspects of the employment relationship. We will discuss several of these below.Continue Reading How artificial intelligence is impacting the U.S. workplace (Part III)