Archives: Employment & Labor (U.S.)

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New York City Council gives the green light to a ban on marijuana testing for job applicants

On April 9, 2019, New York City Council passed a bill amending the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), to bar NYC employers from testing prospective employees for marijuana use. The Bill comes in the wake of the City’s efforts to reduce the legal consequences of marijuana use, including reducing arrests and prosecutions for … Continue Reading

New York provides employees with additional hour of paid time off to vote

Though the business community might not have had a vote in it, New York legislators have amended the State’s election laws to provide employees with an additional hour of paid time off to vote on election days. Until recently, New York law required employers to provide workers with up to two hours of paid time … Continue Reading

Are non-NYC employees subject to the City’s new sexual harassment prevention training law?

By now, our readers are aware that New York State and City law require annual workplace sexual harassment prevention training. The State law requiring such training took effect last October, and mandates that employers complete the initial training by October 9, 2019. The separate City law became effective just a few weeks ago, on April … Continue Reading

New York’s highest court holds that home health aides are not entitled to 24-hour pay

Recently, New York’s highest state court, the Court of Appeals, held that the New York Labor Law (NYLL) does not automatically entitle New York home health care providers to wages for each hour worked during a 24-hour shift. The ruling is the result of an appeal of two state court class actions in which home … Continue Reading

Tell everybody: Confidentiality clauses may violate employees’ section 7 rights

In a recent decision issued on March 21, 2019, an administrative law judge (ALJ) held that confidentiality clauses in arbitration agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act (the Act). Specifically, the ALJ held that such provisions run afoul of section 8(a)(1) of the Act, and unlawfully require a waiver of employees’ rights under section 7 … Continue Reading

Not so fast … New York City Council proposes ban on no-cause firings

A New York City Council member recently proposed an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) that would restrict fast food establishments from firing employees without “just cause.” The purported reason for this amendment is to provide more job security to fast food workers. The bill defines “just cause” as an “employee’s … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit holds that comparators in discrimination cases must be “similarly situated in all material respects”

On March 21, 2019, the full en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit clarified that in order to establish a prima facie case of workplace discrimination through alleged preferential treatment of a comparator outside the plaintiff’s protected class, a plaintiff must show that the alleged comparator is “similarly situated in all material … Continue Reading

New Jersey bans NDAs and certain waivers of rights in agreements with employees

On March 18, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed new legislation (S121) that significantly impacts the scope of certain employment agreements and settlement agreements between employers and employees/former employees. The controversial legislation addresses the following: Ban on waiver of substantive and procedural rights in employment contracts related to discrimination, harassment or retaliation claims The … Continue Reading

New York City Commission on Human Rights issues new guidance on race discrimination on the basis of hairstyle

On February 19, 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) issued new enforcement guidance regarding (1) policies that place restrictions, or ban, naturally curly hair, dreadlocks, braids and cornrows, among other hairstyles; or (2) neutral grooming policies that are discriminatorily applied to employees based on aspects of their appearance associated with race. … Continue Reading

Governor Pritzker signs law to increase Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025

On February 19, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a proposed bill to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The bill, known as “Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act,” sets incremental increases to the state’s hourly minimum wage for employees 18 years or older as follows: (i) $9.25 … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit judge asserts Title VII does not prohibit sexual orientation and transgender discrimination

On February 6, 2019, the Fifth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of an employer on claims that it discriminated against the plaintiff based on her transgender status. In Wittmer v. Phillips 66 Company, the plaintiff sued Phillips 66 Company for sex discrimination under Title VII in the Southern District of Texas, claiming that the … Continue Reading

California on call shifts may qualify for paid reporting time pay

In a recent decision involving retail store employees, the Second Appellate District Court held that employees subject to on-call scheduling must be paid reporting time pay, even when the employee only has to make a short call to determine if they are needed, but does not physically report to work. The case, Skylar Ward v. … Continue Reading

Time to reconsider California employee non-solicitation provisions

California has long been known as a state that bans post-employment non-compete and customer non-solicitation agreements for its employees, absent very limited exceptions related to the sale of a business and trade secret protection. Employee non-solicitation provisions were believed to be the last post-employment restrictive covenant that California law still generally allowed, assuming they were … Continue Reading

National Mediation Board proposes simplifying decertification under the Railway Labor Act

On January 31, 2019, the three-member National Mediation Board (NMB), which oversees labor relations for the airline and railroad industries, published a proposed rule-making to simplify the process for workers covered by the Railway Labor Act (RLA) to decertify the unions representing them. Currently, RLA-represented employees seeking to decertify a union must identify an individual … Continue Reading

New York Federal Court lays down the law: Employees cannot invoke NYCHRL’s broad protections when impact of discrimination is felt outside NYC

In Amaya v. Ballyshear LLC, et al., a case before a New York Federal District Court, Nelly Amaya, a Long Island resident, alleged that her former employers engaged in unlawful discrimination and retaliation, in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). Amaya’s employers argued that Amaya failed to show that their alleged … Continue Reading

NLRB returns to more employer-friendly independent contractor test

In a recent decision involving SuperShuttle drivers, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) overruled a 2014 decision making it less likely a worker would be deemed an independent contractor, returning to the more employer-friendly common law test to determine independent contractor status. In 2014, the Board purported to clarify the standard for evaluating … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit limits ADEA’s scope, but beware state law

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reversed its prior decision and upheld an Illinois district court ruling that the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) does not protect job applicants from disparate impact claims. But beware, as this seemingly apparent win for employers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin may drive … Continue Reading

San Francisco increases costs and requirements for employers in 2019

San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) continues to raise the cost of doing business at the foot of the Golden Gate by requiring employers to provide some of the most generous benefits to employees in the United States. The OLSE has amended certain of its rules regarding employer obligations, and will begin enforcing … Continue Reading

NYC Council enacts new protections for employees’ sexual and reproductive health decisions

This week, the New York City Council passed new amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law, which prohibit employment discrimination, discriminatory harassment and violence on the basis of an individual’s sexual and reproductive health decisions. A copy of the new, amended law can be found here. The amended law defines “sexual and reproductive … Continue Reading

NLRB clarifies standard for protected concerted activity

On January 11, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board clarified and narrowed the standard for finding that an employee engaged in protected concerted activities under the National Labor Relations Act. See Alstate Maintenance, LLC, 367 NLRB No. 68 (2019). In doing so, the board overturned a 2011 decision – WorldMark by Wyndham, 356 NLRB 765 … Continue Reading

High court finds independent contractor truck drivers excluded from FAA

On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court found that truck drivers classified as independent contractors cannot be compelled to arbitrate their claims under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). See New Prime, Inc. v. Oliveira, No. 17-340, 2019 WL 189342 (U.S. Jan. 15, 2019). This decision has significant ramifications for transportation industry companies that … Continue Reading

Divided D.C. Circuit panel largely upholds the NLRB’s Browning-Ferris decision and challenges the Board’s authority to conduct rulemaking

On December 28, 2018, a divided D.C. Circuit panel affirmed, in part, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s or Board’s) Browning-Ferris joint-employer analysis. See Browning-Ferris Indus. of Cal., Inc. v. NLRB, No. 16-1028 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 28, 2018). The D.C. Circuit’s decision marks the latest chapter in the NLRB’s ever-shifting joint-employer standard. At issue on … Continue Reading

NYC employers must provide lactation rooms effective March 2019

Beginning March 18, 2019, New York City employers with four or more employees will be required to provide lactation rooms to employees upon request. Specifically, under two bills recently passed by New York City Council (Int. No. 879-A and Int. No. 905-A), New York City employers must: Upon request, provide a lactation room and a … Continue Reading

End of year reminder for NY employers: NYC’s cooperative dialogue law is in effect

On October 15, 2018, the New York City Human Rights Law (CHRL) was amended to require employers to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with individuals who may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the CHRL. Whereas federal and state laws require an “interactive process” to determine a reasonable accommodation, the CHRL requires that employers … Continue Reading
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