On February 8, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court issued Murray v. UBS Securities LLC, No. 22-660, which addressed the proper framework for establishing a whistleblower claim under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). Under SOX, an employee who works for a covered company is protected from retaliation if they disclose information that the employee reasonably
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
On October 26, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board issued a final rule that dramatically lowered the standard for companies to qualify as joint employers. You can read more about the rule here. In short, the new rule provides that even reserved, unexercised, or indirect control, such as through an intermediary, over one or more of the rule’s seven enumerated terms or conditions of employment is sufficient to establish joint employment. There is no doubt that implementation of the new rule will drastically expand when companies will be considered joint employers and create additional costs and obstacles for employers.Continue Reading Dueling challenges to NLRB’s new joint employer rule succeed in extending effective date of rule
We previously alerted employers to California employment law bills that were still alive toward the end of the most recent legislative session. That session ended on September 14, 2023 and Governor Newsom had until October 14, 2023 to either sign, approve without signing, or veto the bills that survived. Below is an update on the fate of these employment law bills so employers will know which ones are slated to become law. The Governor vetoed several noteworthy bills that would have expanded the state’s protected classes, employee work-from-home rights and CalWARN notice requirements. On the other hand, the Governor signed multiple significant employment law bills into law, including those creating increased paid sick leave requirements, expanded re-hiring rights, a new reproductive loss leave, and a new requirement that employers establish a workplace violence prevention plan. Unless otherwise noted, the approved bills will take effect January 1, 2024.Continue Reading California employment law legislative update: bills that will become law in 2024 and beyond
On October 26, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board issued a final rule to replace and essentially reverse the joint employer test issued under the Trump Administration. The new test drastically lowers the standard for companies to qualify as joint employers, making them responsible for labor violations and saddling them with obligations with respect to union negotiations. The final rule, which rescinds and replaces the prior regulation, is set to take effect on December 26, 2023, on a prospective basis only.
The 2020 rule required that a company have “substantial direct and immediate control” over the “essential terms or conditions” of a worker’s employment in order to be held liable as a joint employer. In a major “about face”, the new rule provides that even reserved, unexercised, or indirect control, such as through an intermediary, over one or more terms or conditions of employment is sufficient to establish joint employment. The Board published an “exhaustive list” of seven categories of terms or conditions that it will consider “essential” for purposes of the joint employer inquiry:
- Wages, benefits, and other compensation;
- Hours of work and scheduling;
- Assignment of duties to be performed;
- Supervision of the performed duties;
- Work rules and directions governing the manner, means, and methods of the performance of duties and the grounds for discipline;
- Tenure of the employment, including hiring and discharge; and
- Working conditions related to the safety and health of employees.
Effective March 13, 2024, the salary threshold for certain exemptions under Article 6 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL) will increase from $900 to $1,300 per week. By way of background, Article 6 of the NYLL sets forth employer obligations with respect to pay practices in New York, many of which afford certain wage…
In a series of press releases throughout September 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced enforcement orders against three separate companies for using employment agreements and separation agreements that violated the SEC’s whistleblower protection rule. The orders reflect the SEC’s increased scrutiny of employment agreements and separation agreements under the whistleblower protection rule.
Government agencies are integral to the enforcement of federal labor and employment laws and will be dramatically impacted by a government shutdown. Below is a synopsis of the impact on the main government agencies responsible for enforcing federal labor and employment laws—the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); the Department of Labor (DOL); and the…
The California Legislature had until September 14, 2023, to pass bills in the current Legislative Session before these bills are sent to Governor Newsom to either sign, approve without signing, or veto each bill by October 14, 2023. Several key bills relate specifically to employment law, including expansion of paid sick leave, CalWARN notice requirements…
On September 11, 2023, labor unions and the California restaurant industry reached an agreement that promises to significantly impact the fast-food chains throughout California. This deal involves, among other things, raising the minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 an hour and eliminating an industry-supported referendum scheduled for the 2024 ballot. The deal also…