In New York, a large number of wage and hour requirements are statutorily codified in the Labor Law. Many others requirements, however, are set forth in regulations known as wage orders, which are issued and updated from time-to-time by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL).  The NYSDOL publishes wage orders covering the hospitality, building service, nonprofit, agricultural, and miscellaneous (i.e., all other) industries.  Adherence to the statutory Labor Law, but not to the wage orders, can have disastrous consequences.

To that end, on the morning of December 28, 2016, the NYSDOL finalized amendments to each of the wage orders that will have a tremendous impact on how New York employers pay their workers. The finalized wage orders, which are unchanged from the proposed orders published by the NYSDOL in mid-October, take effect in just three days, on December 31.
Continue Reading NY Dept of Labor Finalizes Major Changes to Wage Regulations

In New York, a large number of wage and hour requirements are statutorily codified in the Labor Law. Many others requirements, however, are set forth in regulations known as wage orders, which are issued and updated from time-to-time by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL).  The NYSDOL publishes wage orders covering the hospitality,

In part I of this two part series reviewing the employment law class of 2017 we focused on developments in discrimination, anti-retaliation and discharge, hiring and background checks, and workplace health and safety. In part II we will focus on developments in wage and hour law, leave laws, industry-specific regulations, and California’s recent legislation affecting choice-of-law in employment contracts. Similar to the laws featured in part I, a majority of these laws amend previous employment legislation. This trend demonstrates that the 2016 legislative session focused more on expanding and addressing lingering questions that stem from existing workplace mandates, than creating new rights under California law. As the majority of the laws take effect on January 1, 2017, HR departments and employment counsel are off and running, to get employers prepared for a new year of implementation.
Continue Reading California’s Employment Law Class of 2017 (Part II): The Laws, Their Effects and Some Recommendations for Compliance

The Southern District of New York (SDNY) recently announced a new pilot mediation program for cases filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Effective October 3, 2016, any federal wage and hour cases that are assigned to Judges Abrams, Bricetti, Carter, Daniels, Ramos, Sebel, and Woods, will be ordered directly to mediation. The mediation will take place before the initial scheduling conference, and must occur within 60 days of the order to mediate. This automatic referral to mediation for FLSA cases is similar to the program the SDNY has had in place since 2011 for all employment discrimination cases.

In light of the upcoming December 1, 2016, deadline to implement the Department of Labor’s new overtime pay requirements for white collar workers, discussed here, employers should expect an increase in wage and hour litigation. Early mediation is often an excellent tool for expedient case resolution and management.
Continue Reading New York Federal Court Pilots Mandatory Mediation Program for FLSA Cases

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) recently finalized a new rule that significantly changes how employers pay their employees through direct deposit and payroll debit cards. Even though the new regulation does not go into effect until March 7, 2017, Empire State employers should begin preparing for the effective date now, especially for employees paid by direct deposit.
Continue Reading NY Makes Significant Changes to Employers’ Use of Direct Deposit and Payroll Cards

With summer 2016 almost behind us, employers should begin to plan for the major labor and employment law trends expected to emerge in the final quarter of the year and into 2017. In the first part of this two-part series, we will take a look at some of the principal trends likely to be shaped by federal regulators.

  • Wage & Hour Class Actions Will Remain Hot. On December 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) changes to the salary threshold for exempt employees will increase the number of workers eligible for minimum wage and overtime payments. Specifically, the salary threshold for exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees will increase to $47,476 per year (or $913/week), meaning that salaried employees earning less than this amount, regardless of job duties, must be compensated for overtime work. This will undoubtedly result in an increase in wage and hour class actions in the coming years.

In addition, the DOL and other administrative agencies, as well as the plaintiffs’ bar, remain intently focused on independent contractor misclassification, especially following the DOL’s July 2015 guidance proclaiming that most U.S. workers should be classified as employees. Bring-your-own-device policies will also continue to lead to claims of unpaid overtime work.


Continue Reading Emerging Labor & Employment Law Trends (Part 1)

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) recently published a proposed rule governing how employers pay their employees through direct deposit and payroll debit cards. While the majority of the proposed rule focuses on new requirements regarding the use of payroll cards, the proposal, if adopted, would also effectively require every Empire State employer to obtain re-authorizations for direct deposit from all affected employees.

Requirements for Direct Deposit

New York law already prohibits employers from paying their employees through direct deposit without first obtaining the employees’ advance written consent. With the proposed rule, the NYSDOL seeks to add additional requirements regarding the use of direct deposit consent forms. First and foremost, the form would need to be provided in English and in the primary language of the employee, and must contain:

Continue Reading NY Dept of Labor Proposes Drastic Changes to Employers’ Use of Direct Deposit and Payroll Cards

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its highly anticipated final revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) so-called “white collar” exemptions, the first major update to the federal overtime rules in more than a decade. Although the final rule is somewhat similar to the proposed rule published by the DOL last summer,

The New York City Council, long-known for pushing the envelope when it comes to employment legislation, is at it again. The legislature is poised, in the near future, to pass a first-of-its-kind bill that would require written agreements between independent contractors and the entities that engage them (the Bill). The Bill would also impose substantial penalties on businesses that fail to comply with this and other requirements surrounding the independent contractor relationship.

Specifically, the Bill would require most entities that engage an independent contractor for $200 or more in services to execute a written agreement with the contractor before the contracted-for work begins. Such agreement must be written in plain language, in a dialect understood by both parties, and include, at a minimum:
Continue Reading NYC Mulls Bill Requiring Written Independent Contractor Agreements

Each year, the California legislature – historically the most active of state regulators – reexamines the relationship between employers and their workforces and emerges with a multitude of employment law protections. 2015 was no exception. Lawmakers created novel and expansive measures, affecting companies throughout the state in varying degrees. Some of the laws, most of which take effect January 1, 2016, are reactions to cases decided, while others are sweeping remedies to historic and longstanding issues.

As we close out 2015, we prepare for 2016, by providing an overview of specific areas of employment law (discrimination/anti-retaliation/discharge; wage and hour; leave laws), the effect the new laws will have on employers, and some basic recommendations to help prepare for compliance. Our recommendations are limited, as the impact of these new laws are yet unknown.

Continue Reading California’s Employment Law Class of 2016: The Laws, Their Effects and Our Recommendations for Compliance