New Legislation Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based on Reproductive Health Decision Making

November 22, 2019

By Stephanie H. Fedorka

On November 8, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that provides certain protections for employees based on “reproductive health decision making.”  Under the new legislation, which is codified in New York Labor Law Section 203-e, “reproductive health decision making” includes, but is not limited to, “the decision to use or access a particular drug, device or medical service" related to reproductive health.  Simply put, employers in New York cannot take adverse employment actions against employees based on decisions such as obtaining fertility-related medical procedures, using birth control drugs or contraceptive devices, or having an abortion.

Read More >> New Legislation Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based on Reproductive Health Decision Making

The USDOL Issues a Proposed Rule to Clarify and Amend the Fluctuating Workweek Method of Overtime Compensation

November 13, 2019

By Subhash Viswanathan

On November 5, the U.S. Department of Labor published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to provide some clarity for employers that seek to use the fluctuating workweek method of overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The proposed amendment lists each of the five requirements for using the fluctuating workweek method separately, instead of including all of the requirements in paragraph form as the current regulation does.  The proposed amendment also includes additional language not currently contained in the regulation, explicitly stating that bonuses, premium payments, and other additional payments of any kind are not incompatible with the use of the fluctuating workweek method of computing overtime.

Read More >> The USDOL Issues a Proposed Rule to Clarify and Amend the Fluctuating Workweek Method of Overtime Compensation

STEM OPT Site Visits – Why ICE Is Knocking On Your Door Now

October 11, 2019

By Joanna L. Silver

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) latest compliance activity involves site visits of those employers who employ F-1 nonimmigrant students under STEM Optional Practical Training (“STEM OPT”) work authorization.  With STEM OPT, F-1 students who have earned STEM (e.g., science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education can apply for and obtain an additional 24 months of OPT work authorization in addition to the 1 year of post-graduation OPT granted to all eligible F-1 students.

Read More >> STEM OPT Site Visits – Why ICE Is Knocking On Your Door Now

Proposed Rule Would Preclude Undergraduate and Graduate Students from Union Organizing

October 4, 2019

By Robert F. Manfredo

On September 23, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that addresses the long-standing issue of whether undergraduate and graduate students who perform services for compensation (including teaching or research) at private colleges and universities can form a union under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  Under the proposed rule, student workers would not be able to organize based on the Board’s position that such individuals do not meet the definition of “employee” under Section 2(3) of the NLRA because their relationships with their colleges and universities are predominantly educational, not economic.

Read More >> Proposed Rule Would Preclude Undergraduate and Graduate Students from Union Organizing

USDOL Issues Final Regulations to Increase the Salary Level to Qualify for the White Collar Exemptions

October 1, 2019

By Subhash Viswanathan

On September 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor published its final regulations in the Federal Register to increase the minimum weekly salary to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act white collar exemptions from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $684 per week ($35,568 per year).  These new regulations become effective on January 1, 2020.

Read More >> USDOL Issues Final Regulations to Increase the Salary Level to Qualify for the White Collar Exemptions

NLRB Adopts Employer-Friendly "Contract Coverage" Standard for Determining Whether Unilateral Changes Violate the NLRA

September 13, 2019

By Justin A. Reyes

On September 10, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board issued a favorable decision that makes it easier for employers to demonstrate that a unilateral change in terms and conditions of employment was permitted by the collective bargaining agreement.  In M.V. Transportation, Inc., a three-member majority of the Board (over one dissent) abandoned its previous "clear and unmistakable waiver" standard and adopted the more lenient "contract coverage" standard.

Read More >> NLRB Adopts Employer-Friendly "Contract Coverage" Standard for Determining Whether Unilateral Changes Violate the NLRA

New York Increases Employment Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

September 4, 2019

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

On August 20, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an amendment to the New York Human Rights Law which grants additional employment protections to victims of domestic violence, similar to those already provided by the New York City Human Rights Law.  Beginning on November 18, 2019, employers in New York State will be required to provide certain reasonable accommodations to employees who are victims of domestic violence or parents of children who are victims of domestic violence.

Read More >> New York Increases Employment Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

The NLRB Publishes Proposed Rules Amending Procedures in Representation Cases

August 15, 2019

By Justin A. Reyes

On August 12, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) published proposed rules with the goal of protecting “employees’ statutory right of free choice on questions concerning representation.”  The proposed rules would amend three Board policies and practices that are not currently set forth in its rules and regulations:  (1) the “blocking charge policy”; (2) the “voluntary recognition bar”; and (3) the standard of proof required to convert a Section 8(f) collective bargaining relationship into a Section 9(a) bargaining relationship in the construction industry.

Read More >> The NLRB Publishes Proposed Rules Amending Procedures in Representation Cases

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Amending the Human Rights Law

August 13, 2019

By Theresa E. Rusnak and Subhash Viswanathan

On August 12, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the legislation that was passed by the New York State Assembly and Senate on June 19, 2019, making sweeping changes to the New York Human Rights Law. We previously posted a summary of the significant amendments to the Human Rights Law and the potential impact that these amendments could have on the litigation of discrimination and harassment claims filed with the Division of Human Rights and in court. The legislation does not apply retroactively, so only future claims under the Human Rights Law will be affected.

Read More >> Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Amending the Human Rights Law

The Sound of Silence: Seventh Circuit Holds That Undocumented Misconduct is Still Misconduct

August 5, 2019

By Howard M. Miller

If you’ve had occasion to converse with a management-side employment lawyer (and somehow survived it), it seems the edict of documenting performance issues is tattooed on his/her forehead. I must confess in my own supervisor training I have warned that, in essence, “if it’s not in writing, it did not happen” (at least for purposes of trying to get a case dismissed on a motion for summary judgment). I still believe that documentation is always the safest course, but can an employer still fire an employee for a series of undocumented incidents and avoid having to go to trial when the employee disputes them? The Seventh Circuit has answered this question in the affirmative.

Read More >> The Sound of Silence: Seventh Circuit Holds That Undocumented Misconduct is Still Misconduct