New York Law

New York's Highest Court Upholds "13 Hour Rule" for Home Health Aides Working 24-Hour Shifts

March 28, 2019

By Michael D. Billok and Mary E. Aldridge

On March 26, 2019, the New York State Court of Appeals issued a ruling that will have a significant positive impact on home care agencies across the state.  In a five-to-two decision, the Court upheld the validity of the New York State Department of Labor’s “13 Hour Rule” for cases involving 24-hour live-in care.  Under the “13 Hour Rule,” a residential employee assigned to work a 24-hour shift need only be paid for 13 of those hours, so long as he or she is provided with an 8-hour sleep break and three hours of meal breaks.  (If the employee’s meal breaks are interrupted, or if the employee does not get five uninterrupted hours of sleep, the employer must pay for the entire break.)  Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, participated in the case, representing amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State.

Read More >> New York's Highest Court Upholds "13 Hour Rule" for Home Health Aides Working 24-Hour Shifts

New York Court of Appeals Issues Decision Addressing Public Access to Police Personnel and Disciplinary Records

March 18, 2019

By Christopher T. Kurtz

On December 11, 2018, the New York Court of Appeals issued a decision (over two dissenting opinions) addressing public access to police personnel and disciplinary records.  The Court held that certain personnel records sought by the New York City Civil Liberties Union (“NYCLU”) pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) are exempt from disclosure under New York Civil Rights Law § 50-a and New York Public Officers Law § 87(2)(a).  In doing so, the Court affirmed the decision of the Appellate Division, First Department, and the broad applicability of Civil Rights Law § 50-a to requests for police personnel/disciplinary records.

Read More >> New York Court of Appeals Issues Decision Addressing Public Access to Police Personnel and Disciplinary Records

New York State Department of Labor Drops Proposal Regarding Call-In Pay . . . For Now

March 1, 2019

By Subhash Viswanathan

The New York State Department of Labor announced recently that it does not intend to implement its proposed regulations that would have imposed burdensome requirements on employers to provide call-in pay to employees under a variety of circumstances not currently covered under existing regulations.  The regulations were initially proposed in November 2017, and then were revised in December 2018 after public comments were received and reviewed.  The NYSDOL now intends to let the regulatory process expire with respect to the proposed regulations and potentially revisit this issue in the future.

Read More >> New York State Department of Labor Drops Proposal Regarding Call-In Pay . . . For Now

Reminder: New York Minimum Wage Rates and Salary Thresholds for the Executive and Administrative Exemptions Will Increase on December 31, 2018

December 7, 2018

By Subhash Viswanathan

Although the minimum wage rate under the Fair Labor Standards Act remains $7.25 per hour and the U.S. Department of Labor has not issued any new proposed regulations to raise the minimum salary to qualify for a white-collar exemption under federal law, employers in New York will be required to comply with the new state minimum wage rate and the new state salary threshold to qualify for the executive and administrative exemptions, effective December 31, 2018.

Read More >> Reminder: New York Minimum Wage Rates and Salary Thresholds for the Executive and Administrative Exemptions Will Increase on December 31, 2018

Employers May Be Liable for the Release of Employees' Personally Identifying Information in Data Breaches

December 6, 2018

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

It seems that reports of hackers breaching a business’s security measures to obtain customer information appear on an almost weekly basis.  Unfortunately, businesses need to worry not only about the unauthorized access of customer data by hackers, but also the unauthorized access of sensitive employee information as well.

Read More >> Employers May Be Liable for the Release of Employees' Personally Identifying Information in Data Breaches

New York Issues Final Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Guidelines

October 2, 2018

By Subhash Viswanathan

On October 1, the New York State Division of Human Rights issued its final model sexual harassment policy and training guidelines to assist employers in complying with the new sexual harassment legislation that will become effective October 9, 2018.  One piece of good news for employers is that the Division's final training guidelines no longer require that employers train all employees by January 1, 2019, as the Division initially proposed.  Instead, according to the FAQs, employers will have until October 9, 2019 -- a full 12 months from the effective date of the legislation -- to complete the training for all employees.  In addition, the Division's final training guidelines no longer require that new employees complete the sexual harassment training within 30 calendar days of starting their job.  Instead, the Division's guidelines simply encourage employers to train their new employees "as soon as possible" after beginning employment.

Read More >> New York Issues Final Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Guidelines

Labor Class Civil Service Employees Afforded Job Protection

September 12, 2018

By Craig L. Olivo

On September 7, 2018, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that amended Civil Service Law Section 75.  Pursuant to the amendments, Section 75 now extends hearing rights (i.e., the right to written disciplinary charges and a hearing before imposition of a reprimand, fine, suspension without pay, demotion or termination) to “Labor Class” employees after five years of continuous service.  This is the same protection that has previously been afforded to employees in the Non-Competitive Class after five years of continuous service and employees in the Competitive Class immediately upon permanent appointment.  Prior to this amendment, Labor Class employees had no such protections unless they were veterans or exempt volunteer firefighters.  The amended law is effective immediately.  If you are a public employer and have any Labor Class employees who have completed five years of continuous service, they are now protected pursuant to Section 75.

Read More >> Labor Class Civil Service Employees Afforded Job Protection

New York Issues Proposed Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Guidelines

August 23, 2018

By Subhash Viswanathan

The New York State Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights issued a proposed model sexual harassment policy and training guidelines this afternoon, in order to assist employers in complying with the new sexual harassment legislation that will become effective on October 9, 2018.  Comments regarding the proposed model policy and training guidelines can be submitted on or before September 12, 2018.

Read More >> New York Issues Proposed Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Guidelines

Dr. Dolittle and the Faithless Servant Doctrine in 2018 (So Far)

August 20, 2018

By Howard M. Miller

In his iconic book, The Story of Doctor Dolittle, children’s author Hugh Lofting introduces the world to a mythic animal -- the pushmi-pullyu -- that has two heads on the opposing ends of its body, begging the questions: 1) how does it make up its mind?; and 2) didn’t I once argue an appeal before a panel of them?  As it were, in 2018 the inherent mind-bend of the pushmi-pullyu has seemingly entered into what has heretofore been the steady trajectory of the powerful faithless servant doctrine.

In prior blog articles, we have pointed out the incredible power of the faithless doctrine as a tool for clawing back compensation from disloyal employees while creating an in terrorem deterrent to would–be wrongdoers.  We suggested, based on case law at the time, the doctrine could result not just in a full forfeiture of compensation but also an award of investigative costs.  The doctrine could also be used, in our view, as a means of striking back at serial sexual harassers.   In 2018, the courts have solidified the doctrine in one way but may have retracted it in another.

Read More >> Dr. Dolittle and the Faithless Servant Doctrine in 2018 (So Far)

What is "Employment" in the Gig Economy?

July 2, 2018

By Thomas G. Eron

The task-based business model of the gig economy is transformative in every industry affected, from ride-hailing (Uber, Lyft), to housing rental (Airbnb), to food delivery (Uber Eats, Grubhub), to professional services (Upwork, Guru).  There seemingly is no end to the potential competitive disruption of gig entrepreneurs.  This expansion continues to exert significant pressure on the fundamental question:  are those who complete the tasks or provide the services employees or contractors?  The question is neither new nor novel.  The answer is pivotal to the success of the businesses and the expectations of the service providers and business owners.

Read More >> What is "Employment" in the Gig Economy?