Last week, the New York State Department of Labor formally adopted an amendment to the Minimum Wage Order for Miscellaneous Industries and Occupations that cuts the tip credit for all miscellaneous industry workers in half effective June 30, 2020. The amendment also eliminates the tip credit completely for miscellaneous industry workers effective December 31, 2020. As we previously reported on this blog, the NYSDOL recommended the elimination of the tip credit for miscellaneous industry workers after holding multiple hearings across the state regarding the impact of tip credits and Gov. Cuomo announced in January that the NYSDOL's recommendation would be implemented in two phases.
On June 24, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 205 (EO 205), which sets forth restricted travel areas within the U.S. for New Yorkers and those traveling to New York. If an individual arrives in New York after having spent more than 24 hours in a restricted area, the individual could be subject to a 14-day quarantine. This quarantine must be carried out in accordance with New York Department of Health (DOH) regulations for self-quarantining, and violators are subject to penalties of up to $10,000. The DOH reports that it will update the list of restricted states weekly. For more information on EO 205 and the DOH guidance, please see our earlier client alert.
On June 8, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final rule to provide some clarity for employers seeking to use the fluctuating workweek method of computing overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The final rule, which is essentially the same as the proposed rule that was issued on November 5, 2019, lists each of the five requirements for using the fluctuating workweek method separately and explicitly states that bonuses, premium payments, and other additional payments of any kind are compatible with the use of the fluctuating workweek method. The final rule becomes effective on August 7.
About one week after the USDOL's fluctuating workweek rule was issued, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (the Federal appellate court with jurisdiction over employers in New York) issued a decision in the case of Thomas et al. v. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. In the Bed Bath & Beyond case, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a collective action filed by a group of Department Managers who alleged that Bed Bath & Beyond had improperly used the fluctuating workweek method to pay them overtime.
On June 10, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (the NLRB or the Board) issued a decision that reversed a 2014 Board decision regarding the test for exercising jurisdiction over faculty members at religious institutions. In Bethany College, the Board held that the test for exercising such jurisdiction that was established by the Board in Pacific Lutheran University was inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals precedent, and restored the test established by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in University of Great Falls v. NLRB.
On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court held in a monumental decision that an employer who discriminates against an employee or applicant based on that individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Earlier this week, in response to a nationwide outcry for police reform, the New York Legislature repealed Civil Rights Law § 50-a, a decades-old statute that largely prohibited the disclosure of police disciplinary records. The justification included the following: “Repeal of § 50-a will help the public regain trust that law enforcement officers and agencies may be held accountable for misconduct.” Governor Cuomo has now signed the new legislation, which takes effect immediately.
As we reported in our recent information memo, COVID-19 has created an evolving immigration environment. The related federal agencies and the White House have responded with a number of temporary policy and procedural changes to help minimize the spread of the virus in the U.S. and to help employers comply with various laws during this extremely challenging time. It remains essential for employers to maintain immigration compliance during the COVID-19 emergency and to take the steps necessary to maintain the nonimmigrant status and work authorization of their foreign national employees. In addition, now that businesses and organizations are beginning to reopen pursuant to government guidelines, employers are advised to keep abreast of the latest legal developments and various obligations they may have over the next few months as we slowly return to our workplaces.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ("OFCCP") approved the use of a revised voluntary self-identification of disability form (Form CC-305) on May 5, 2020. Federal contractors have until August 4, 2020, to implement the new form into their applicant and employee systems and processes.
On May 7, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it will delay the 2019 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection and the 2020 EEO-3 and EEO-5 data collections due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The notice was published in the Federal Register on May 8.
In April 2020, Governor Cuomo signed new laws which amend the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA). First passed in 2011, and amended in 2014, the WTPA mandates that employers provide employees with notices at their time of hire containing pay information and include related pay information on employee pay stubs. The amendments add new requirements to the WTPA notices and pay stubs for employees on public work contracts throughout the state who receive prevailing wage supplements and for home care aides in New York City and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties.
On April 17, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance on COVID-19 in the workplace. The EEOC has been releasing information on the pandemic for employers since mid-March, and the most recent updates to the guidance primarily focus on how employers should accommodate employees during the pandemic as well as how to return individuals to work once the pandemic subsides.
The budget bill signed by Governor Cuomo on April 3, 2020, includes an amendment to the Labor Law that requires New York employers to provide sick leave to employees. The legislation becomes effective 180 days after it was enacted, which appears to be September 30, 2020.