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

Recent New York Legislation Prohibits Employers From Threatening to Report an Employee's Suspected Immigration Status in Retaliation for Labor Law Complaints

July 31, 2019

By Subhash Viswanathan

New York has for many years had a law on the books that prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee because the employee has complained about an alleged violation of the wage and hour laws.  Specifically, New York Labor Law Section 215 states that an employer may not "discharge, threaten, penalize, or in any other manner discriminate or retaliate against any employee" because the employee complained of an alleged violation of the Labor Law or otherwise cooperated with a Department of Labor or Attorney General investigation regarding an alleged violation of the Labor Law.

On July 29, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation amending the statute to specify that the phrase "threaten, penalize, or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against any employee" includes threatening to contact or contacting United States immigration authorities or otherwise reporting or threatening to report the citizenship or suspected immigration status of an employee or an employee's family member.  The legislation is effective 90 days after the date on which the Governor signed it.

Read More >> Recent New York Legislation Prohibits Employers From Threatening to Report an Employee's Suspected Immigration Status in Retaliation for Labor Law Complaints

New Federal Pay Equity Reporting Imposed by EEOC -- Bond Webinar to Unpack the Requirements and Obligations

July 24, 2019

By Thomas G. Eron

On July 15, 2019, the EEOC issued the final protocols for enhanced EEO-1 reporting. Most private sector employers with 100 or more employees are now required to report, on or before September 30, 2019, pay and hours data on all employees for 2017 and 2018 by job category, gender, race, and ethnicity. Initially launched as part of the Obama administration’s initiative to address pay equity, the EEO-1 Component 2 requirements will impose short term burdens and potential long term risks for many employers.

Read More >> New Federal Pay Equity Reporting Imposed by EEOC -- Bond Webinar to Unpack the Requirements and Obligations

New York Amends the Human Rights Law to Prohibit Discrimination Based on Traits Historically Associated With Race (Such As Hair Texture and Protective Hairstyles)

July 22, 2019

By Subhash Viswanathan

On July 12, Governor Cuomo signed a bill amending the New York Human Rights Law to prohibit employment discrimination based on "traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles."  The term "protective hairstyles" includes, but is not limited to, "such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists."  This amendment took effect immediately upon the Governor's signature.

Read More >> New York Amends the Human Rights Law to Prohibit Discrimination Based on Traits Historically Associated With Race (Such As Hair Texture and Protective Hairstyles)

Federal Court Holds That New York Law Prohibiting Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims Is Invalid

July 15, 2019

By Kaveh Dabashi

In 2018, Governor Cuomo signed a State Budget bill that included various provisions addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.  Among those provisions was a prohibition on including in any written contract a clause requiring the submission of sexual harassment claims to arbitration, except where inconsistent with federal law.  On June 26, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held, in Latif v. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, that this New York law prohibiting mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims is inconsistent with the Federal Arbitration Act and is therefore invalid.

Read More >> Federal Court Holds That New York Law Prohibiting Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims Is Invalid

Employment Law Through the Philosophy of a Martial Arts Practitioner

July 12, 2019

By Howard M. Miller

The other night I found myself in a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu class with a 250-pound musclebound gentleman sitting on my chest trying to do rather unkind things to my neck and vulnerable joints.  While this was certainly not the most opportune time to be thinking about how to parlay this situation into a blog article, it did occur to me that the crushing weight on my chest and the attendant loss of oxygen therefrom, is how many of my clients must feel in the day-to-day trenches of the modern-day digital world of human resources.

The situation also gave me pause (again, not at the best time) to think about what life lessons I have learned from many years of training in different styles of martial arts (other than how to tape deformed fingers and that a bag of frozen peas works wonders on bruised ribs).  Upon further reflection, I realized that I do in fact incorporate many of the philosophies that underlie martial arts into my employment law practice.  I share those pearls of wisdom below.

Read More >> Employment Law Through the Philosophy of a Martial Arts Practitioner