As we previously reported here, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) issued final regulations in September 2016 imposing new notice and consent requirements on employers who pay wages via direct deposit and debit card. The regulations, which were scheduled to take effect on March 7, 2017, have been invalidated and revoked by the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals (“IBA”) which recently issued a decision finding, among other things, that the NYSDOL’s regulations exceeded its rulemaking authority by imposing restrictions on financial institutions.
Just days after Cook County passed its Paid Sick Leave Ordinance on October 5, 2016, several Cook County suburbs began the process of opting out of the law. So far, four have successfully done so. On November 15, 2016, Barrington was the first to pass its own municipal ordinance opting out of Cook County’s Ordinance, which requires all employers in Cook County to allow eligible employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave each year. Oak Forest, Rosemont, and Bedford Park passed their own opt-out ordinances on December 13, December 15, 2016, and January 12, 2017, respectively.
Organized labor in the United States has experienced a steady decline in the last several decades, from a peak union membership rate of 35% during the mid-1950s to 10.7% in the year 2016. For the private sector, the decline has been even more precipitous: a mere 6.4% of private sector workers in the U.S. were members of a union in 2016.
On February 1, 2017, Iowa Congressman Steve King (R-IA) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced a bill into the U.S. House of Representatives that would likely deal a crippling blow to already weakened organized labor in the U.S.: the National Right-to-Work Act (H.R. 825). The full text of the bill is available here. A Senate counterpart will be introduced shortly.
President Donald Trump signaled an ideological shift in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and National Labor Relations Board, through two new appointments, during his first week in office. President Trump appointed Republicans Victoria Lipnic, and Philip A. Miscimarra, as acting chairpersons for the EEOC and NLRB, respectively. Both Lipnic and Miscimarra appear disposed to pursue more business-friendly labor policies than their Democratic predecessors.
The last two weeks in Washington have been very eventful in the immigration field. In light of the travel restrictions recently imposed by the President’s executive order, we are now advising our U.S. clients who have foreign national employees in the U.S. and who hold nationality from a country that has been the subject of significant security concerns to consider remaining in the U.S. until the State Department and DHS announce new procedures for applying for travel visas using additional background checks. In some cases, foreign nationals may have to file an extension of status with USCIS in the U.S. to allow them to remain longer. In other cases, it may be impractical for individuals to stay, but they should know that they risk being unable to return for at least several months if they depart. Affected clients should consult with counsel first.
On January 13, 2017, the United States Supreme Court consolidated and granted review of the three following cases involving the legality of arbitration agreements which contain class action waivers: National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., from the 5th Circuit, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, from the 7th Circuit, and Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris, from the 9th Circuit.
The NLRB, most notably with its 2012 decision in D.R. Horton, has routinely held that arbitration agreements containing class action waivers violate employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The courts, however, have taken a variety of stances on the issue, and these three cases present the Supreme Court with an opportunity to resolve an issue that has divided the Circuits.
Last year the New York legislature and New York Department of Labor amended several employment laws implementing changes that took effect at the end of 2016 or are set to take effect early this year. This post summarizes the new and updated legal requirements included in those amendments to help New York employers comply in 2017.
As of January 1, 2017, nineteen states now have a new minimum wage in effect:
Last year New Jersey state and local legislatures implemented several employment laws and ordinances that are set to take effect in 2017. This update summarizes these new legal requirements to help New Jersey employers prepare and comply in 2017.
On December 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued a critical decision in Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., 2016 D.J. 12608 (2016), relating to California’s rest period obligations. The California Supreme Court declared that state law prohibits on-duty and on-call rest periods. It stated that employers must (1) relieve their employees of all duties during rest periods and (2) relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time. However, the decision did not end there. The California Supreme Court examined a number of related considerations, including the practical limitations created by a ten-minute rest period, policies that place restrictions on employees during rest periods, the circumstances under which premium payments may be due for missed rest periods, and the possibility of rescheduling or restarting rest periods when they cannot be provided or are interrupted.