Update: New York Paid Family Leave Law Becomes Effective on January 1, 2018

As we previously reported, New York State adopted the New York Paid Family Leave Law (“Paid Leave Law”) back in April 2016. The Paid Leave Law, which requires employers in New York State to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave benefits to employees, becomes effective beginning on January 1, 2018. With the effective date fast approaching, this article will provide an overview of key aspects of the Paid Leave Law in order to help employers as they attempt to comply with the new requirements of the Law. Continue Reading

New York Mayor Expands Paid Sick Leave Law: Employers Required to Provide Paid ‘Safe Leave’ for Abuse Victims

Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the “Earned Safe and Sick Time Act” into law. The new law, which will take effect on May 5, 2018, expands the purposes for which employees may use sick leave, broadens the definition of covered family members, and imposes new notice and recordkeeping requirements on employers. The law does not increase the total amount of leave employees are entitled to under the city’s existing sick leave ordinance. Continue Reading

Yoga and Massage Therapist Fired for Being “Too Cute” Sees Gender Discrimination Claim Revived on Grounds of Unjustified Spousal Jealousy

A New York appeals court recently ruled in Edwards v. Nicolai (153 A.D.3d 440 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t 2017)) that an employment termination motivated by the sexual jealousy of an employer’s spouse may support a claim for gender discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) and the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). Continue Reading

The Latest Turn in the Travel Ban Road

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the latest district court decisions involving the President’s so-called travel ban, in which a Hawaii court fully enjoined the proclamation, while a Maryland court allowed it to stand as to travelers without bona fide ties to the U.S. The Hawaii court’s order meant that Travel Ban 3.0 was put on hold. Continue Reading

In January, Will You be Able to Board Your Domestic Flight With Your Current Driver’s License?

BACKGROUND

In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act, enacting national standards for obtaining state driver’s licenses and I.D. cards. These federally mandated standards require states to use enhanced security features and identification procedures, and to review documentary evidence of legal status, before issuing a driver’s license or identity document. The Act requires that only individuals with a Real-ID-compliant identity document may (1) access federal facilities; (2) enter nuclear power plants; or (3) board commercial aircrafts for domestic flights. Continue Reading

House Approves Save Local Business Act – Bill To Overturn Controversial Joint Employer Ruling

Yesterday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Save Local Business Act” (H.R. 3441 – Bryne), legislation that would amend the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act to limit joint employer liability. The bill advanced to the Senate by a 242-181 vote. For more information on the bill, see our September 19, 2017 post. For a fact sheet on the bill from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce click here. Sheppard Mullin will continue to track the bill’s progress and keep you updated here on any important changes at the Senate level.

Promoting Wellness, Not Litigation

With ever-increasing employer health care costs, it’s not surprising that Workplace Wellness Programs are becoming more common and comprehensive. According to Fidelity Investment’s fifth annual wellness survey, 95% of companies plan to offer some kind of health improvement program for their employees, and plan to spend an average of $594 per employee on wellness-based incentives. In a bid to reduce health care costs, and protect employees and customers from illness, many employers have implemented coercive, or even mandatory Workplace Wellness Programs. When these programs make employee participation a term and condition of employment, employers must administer them with care or risk violating federal, state and/or local employment laws. Continue Reading

New York’s Highest Court Narrowly Construes New York City Human Rights Law To Bar Disability Discrimination Claims Based on Perceived Alcoholism

Last month, New York’s highest court took the unprecedented step of construing the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) more narrowly than its state and federal counterparts to bar plaintiffs’ city law disability discrimination claims. Answering a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the New York Court of Appeals in Makinen v. City of New York, Nos. 16-973-cv(L), 16-1080-cv(XAP), 2017 WL 4621717 (N.Y. Oct. 17, 2017) held that two former New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) officers could not sustain disability discrimination claims on the basis of “perceived untreated alcoholism,” even though such claims would be recognized under the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Continue Reading

Short Rest Breaks are Compensable Under the FLSA

This month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to compensate employees for all rest breaks of twenty minutes or less.

Background

American Future Systems arose from a suit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) on behalf of former employees of publishing company American Future Systems, Inc. dba Progressive Business Publications (“Progressive”) under the FLSA. Progressive employed sales representatives who were paid by the hour and received bonuses based on the number of sales made while they were logged onto their work computers. These employees were previously subject to a policy which gave them two fifteen-minute paid breaks per day, however, Progressive eliminated the policy in favor of a so-called “flexible time” policy under which they could log-off their work computers at any time, for any reason. Although employees were free to take as many breaks as they wanted, they were not paid for these breaks if they were logged off for more than a minute and a half, including short breaks spent in the bathroom or getting coffee.

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California Governor Approves Three More Employment Laws: “Ban The Box”; Expansion of Sexual Harassment Training; and Contractors Liable for Subcontractors’ Wage and Benefit Obligations

The deadline for California Governor Jerry Brown to sign new bills into law officially expired October 15, 2017. In addition to signing five bills last week, the Governor signed three more employment-related bills into law over the weekend relating to the use of job applicants’ criminal history, the required components of sexual harassment training, and the liability of building contractors for their subcontractors’ failure to pay wages, fringe benefits, or other benefit payments. The three new laws all become effective on January 1, 2018. Continue Reading

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