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Brian Murphy is a partner in the Labor and Employment practice group and is based in the New York office.

As we previously reported, New York State’s Paid Sick Leave law (“NYSPSL”) went into effect on September 30, 2020.  While employees are not permitted to take sick leave under NYSPSL until January 1, 2021, many questions remain regarding employers’ obligations under the law.  On October 21, in the midst of this interim period, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYS DOL”) published a set of FAQs addressing some of the ambiguities in the law, but perhaps raising others. Key takeaways are summarized below.
Continue Reading New York State Releases First Guidance on New Paid Sick Leave Law

As we previously reported, among the sweeping pieces of legislation signed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was New York State’s permanent sick leave law (“NYSPSL”). Under NYSPSL, all New York State employers are required to provide sick leave. Eligible employees may begin accruing sick leave as of September 30, 2020, but are not entitled to use any accrued sick leave pursuant to this law until January 1, 2021.
Continue Reading Reminder: Accrual Requirements Under New York State’s New Paid Sick Leave Law Effective September 30, 2020

On September 22, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) released a long-awaited proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) providing guidance for determining employee versus independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  For decades, employers have struggled with properly classifying workers, oftentimes resulting in substantial liability for, among other things, unpaid overtime and unpaid payroll taxes.  If adopted, the Proposed Rule may make it easier for employers to classify workers as independent contractors.
Continue Reading Independent Contractor v. Employee: DOL Releases Proposed Rule Clarifying Test for Classification of Workers

On April 3, 2020, Governor Cuomo passed Assembly Bill A9506B, which will grant most New Yorkers paid sick leave annually, building on temporary requirements the state adopted in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The paid sick leave mandate, which was adopted as part of the FY 2021 Executive Budget, will take effect in January 2021. Key provisions are as follows:
Continue Reading New York State Passes Guaranteed Sick Leave for Working New Yorkers Beyond COVID-19

On June 26, 2019, Southern District of New York Judge Denise Cote granted a motion to compel arbitration of a plaintiff’s sexual harassment claims finding that the New York State prohibition on mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). As we mentioned in our blog upon this law’s enactment, the United States Supreme Court has routinely held that state laws expressly identifying a category of non-arbitrable state law claims are preempted by the FAA. In Latif v. Morgan Stanley & Co., the Southern District followed the Supreme Court and found the New York ban on mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims unenforceable.
Continue Reading Southern District of New York Invalidates State Ban on Mandatory Arbitration of Harassment and Discrimination

On March 7, 2019, the United States Department of Labor (“USDOL”) issued its long-awaited proposed rule that would increase the minimum salary threshold to qualify for exemption from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) from their current level of $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $679 per week ($35,308 annually). The proposed rule would also raise the threshold for “highly-compensated employees” from $100,000 annually to $147,414 per year. It is anticipated that the changes will extend overtime coverage to approximately one million United States workers. The proposed rule will be subject to a period of public comment and is anticipated to take effect in January 2020.
Continue Reading United States Department of Labor Issues Final Rule Concerning Minimum Salary Threshold to Qualify for Exemption from Overtime Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Court’s opinion in Scott v. Chipotle Mexican Grill demonstrates how employers can successfully combat class action claims that employees were misclassified as exempt. The successful defense of the class certification motion relied chiefly on deposition and declaration testimony to highlight inconsistencies, variations, and individualized inquiries that prevented resolution of the claims at issue on a class-wide basis.
Continue Reading Sheppard Mullin Secures Major Victory for Chipotle in Nationwide Misclassification Action By Demonstrating Variations Among Proposed Class Members

On July 9, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its opinion in Torres et al. v. Gristedes Operating Corp. et al., Case No. 11-4035, affirming the Southern District of New York’s imposition of individual “employer” liability on New York City mayoral candidate and supermarket owner and executive John Catsimatidis for settlement payments arising from a Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) class action litigation. The issue the Court faced was whether Catsimatidis was an “employer” within the meaning of Section 203(d) of the FLSA or Section 190(3) of the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”).
Continue Reading Second Circuit Imposes Individual Liability on New York Mayoral Candidate for Fair Labor Standards Act Settlement

On May 29, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its opinion in Cuevas v. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. and RBS Citizens, N.A., Case No. 12-2832, reversing the Eastern District of New York’s grant of Rule 23 class certification to a putative class of Assistant Branch Managers (“ABMs”) alleging that they were denied overtime. In a summary order, the Court held that the District Court failed to resolve factual disputes concerning the duties performed by putative class members, which were material to its ability to issue a ruling concerning commonality under Rule 23(a) and predominance under Rule 23(b)(3).
Continue Reading Second Circuit Overturns Class Certification Order in Assistant Branch Manager Overtime Case