Photo of Christopher Collins

On March 20, 2020, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed Executive Order No. 7H (the “Connecticut Executive Order”) restricting certain businesses from maintaining an in-person workforce.  The Connecticut Executive Order, which is part of Governor Lamont’s Stay Safe, Stay At Home Initiative, requires all non-essential and not-for-profit businesses in the state to reduce their in-person workforce by 100% no later than 8:00 PM on Monday, March 23, 2020.  Governor Lamont released additional guidance clarifying the scope of the Connecticut Executive Order on March 22, 2020.  The Connecticut Executive Order will remain in place until April 22, 2020, unless earlier modified or terminated by Governor Lamont.
Continue Reading Connecticut Tells Employers to “Stay Safe, Stay At Home”

On March 21, 2020, New Jersey Governor Murphy issued a statewide “Stay-At-Home” Executive Order (EO 107), available here, directing all residents to stay at home and mandating the closure of all “non-essential” retail businesses.  Governor Murphy also signed Executive Order 108 (EO 108), available here, which invalidates any county or municipal restriction that conflicts with any provision of EO 107.  Both Orders became effective Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 9:00 p.m. and will remain in effect until revoked or modified by the Governor.  Key provisions are explained below.
Continue Reading New Jersey Governor Murphy Announces Statewide Stay At Home Order, Closure of All Non-Essential Retail Businesses

As of May 20, 2019, NYC will prohibit employment discrimination based on an employee’s “sexual and reproductive health decisions,” which the new law defines as “any decision by an individual to receive services, which are arranged for or offered or provided to individuals relating to sexual and reproductive health, including the reproductive system and its functions.”
Continue Reading NYC Bans Discrimination Based on Sexual and Reproductive Health Decisions

As of October 15, 2018, NYC employers with four or more employees will be required to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with a person who may be entitled to a workplace accommodation. The “cooperative dialogue” resembles the “interactive process” that most employers are familiar with under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the NYC law applies to more than disability-related accommodations and, importantly, requires employers to document the cooperative dialogue process. We have prepared this short Q&A to help employers understand their obligations under the new law.
Continue Reading New NYC Law Requires Employers to Engage in “Cooperative Dialogue” for Workplace Accommodations

On August 7, 2015, in Dorain Cheeks v. Freeport Pancake House, Inc., 796 F.3d 199 (2d Cir. 2015), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is an “applicable federal statute” within the meaning of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(ii) (“Rule 41”). The practical import of this decision, at least within the jurisdiction of the Second Circuit, is that private parties cannot settle FLSA claims through a Rule 41 stipulation of dismissal with prejudice, but rather must obtain approval of the terms of the settlement from either a court or the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”).
Continue Reading Second Circuit Holds that FLSA Settlements Require Court or Department of Labor Approval

On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the New York City Council approved a bill that will strictly regulate how employers in New York City (with at least four employees) may conduct criminal background checks.  Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill, which will go into effect 120 days after enactment.  The bill comes on the heels of the City’s ban on most forms of applicant background credit checks, which we reported on here, and which Mayor de Blasio signed into law on May 6, 2015.
Continue Reading NYC Council Votes to Sharply Restrict Employer Use of Criminal Background Checks

On Monday, June 1, 2015, the United States Supreme Court reversed a judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit which had granted Abercrombie & Fitch (“Abercrombie”) summary judgment in a religious accommodation case brought by a job applicant who wore a headscarf (a hijab) to an interview, but did not mention her religion or request an exception to Abercrombie’s dress code.  The Court’s 8-1 decision in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. rejected the Tenth Circuit’s holding that, to prove discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”), it is an applicant’s burden to advise an employer of a religious practice necessitating accommodation.  Instead, the Court found that a job applicant need only demonstrate that a prospective employer’s desire to avoid providing a religious accommodation was a motivating factor in its decision not to hire, not that the employer actually knew of the need for an accommodation.   
Continue Reading Supreme Court Sides with EEOC in Abercrombie & Fitch Hijab Case

On April 10, 2015, in an eagerly awaited decision interpreting the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled, en banc, in favor of Ford Motor Co., rejecting the EEOC’s claim that Ford violated the ADA by not allowing a disabled employee to telecommute as a reasonable accommodation.  EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., No. 12-2484.  Eight judges on the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of Ford, while five dissented.  The decision highlights many of the thorny issues concerning telecommuting as a potential reasonable accommodation under the ADA.  It also underscores the importance of engaging in a good faith “interactive process” with a disabled employee requesting accommodation.
Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Holds That Ford Motor Co. Was Not Required to Accommodate Telecommuting

Most employers have separation agreement forms that have served them well over the years.  The terms have become fairly standardized and, aside from the occasional tweak, they don’t change much and are rarely challenged.  Enter the EEOC, upsetting the apple cart with its new strategic enforcement initiative.  In recent litigation, it has staked out an aggressive (and new) position challenging what appear to be fairly standard separation agreement provisions.  Although it suffered a minor setback earlier this month, we shouldn’t expect it to back off from its new-found position.
Continue Reading The EEOC’s Assault on Separation Agreements – A Bump in the Road, But It’s Far From Over