Photo of Christopher Collins

Christopher Collins is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's New York office.

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

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed amending the regulatory definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act to expressly include individuals in same-sex marriages.

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published on June 27, 2014, the DOL proposed the revision in light of the recent United States Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, which found unconstitutional those provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act that prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages.


Continue Reading DOL Proposes to Amend FMLA Definition of “Spouse” to Include Same-Sex Marriages

The White House announced last week that President Barack Obama is preparing to issue an executive order prohibiting government contractors from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Federal contractors are already barred from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender or national origin.  The expected executive order will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.
Continue Reading Expected Executive Order Protecting LGBT Employees has Implications for Employers

New Jersey’s law prohibiting discrimination against the unemployed in job advertisements – the first of a new crop of similar state and municipal laws – is constitutional, according to a recent New Jersey appeals court decision.
Continue Reading Court Upholds New Jersey’s Ban on Unemployment Discrimination in Job Advertisements

For over two years, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) fought to require employers to post in their workplaces a notice of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  Those efforts met with stiff opposition from employers, and now appear to have come to an end.
Continue Reading NLRB Abandons Fight Over Mandatory Workplace Poster Rule

Effective January 1, 2014, former employees in New York are, in most cases, ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits while receiving severance pay, pursuant to a recent amendment to New York’s Unemployment Insurance Law.  The amendment was enacted as part of a package of reforms aimed at returning New York State’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to solvency in the wake of the economic recession.
Continue Reading New York Unemployment Benefits No Longer Available to Former Employees Receiving Severance

Today, Mayor Bloomberg signed into law an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law requiring employers with four or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers.  The legislation, which was earlier passed unanimously by the New York City Council, becomes effective in January 30, 2014.


Continue Reading New York City Now Requires Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers

Effective August 29, 2013, New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination prohibits employer reprisals against an employee who asks another employee, or former employee, for her rate of pay, as well as other information such as the other employee’s benefits, job category, race, ethnicity or national origin.  To be protected, however, the employee’s request must be for purposes of investigating the possibility of, or taking legal action regarding, discrimination involving pay or benefits.


Continue Reading New Jersey Law Now Protects Employees Who Ask Fellow Employees (or Former Employees) for Their Salary Information

On August 29, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law a new measure prohibiting employers from requiring employees or job applicants to provide login information or allow employer access to their accounts on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. While, under the law, employers may still view any publicly available information, they may not compel employees to disclose account passwords or “friend” company personnel.


Continue Reading New Jersey Employers May Not “Like” State’s New Social Media “Privacy Settings”