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Jamie Moelis is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's New York office.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have been forced to conduct staff layoffs as businesses were closed in compliance with shelter-in-place orders and subsequently rehire employees as lockdown restrictions have been lifted. One concern employers should bear in mind is how the layoffs and later rehiring of employees impact the enforceability of any previously agreed upon restrictive covenant agreements.
Continue Reading 1st Circ. Holds Non-Compete Agreement Unenforceable Against Fired and Rehired Employee

On July 8, 2020, the Supreme Court gave religious employers wide leeway to hire and fire employees whose duties include religious instruction without having to worry about employment discrimination suits. In a 7-to-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru that the “ministerial exception” – a legal doctrine that shields religious employers from anti-discrimination lawsuits – foreclosed the adjudication of two discrimination lawsuits brought by Catholic school teachers.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Backs Broad Interpretation of the “Ministerial Exception,” Shielding Religious Employers From Employment Discrimination Claims

On June 18, 2020, the First Department issued Hosking v. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Ctr., 2020 N.Y. Slip Op. 03484 (1st Dept. June 18, 2020), a decision analyzing the more stringent requirements under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) for employers to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities, compared to the requirements under the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). In Hosking, the First Department determined that plaintiff’s disability discrimination claims under the NYSHRL and NYCHRL properly survived summary judgment as issues of fact were raised about whether the defendant sufficiently engaged in a cooperative dialogue to accommodate plaintiff’s disability prior to terminating her employment.
Continue Reading New York’s First Department Appellate Division Highlights the Stringent Requirements for Reasonably Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities Under New York City Human Rights Law

At the beginning of this year, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a package of legislation aimed at protecting the rights of workers who have been misclassified as independent contractors.  One of these new laws, Assembly Bill 5843, requires employers to post notices regarding employee misclassification.  The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has now published the required posting in two different sizes (11 x 17 and 8.5 x 11).
Continue Reading New Jersey Department of Labor Releases Posters for Employers to Utilize to Satisfy Employee Misclassification Posting Requirements

On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued new guidance (available here) detailing how employers can safely reopen offices following months of closure amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC guidance provides a step-by-step checklist for employers to follow to ensure that their office spaces are physically prepared for workers to return to work as they proceed with life beyond the pandemic.

When employees do return, offices are going to look a lot different from when they left. The CDC recommendations range from technical advice on ventilation systems to the abolition of the traditional handshake to employee temperature testing protocols. Key provisions are summarized below.
Continue Reading Drastic Changes Coming to U.S. Offices as the CDC Recommends An Office Makeover

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 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

On March 18, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order (the “March 18 Order”) requiring all “non-essential” New York businesses to reduce their in-person workforce at any work location by 50%.  On March 19, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued another Executive Order (the “March 19 Order”), requiring all “non-essential” New York businesses to reduce their in-person workforce at any work location by 75%.
Continue Reading New York on Pause: Governor Cuomo Orders All Non-Essential Workers to Stay Home

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the governor’s approval of the bill.

On March 18, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed a bill guaranteeing job-protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of COVID-19. The law is more narrow than the version Gov. Cuomo announced Tuesday, which included a statewide sick program that would have remained in effect beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The provisions of the legislation are set to take effect immediately.

Continue Reading Empire State of Mind: Governor Cuomo Proposes Bill to Provide Immediate Assistance for New Yorkers Impacted by COVID-19

On December 12, 2019, for the first time in 60 years, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule clarifying the types of benefits that must be included in determining an employee’s “regular rate of pay” when calculating overtime wages. This new rule becomes effective January 15, 2020.
Continue Reading Department of Labor Issues Final Rule on Calculating the Regular Rate of Pay Under the Fair Labor Standards Act