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Lindsay Colvin Stone is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's New York office.

On September 28, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law significantly amending the New York City Earned Sick and Safe Time Act (“ESSTA”) in order to better align with New York State’s new paid sick leave law (the “NYS Leave Law”).  Like its state law counterpart, the amendments to ESSTA (the “ESSTA Amendments”) takes effect on September 30, 2020.  As discussed in greater detail below, the ESSTA Amendments: (i) revise the amount of leave that New York City employers are required to provide; (ii) impose new employer reporting requirements; (iii) create new employer reimbursement obligations in connection with requested medical documentation and/or documentation regarding domestic violence; (iv) expand the scope of prohibited retaliation under the law; (v) impose new notice requirements; and (vi) expand enforcement mechanisms.
Continue Reading NYC Employers Take Note: Earned Sick and Safe Time Act Amendments Take Effect September 30, 2020

On August 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-5 (“FAB 2020-5” or the “Bulletin”) in an effort to guide an increasing number of employers faced with the challenge of tracking compensable hours worked by teleworking non-exempt employees.  Specifically, FAB 2020-5 offers clarity regarding how, and to what extent, employers must monitor the number of hours worked by non-exempt employees who work remotely.  As many workforces seem poised to continue partial or complete telework for the balance of the year, FAB 2020-5 provides useful insight to assist employers in properly monitoring remote hours and avoiding liability for unpaid wages.
Continue Reading Trust, but Verify: DOL Issues New Guidance for Tracking Teleworkers’ Time

As previously noted in our blog, workers’ compensation is an emerging area of concern for employers during the COVID-19 crisis.  For New York employers in the heart of the pandemic, the question of whether one of their employees will contract COVID-19 in the workplace is less a matter of “if” than “when.”  Infected employees may subsequently seek workers’ compensation benefits, which have the potential to be significant if the employee contracts a severe case or suffers lasting damage.  As businesses in New York plan to reopen, employers in the state must take care to review applicable workers’ compensation laws and understand when employees who contract COVID-19 in the workplace may be entitled to benefits.
Continue Reading UPDATED: New York Workers’ Compensation Law: Is COVID-19 Compensable?

On March 27, 2020, the EEOC released a webinar addressing frequently asked employer questions regarding federal antidiscrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”), during the COVID-19 pandemic (the “Webinar”).  The Webinar reviewed a number of important issues for employers to understand to avoid running afoul of the above-listed statutes during the pandemic.  Key takeaways from the Webinar, organized by topic, are summarized below.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues New COVID-19 Guidance For Employers

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”

In a case of first impression, the New Jersey Appellate Division determined that employers in the state must reimburse employees for medical cannabis following a workplace accident, despite federal prohibitions against cannabis distribution.  The January 13, 2020 decision in Hager v. M&K Construction, Case No. A-0102-18T3, is the first time a court in the state has required reimbursement for a cannabis prescription in the workers’ compensation context, and may signal a fresh judicial focus on the scope of lawful medical cannabis use in the employment context both in New Jersey and in states with similar laws.

The Hager decision has clear implications for New Jersey employers, who are now required to reimburse injured employees for medical cannabis (at least under circumstances similar to those presented in the case).  Employers in other states that have legalized medical cannabis but have yet to rule on the interplay between the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) and state law in workers’ compensation disputes should also take note in the event that similar reimbursement requests arise.


Continue Reading New Jersey Court Commands Cannabis Reimbursement in Workers’ Compensation Dispute

On August 12, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law S.6577, a bill implementing a series of sweeping changes to the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”). As we previously reported, S.6577 provides for a number of notable updates to the NYSHRL designed to strengthen state protection for victims of sexual harassment. However, the signing of S.6577 also implements a series of changes that stand to significantly impact employers with respect to all claims of employment discrimination, not just sexual harassment. This post summarizes key changes to the NYSHRL created by S.6577, along with deadlines for employer compliance.
Continue Reading Update: Governor Cuomo Signs Significant Changes to New York Discrimination and Harassment Legislation Into Law – Employer Compliance Required

On April 22, 2019, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in a trio of cases challenging the scope of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s (“Title VII”) prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex.  The definition of “sex” in Title VII, and particularly whether the term incorporates sexual orientation and/or gender identity, is currently the subject of uncertainty and a hotly debated judicial and administrative divide.  Specifically, while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Seventh Circuits have each determined that the term “sex” encompasses sexual orientation, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has held that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  While the court has notably declined to hear cases aimed at resolving the meaning of “sex” in Title VII in recent years, its grant of certiorari signals that the Court is now prepared to address the issue.
Continue Reading SCOTUS To Rule On Whether Title VII Prohibits Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity Discrimination

On March 27, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, an act designed to amend and strengthen the existing federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), 29 U.S.C. § 206(d). The Paycheck Fairness Act, which passed the House by a vote of 242-187 on a largely party-line basis, is sponsored by Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and would make sweeping changes to existing law.
Continue Reading Equal Pay Act Amendment Passes House of Representatives

On February 18, 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “NYCCHR”) released new legal enforcement guidance (the “Guidance”) regarding discrimination on the basis of natural hair and hairstyles. In the Guidance, the NYCCHR advised employers that “[t]he New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) protects the rights of New Yorkers to maintain natural hair or hairstyles that are closely associated with their race or identities.” While the NYCCHR made clear that “hair-based discrimination implicates many areas of the NYCHRL, including prohibitions against race, religion, disability, age, or gender-based discrimination,” the Guidance’s directives particularly focus on prohibiting hair and hairstyle discrimination against Black people, defined as “those who identify as African, African American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latin-x/a/o or otherwise having African or Black ancestry.” Specifically, the Guidance states that the NYCHRL protects the rights of Black New Yorkers “to maintain natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”[1]
Continue Reading New Dos and Don’ts: New York City Bans Discrimination Based On Hairstyle

On June 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled that mandated payment of so-called “agency fees” by non-union members in the public sector violated First Amendment principles protecting freedom of speech and association. In Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, No. 16-1466, 2018 WL 3129785 (June 27, 2018) a 5-4 majority of the Court rejected the holding of the 1977 case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977), which permitted such fees, as a wrongly-decided imposition on individual constitutional rights. This landmark decision presents major implications for public-sector union funding in the future, and is notable for all employers with unionized workforces.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Deems Public-Sector Union Agency Fees Unconstitutional