Employment Matters Blog

Appellate Courts in New Jersey and New York Both Rule that a Contract May Reduce Statute of Limitations on Employment Claims

Posted in Applicant, employer liability, New Jersey, New York

Written by David Katz

Earlier this summer, a New Jersey appellate court, in Rodriquez v. Raymours Furniture enforced a provision in an employment application that reduced the period in which an employee could sue an employer to six months from the date of the adverse employment action. This ruling – the first of its kind in the employment context by a New Jersey appellate court – is consistent with a New York appellate court ruling just last year involving the same employer and the same employment application (Hunt v. Raymour & Flanigan). These rulings are significant to employers because they provide a concrete yet seldom-used tool to limit exposure to employment lawsuits.

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Maryland Court of Appeals: Contrary to Federal Court Rulings, Maryland Employees Are Eligible to Recover Treble Damages from Employers Failing to Pay Overtime

Posted in FLSA, overtime, Wage and Hour

Written by David Barmak

More bad news for employers: Maryland’s Court of Appeals (its highest court) has now put to rest any question about an employee’s right to recover treble damages in connection with an unpaid overtime claim.

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Labor Department Adds Gender Identity and Transgender Status to Prohibition on Sex Discrimination

Posted in discrimination, DOL, gender, LGBT, Title VII

Written by Jonathan Cain

On August 19, 2014, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs issued a directive advising that it will consider cases of discrimination based upon gender identity and transgender status to be violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Executive Order 11246 (which prohibits employment discrimination by federal contractors). According to the guidance, “disparate treatment of a transgender employee because he or she does not conform to the gender stereotypes associated with his or her biological sex is a form of sex discrimination.” This policy takes effect immediately and does not require any additional rulemaking as it is merely an interpretive ruling under existing regulations.

This recent publication is in addition to the rulemaking that will be initiated to implement Executive Order 13672, issued July 21, 2014, which amends Executive Order 11246 to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, in addition to race, sex, religion and national origin. Executive Order 13672 requires new regulations, which the Department of Labor is directed to publish in October. It will apply to contracts and contract modifications issued after the effective date of the amended regulations

National Labor Relations Board Majority Holds That Seeking Co-Worker Assistance with an Individual Harassment Complaint is Protected Activity Under the Act; Overrules Holling Press, Inc.

Posted in discrimination, harassment, investigations, NLRB

Written by Erin C. Horton

Last week, the NLRB took an exceptionally broad view of what constitutes “concerted activity” and what kind of efforts are aimed at “mutual aid or protection” under the National Labor Relations Act. For employers, this could mean increased Board scrutiny of internal investigations into employees’ complaints of harassment.

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Governor Christie Vetoes New Jersey Unemployment Discrimination Bill

Posted in Applicant, discrimination, New Jersey

Written by David Katz

In somewhat of a surprise move, in the same week that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the Opportunity to Compete Act, which prohibits employers from inquiring about job candidates’ criminal histories early in the hiring process (which we wrote about here), the Governor vetoed a bill prohibiting discrimination against the unemployed (a measure which we wrote about here just last month).

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The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 19: Changes in Employment Status under the Look-Back Measurement Method

Posted in ACA Compliance Series, Affordable Care Act, IRS

Written by Alden J. Bianchi

An earlier post explained the two principle methods—the “monthly measurement method” and the “look-back measurement method”—available to applicable large employers to identify full-time employees for purposes of determining exposure for “assessable payments” under the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility rules. (Final regulations implementing rules are available at here.) This post focuses on how the look-back measurement method handles changes in employment status. While these rules appear simple and straightforward, this is not always the case in practice.

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Governor Christie Signs Scaled-Back Opportunity to Compete Act – New Jersey’s Ban the Box Bill

Posted in Applicant, discrimination, Employment Legislation, Hiring, New Jersey

Written by David Katz

We previously wrote (here and here) about New Jersey’s proposed “ban the box” measure, known as the Opportunity to Compete Act, a law that would prohibit employers from inquiring about job candidates’ criminal histories early in the hiring process. As expected, Governor Chris Christie signed the scaled-back, more employer-friendly version of the Opportunity to Compete Act into law yesterday.

At an event in Trenton yesterday, Governor Christie stated: “Today we are also going further to reform our criminal justice system by signing legislation that continues with our promise and commitment to give people a second chance. You’ve seen it through the work we are doing in drug rehabilitation across the state. This is a state that believes that every life is precious and that no life is beyond salvation, that everyone deserves a second chance in New Jersey, if they’ve made a mistake. So, today, we are banning the box and ending employment discrimination. And this is going to make a huge difference for folks who have paid their debts to society, who want to start their lives over again and are going to have an opportunity to do just that in our state. That’s what people want and it’s what they except and it’s what they deserved from those of us they entrust with public office.”

A Lesson on the ADA: Engaging in Good Faith in the Interactive Process is Essential

Posted in ADA, Disability discrimination, discrimination, New York, Psychiatric disability, Reasonable accommodation

Written by Jessica Catlow

Understanding the mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state and local laws is easy: employers cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities. However, navigating the reasonable accommodation requirements under these laws is no easy task for employers, especially when the laws only require employers to provide an accommodation that enables the employee to perform the essential duties of the position, rather than the one that employee necessarily prefers. A recent New York federal district court case, Goonan v. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in which the employer failed to win early dismissal of a disability discrimination claim, highlights the importance of engaging in the interactive process correctly.

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