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Brie Kluytenaar is an Associate in the firm’s New York office. Brie’s practice focuses on all aspects of employment and labor law, including counseling clients on risk avoidance and compliance with federal, state, and local laws and representing clients in litigation arising under local, state and federal employment statutes.

 

Welcome to July! As we head deeper into the summer, the employment law world continues to heat up (and we’re not just talking about the record temperatures across the country!). We have rounded up the most recent developments impacting employers here:

The U.S. Supreme Court closed out an epic 2017 term (pun slightly intended) with the issuance of Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, in which it held that contractual waivers of class arbitration in employment agreements are enforceable. Our colleague Gil Samberg also wrote about the decision over on our sister blog, ADR: Advice from the Trenches. The Court also handed down a significant decision in Janus v. AFSCME, holding that public employees who are not union members cannot be required to pay agency fees to a union even if that union represents them for purposes of collective bargaining. Last but certainly not least, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the bench, effective July 31.

At the state level, both New York and Maryland have recently enacted sweeping legislation in response to the #MeToo movement, which we wrote about here and here. New York employers must ensure that their employment agreements are in compliance with the new law by July 11, 2018. On the heels of the New York Paid Family Leave law, which took effect on January 1, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker just signed into law a new paid family and medical leave program that is even more generous than the New York law. That law also increases the state minimum wage and eliminates premium pay for Sundays and certain holidays. We outline the parameters of the new law here.

In New York City, the bill requiring employers to grant two temporary schedule changes per year takes effect on July 18th. Finally, in response to the bevy of leave laws that have recently been passed throughout the country, we will be debuting a new blog series addressing issues arising from and relating to leaves of absence. The series will include posts on navigating the ADA, performance and benefits issues for employees on leave, and the interplay between federal and state-specific leave laws. Stay tuned for more and as always, do not hesitate to contact your Mintz Levin ELB team with any questions about compliance with these laws.

Wishing our readers a happy and restful 4th of July!!

Following in the footsteps of neighboring jurisdictions such as New York City, Albany County, and Massachusetts, on April 10, 2018, Westchester County enacted legislation to ban inquiries into a job applicant’s salary history. The stated purpose of the law is to halt the perpetuation of the gender wage gap and to assist older workers and others returning to the workforce after a long hiatus.

Continue Reading Update on Salary History Laws: The Ban Expands to Westchester, NY

In the wake of the #MeToo movement and the nationwide discourse over the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace, New York State and New York City have taken aggressive steps to implement stronger protections against workplace harassment.  These new protections, which are now law in New York State and New York City, will require New York employers to revise their policies, procedures and agreements, deliver new training, and provide employees with additional information about sexual harassment.  Below, we summarize the new requirements and other changes in the law and discuss next steps.

Continue Reading New York Says #MeToo to Stronger Sexual Harassment Protections: A Summary of Action Items for Employers

On April 19, my colleague Andrew Bernstein and I will be discussing the increasingly complex web of federal, state, and local leave and accommodation laws that employers must navigate. As many companies are aware, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks (and in some cases, up to 26 weeks) of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees and the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations, which may under some circumstances include flexible schedules and leaves of absence, to qualified individuals with disabilities.

Continue Reading Mintz Levin 4th Annual Employment Law Summit – Managing the Increasingly Complex Web of Leave and Accommodation Requirements

The New York City Council recently passed a bill that will require employers to grant two temporary schedule changes per calendar year to employees for qualifying “personal events.” The law will take effect on July 18, 2018 and will add to the increasingly complex obligations of employers to track and respond to employee leave requests.

Continue Reading New York City Will Require Employers to Grant Temporary Schedule Changes

Phew – it has been a whirlwind of a month in the employment law world! Just in time for spring, new laws are popping up like crocuses just about everywhere we turn.

Here is your monthly rundown of the most recent developments in labor and employment law: The Supreme Court significantly narrowed whistleblower protections under Dodd Frank with its decision in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers.  The Second Circuit became the second circuit court to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination when it issued a decision holding that sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination under Title VII. In New York, just as employers finished preparing for and implementing the New York Paid Family Leave law, New York City passed new legislation requiring employers to grant temporary schedule changes for qualifying personal events, and amending the requirements for employers and employees engaging in a cooperative dialogue concerning a reasonable accommodation. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office issued guidance on the pay equity law scheduled to take effect in July; Austin, Texas became the first Texas municipality to enact a paid sick and safe leave law; and new legislation intending to crack down on sexual harassment has been proposed in several jurisdictions, including Connecticut and New York City. Stay tuned for further updates and more details on these developments which we will be covering more extensively here in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, don’t forget to register to attend our Fourth Annual Employment Law Summit on April 19!

Did you get your first request for paid family leave yet?  Well it’s finally here – New York State’s Paid Family Leave law finally touched down in workplaces across the state on New Year’s Day.  As of this writing, millions of New York employees are now entitled to eight weeks of paid family leave benefits and the job protection rights that come along with it.  This is a significant development for the State, legally and culturally.  Employers have spent many months preparing (and we’ve spent many months helping them prepare) for the new law’s arrival and now it’s time to execute on those implementation plans.

We wrote extensively about the new law and its interpreting regulations here.  We encourage you to read or revisit that post as it serves as a guide for employers seeking to comply with the new law.  For specific questions, please feel free to contact us directly.  And stay tuned as we will be updating this blog with new developments in the coming months.  In the meantime, for those of you who are getting a bit of a late start, here is a brief summary of the new entitlement and what is required to comply.

Continue Reading Reminder: New York Paid Family Leave Is Now In Effect

As we count down to the fast-approaching New Year, one of the most significant changes taking place for employers in New York is the implementation of the New York Paid Family Leave law, which takes effect on January 1, 2018. We previously posted a comprehensive guide for employers on the steps they need to take in advance of January 1st to prepare for the implementation of Paid Family Leave, and for those who have not yet tackled this item, it is not too late!

Continue Reading New Year’s Resolution #2: New Year, New Leave Policies – Don’t Get Left Behind on Compliance!

Over on our sister blog, Privacy and Security Matters, Cynthia Larose has just published an article that will be of interest to any employer using or considering using biometric identifiers such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or retina scans in connection with employee identification, access and security protocols. The article discusses the recent rash of class action litigation against employers arising out of Illinois’ biometric privacy law. Read the full blog post here.

As a reminder, the NYC law prohibiting employers and their agents from inquiring about or relying on an applicant’s salary history goes into effect today.

This means that as of today, employers cannot:

  • Ask for current salary or salary history on an employment application;
  • Ask about an applicant’s current or past salary (including wages, benefits, and other compensation);
  • Ask an applicant’s current or former employer or a staffing or recruiting agency for information related to an applicant’s current or past salary;
  • Search public records or the internet to find or verify an applicant’s current or past salary;
  • Rely on information about an applicant’s current or prior salary to set compensation.

We previously wrote about the new law here and here. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to your employment counsel for further guidance.