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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.

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.

Trick or Treat! This month’s Bubbler is a cauldron full of hot new developments in employment law …  the NYC Salary History law is now in effect … California followed suit and its salary history law will take effect on January 1, 2018, just after Delaware and just before Massachusetts … Employers in New York are preparing to implement the new Paid Family Leave law, joining California, New Jersey and Rhode Island as the fourth state to provide this paid leave through employee-paid payroll taxes … The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the class action waiver case … the NYC Council passed a bill to expand the Earned Sick Time Act … and the Third Circuit cited to a Harry Potter novel in an FLSA decision.


Beginning on January 1, 2018, New York employers will have to provide paid family leave to their employees. This post provides a comprehensive overview for employers to better understand their obligations under New York’s new Paid Family Leave law (PFL) and its accompanying regulations (which are available here and here), including implementing new policies and administering claims. Continue Reading New York Paid Family Leave Law – A Comprehensive Breakdown for Employers

Last month, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Estee Lauder in a Pennsylvania federal court alleging that Estee Lauder’s parental leave policy discriminates against employees on the basis of gender by providing unequal benefits to biological mothers and fathers. What’s notable about this lawsuit is that it involves a policy which, on its face, uses a “primary” and “secondary” caregiver distinction that provides different amounts of leave to employees based on that distinction without regard to their gender – a practice used by many employers in their parental leave policies. This lawsuit has left many employers wondering whether such a policy is at risk of being unlawful. We do not think it is at this time.

Continue Reading What Does the EEOC’s Lawsuit Against Estee Lauder Mean for Parental Leave Policies?

Mayor de Blasio recently signed into law five bills collectively called the “Fair Workweek” legislative package, which will significantly impact employers in the retail and fast food industries. The laws are scheduled to take effect on November 26, 2017 – just after Thanksgiving.

Continue Reading New York City Enacts Fair Workweek Legislation for Retail and Fast Food Employers

As expected, the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) recently appealed the decision of the New York Industrial Board of Appeals invalidating the DOL regulations concerning employers who use direct deposit or payroll debit cards to pay employees.  The regulations, which were scheduled to take effect on March 7, 2017, were invalidated in February 2016.  We reported on that decision here.  We will continue to provide updates here as this case moves forward; but for now, the law on this issue remains in flux. Stay tuned!