March Madness isn’t the only thing we are excited about over here at Employment Matters. Right on the heels of the tournament, we will be hosting our annual Employment Law Summit. One of the issues my colleague Andrew Bernstein will address with a panel of key players is pay equity. No, not play equity – pay equity.
Brie Kluytenaar is a Practice Group Associate in the firm’s New York office. Brie’s practice focuses on a range of employment law matters. She has represented clients in matters arising under the Taylor Law, the National Labor Relations Act, state and federal employment discrimination statutes, the New York State Freedom of Information Law, and the New York State Administrative Procedures Act. Brie is experienced in handling arbitrations, preparing witnesses, and counseling and advising clients on legal strategies relating to disciplinary investigations, compliance with federal, state, and local laws, risk avoidance, and potential litigation.
Harassment has long been an Achilles’ heel of the workplace. Believe it or not, like the NCAA’s tournament TV ratings, the number of harassment-related lawsuits has held rather steady since the 1990s! And like most NCAA tournament games, the workplace can often be fast-paced and exhilarating, but it requires participants to play by the rules and when conduct goes out of bounds, participants must be benched or even ejected. In this regard, an employer must ensure that it has (1) the right players-personnel; and (2) systems in place not just for a successful season here and there, but for sustainable success over time that allows it to compete for the championship year after year. So what does this look like?
On February 16, 2017, the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals invalidated and revoked the NYS Department of Labor regulations we wrote about previously (and updated here) governing payment of wages by direct deposit or payroll debit card. The regulations were scheduled to take effect on March 7, 2017.
In October, we wrote about the new NYSDOL regulations for employers who use direct deposit and/or payroll debit cards to pay their employees. The regulations take effect on March 7, 2017 – just about a month from now – and they impose a host of new rules on employers, including the requirement to provide notice and obtain consent from employees who elect to receive wages by direct deposit or payroll debit card.
On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to decide the issue of whether employers may include class/collective action waivers in their arbitration agreements. As we discussed in more detail here, multiple federal appeals courts have split over the issue. This has created a difficult situation for employers and employees, especially where the employer operates in multiple states. By the time the Supreme Court takes up the issue in April, there may be a ninth justice on the bench. We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available, but in the meantime, we encourage you to visit our sister blog ADR: Advice from the Trenches and read its latest terrific post: When an Arbitration Clause Sounds Permissive But is Not – Does “May” Really Mean “Must”?
As 2016 came to a close, New York City became the first in the nation to enact a law establishing payment protections and remedies for freelance workers. On November 16, 2016, Mayor de Blasio signed into law the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which will go into effect on May 15, 2017. This new law imposes several significant requirements on freelance work arrangements, which we discuss below.
With the 9th Circuit’s late summer anti-class action waiver decision, the circuit split widened over the issue of whether employers can require employees, through an arbitration agreement, to waive their rights to bring class or collective actions against their employer. This issue will almost certainly reach the Supreme Court given the deepening divide and the Court’s previous apparent interest in addressing issues surrounding class action waivers and arbitration agreements.
As the workplace becomes increasingly digitized, both employers and employees can benefit from the conveniences technology provides. Chief among those is the convenience of electronic access to funds, which allows people to bank, pay bills, and transfer money from a computer or mobile device rather than being constrained by the limitations of brick and mortar financial institutions.
In this vein, many employers have taken advantage of new technology that makes life easier for businesses and their employees. In the realm of wages, electronic payment methods such as payroll debit cards and direct deposit would seem to make life easier. However, beginning on March 7, 2017, New York employers who use these methods to pay wages must pay even closer attention when doing so. That’s because last month the New York State Department of Labor issued Regulations imposing various additional written notice and consent requirements on employers who use methods other than cash or check to pay employees. We summarize those requirements below.