The Fourth Circuit recently ruled that a general contractor was the joint employer of employees of its subcontractor for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Salinas v. Commercial Interiors, Inc. has broad implications for the wage and overtime responsibilities of employers located within the Fourth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over appeals from federal courts located in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
Michael Arnold is a Member in the firm’s New York office. Michael advises clients on complex employment litigation matters, including pretrial, trial, and appellate work; administrative proceedings; and arbitrations and mediations relating to wage and hour, discrimination, noncompete, trade secret, general contract disputes, and other employee-related disputes. He regularly advises clients regarding employee performance, retention and separation issues, and compliance with discrimination, wage and hour, family and medical leave, workers’ compensation, disability, and other employment laws and regulations.
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.
Our colleagues over at the Privacy & Security Matters blog wrote a really good piece entitled “It’s Tax Time – Don’t be Phished,” which guides employers on how to avoid phishing scams during this tax season. It’s a must read because the targets of these scams are HR and payroll departments, and employer awareness is necessary not only to protect employees, but also because responding to one of these scam emails constitutes a reportable data breach under state laws. Employers could have significant liability for failure to provide notice to employees and/or state regulators (where required).
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”?
Written by Brendan Lowd
Just before Thanksgiving, a Texas federal court judge issued an injunction blocking the closely-watched new federal overtime rule from taking effect as scheduled on December 1, 2016. As expected, the DOL is not going quietly into the night and the parties have engaged in a flurry of court filings as the fight, at least in part, concerning whether the new rule is lawful shifts to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
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.
The Second Circuit recently adopted the “Cat’s Paw” theory of liability in Title VII cases. This was hardly a surprise as other Circuit Courts had done the same after the United States Supreme Court endorsed Cat’s Paw in a USERRA case. But the Second Circuit went even further, allowing for the use of the Cat’s Paw argument in Title VII retaliation cases and in cases where a non-supervisory employee’s discriminatory actions lead the employer to take an adverse employment action against that employee’s co-worker. Until now, Cat’s Paw had mostly focused on employer liability based on the actions of misbehaving supervisors in hostile work environment cases. The decision puts additional pressure on employers to identify and eliminate discriminatory behavior in their workplaces. This post will briefly examine the Cat’s Paw doctrine and explain how the Second Circuit’s expanded its use in Vasquez v. Empress Ambulance Service, Inc., No. 15-3239 (2d Cir. Aug. 29, 2016).
Since a Texas federal judge blocked the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime rule from taking effect in November, human resource managers, payroll professionals and employment attorneys (including over here at Employment Matters) have been abuzz about the fact that, at least for now, employers do not need to make sweeping changes to their compensation practices to comply with the rule. What has been less discussed, however, is the impact on New York employers of the New York State Department of Labor’s amendments to New York’s Wage Orders, which become effective on Saturday, December 31, 2016, and which will, among other things, significantly increase the State’s minimum wage rate as well as its the minimum salary thresholds for individuals classified as exempt executives and administrative employees.
The NYSDOL had proposed these changes several months ago and the comment period ended back on December 3rd. But the final rule was issued just yesterday, unchanged from its proposed form. With the clock ticking, New York employers must and should pay immediate attention to these changes and should act quickly to fulfill their ongoing notice and posting obligations while adjusting compensation levels accordingly. We summarize the Wage Order amendments below.
Employers across the country woke up this morning to news that a Texas District Court judge has blocked the DOL’s overtime rule from taking effect on December 1, 2016. This represents a stunning turn of events for employers. They will now be able to continue to treat as exempt from overtime “white collar” workers who are paid a salary of at least the current minimum level of $23,660 per year without raising their salary to the proposed new minimum of at least $47,476, as the new rule had required. But, anticipating the new rule taking effect on December 1, many employers had already re-classified employees as non-exempt or raised their salaries to maintain the exemption or communicated the anticipated changes to their workforce. And even those employers who have waited until the last minute to ready themselves for compliance have been left scratching their heads as to next steps, now that the rule will not, at least for now, take effect. This post explores the court’s decision and employer’s potential responses to it.