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Natalie Young is an Associate in the firm’s Boston office and focuses on a wide variety of employment and labor matters. She represents clients in litigation arising from employment disputes, including noncompetition and nonsolicitation covenants, discrimination and sexual harassment claims, and wage and hour matters. She also counsels clients on employment and separation agreements, with particular experience in ensuring compliance with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) in the context of a reduction in force.

Employers often struggle over compliance with state wage deduction laws, and these potential violations carry with them considerable penalties. In Massachusetts, for example, employers face triple damages for violations of wage and hour laws. This post uses hypothetical examples to demonstrate how narrow the range of permissible activity is under California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C. laws even when a deduction to an employee’s salary appears as a common sense one or otherwise fair to both parties involved. Employers with employees located in these and other states should consult with legal counsel before making any deductions from employee wages, even if the employee authorizes such a deduction.

So, for example, can employers deduct from employee wages for the cost of uniforms? Personal expenses on corporate credit cards? Broken printers? Let’s explore…

Continue Reading Exploring Wage Deductions in California, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, D.C.

What is happening in employment law? We will be providing you with quick employment law updates on a bi-monthly basis in a new series called “The Bubbler.”  It will let you know what’s what and who’s who in the continually-evolving, ever-important, hard-to-keep-track-of employment law world. The Bubbler delivers current events and other important news to our readers without the time or the interest to piece through the recent legislation, the ever-growing release of regulations and other agency guidance and the lengthy court decisions. We’re your colleagues at the water cooler who tell you just enough to pique your interest (but then provide links to satisfy your curiosity). Enjoy!

Continue Reading The Bubbler: September 6, 2017

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?

Continue Reading March Grabness: Lessons from the (Basketball) Court: Avoiding Personal Fouls, Violations and Time Outs in the Workplace

This morning Punxsutawney Phil told us that we are facing six more weeks of winter.  Great.  We thought it served as a good opportunity to remind employers of the importance of establishing inclement weather policies that are compliant with wage and hour laws for both exempt and non-exempt employees.  Here is a quick, yet helpful, Q&A for your reading pleasure:

Continue Reading The Groundhog Says Six More Weeks of Winter, So Employers Should Remain Mindful of Their Obligations During Inclement Weather

With Election Day just a week away(!), it’s important that employers familiarize themselves with their employees’ rights to take leave to vote.  While there is no Federal law granting employees the right to voting leave, at least half the states provide this right in some form.

Continue Reading Employers Must Be Mindful of Voting Leave Rights on Election Day

Being connected to not just your friends, but their friends and their friends’ friends (it’s all six degrees of separation, right?) means that it’s become increasingly hard to stay anonymous when using an online dating platform.  Just ask one recent male user of OkCupid who made vulgar and inappropriate comments to a female user.  Her response?  Post the conversation and the man’s profile picture to her Facebook account.  He insulted her, she publicized him.  So far, there are no legal implications.

Her friend, an independent recruiter for tech startups, saw the post and recognized the man’s profile picture.  As it turns out, it was also his LinkedIn profile picture, and he had just applied for a position with one of her clients.  Her response?  Withdraw his application from consideration and tell him to treat women better online.  He insulted her friend, she withdrew his application for employment.  Here is where the criticism started.

The question: Can a recruiter reject a potential applicant based on inappropriate comments made on a dating site?

Continue Reading Inappropriate Social Media Activity Dooms Job Applicant’s Prospects

The growing prevalence of the Zika virus in the United States has already presented a number of hurdles for employers striving to create a safe and healthy workplace environment for their employees.  These concerns are more immediate than ever.  The recent and continuing outbreak in Florida and the emergence of state-to-state transmission within the U.S. reinforce the need for employers to stay informed of best practices for minimizing workplace health risks without overstepping critical legal boundaries between employer and employee.

Continue Reading Addressing Zika’s Continued Threat to the Workplace

The obligation to accommodate a disabled employee is an ongoing one; a doctor’s note may not be a prerequisite to engage in the interactive process – those are two important lessons that employers should take away from a recent decision by a California Federal district court.

Continue Reading California Federal Court Reminds Employers That They Must Carefully Navigate Disability Accommodation Process

Last month, a California state appellate court issued a decision that, as the dissent characterized, went “where no one has gone before.”  In Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., the court held that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – California’s anti-discrimination law – requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation to a nondisabled employee who associates with a disabled person.  This troubling and broad interpretation of the law, which effectively would import a caregiver accommodation requirement into the law, has certainly captured the attention of employers even outside this jurisdiction.

Continue Reading Does an Employer have to Accommodate a Nondisabled Employee Because of Another’s Disability? Yes, Says One California State Appellate Court

Many employers still grapple with the application of certain anti-discrimination laws — such as Title VII and the ADA — to non-U.S. citizen employees working in the United States and U.S. citizen employees working overseas.  To determine whether these laws apply, employers should ask themselves the following questions:

Continue Reading Understanding the Extraterritorial Scope of Title VII and the ADA for U.S. Employers