The basketball court isn’t the only place you’ll see interesting uniforms this month.  Many employers choose to implement and enforce their own uniform requirements and dress codes at work.  But if done incorrectly, uniforms or dress codes may reinforce stereotypical gender roles and put transgender employees and applicants in a very uncomfortable place.  In addition, some religious people in the workplace require exceptions to uniform requirements and dress codes in order to adhere to their beliefs.  There was even a hotly debated Supreme Court opinion a couple years ago about a religious headwear exception to an employer’s dress code.  These increasing changes in the law are forcing employers to take a time out to rethink their uniform and dress code strategies to make sure they do not travel out of bounds.

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Continue Reading March A-Wear-Ness: Uniforms, Dress Codes, and Employee Choice

Friendly reminder to our readers that on April 6, 2017, Mintz Levin will be hosting its Third Annual Employment Law Summit at the Princeton Club in New York City.  This half-day seminar will feature as its keynote speaker Liz Vladeck, the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Labor Policy and Standards at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.  Deputy Commissioner Vladeck will discuss NYC’s new Office of Labor Policy and Standards, its initiatives, and enforcement of the expanding universe of NYC employment laws (i.e. Freelance Workers act).  The seminar will also offer various segments on the most important workplace issues of the day, including how the new Trump Administration will impact workplace law, cybersecurity issues in the workplace, equal pay, wage and hour, employee relations, employee benefits, and more – it’s a program that you will not want to miss.  Registration is still open, so if you would like to attend click here.

This event is intended for HR professionals, in-house counsel, and senior executives.

Over the next two weeks we will release our Year in Review segment, which will look at the key labor & employment law developments from 2016 in New York, the DC Metro Area, Massachusetts, and California while offering our thoughts about 2017.  Today we kick off this segment with New York.  In addition, please join us in NYC on April 6, 2017 for Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit as we address some of the key labor & employment issues impacting employers in 2017.  Register here

2016 brought big changes for New York State and City employers, including expansive new discrimination protections and substantial increases in the minimum wage and exempt salary thresholds.  While New York employers who successfully navigated 2016’s rush of legislative, regulatory and judicial obstacles might feel they’ve earned the right to shift their focus back from compliance issues to running their businesses, they should not lose sight of the additional challenges expected in 2017.

Continue Reading 2016 New York Employment Law Year In Review

The New York City Human Rights Law now prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver.  Below, we briefly summarize the law and gauge its potential impact on the workplace.

Continue Reading NYC Ban on Caregiver Status Discrimination is Now in Effect; Employers Must Think Carefully About its Impact

Sometimes a judge says what many of us are already thinking.  In Rivera v. Crowell & Moring L.L.P., Katherine B. Forrest was that judge.

Continue Reading New York Federal Court Judge Expresses Dismay Over NYC Human Rights Law Claim Legal Standard

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Commissioner and Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis announced on February 9, 2016 that the Commission would begin accepting requests for and issue U and T visa certifications.  Continue Reading The New York City Commission On Human Rights Becomes The First And Only Anti-Discrimination Agency In A Major U.S. City To Provide U And T Visa Certifications

As wise employers focus strategic initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we periodically receive questions about limitations for proactive approaches in this area.  To be clear, companies that conduct business with the federal government (and the OFCCP knows who you are) likely are subject to regulatory obligation to ensure and, where necessary, take affirmative action regarding the placement of women, minorities, protected veterans and persons with disabilities in relation to their availability for respective positions.  Similarly, companies subject to a consent decree, conciliation agreement with the EEOC or some other legal finding or settlement involving a disparity affecting persons in protected classes would be subject to obligation of proactive steps to remedy such disparity.

But what of the company that engages in a “voluntary affirmative action policy” or merely seeks to put additional teeth to its diversity initiatives by attaching a qualitative scorecard to progress?  The potential concern is that such efforts lead to vulnerability for a reverse discrimination claim.

Continue Reading Mintz Levin 2nd Annual Employment Law Summit – Enhancing Workplace Diversity and Dispelling Myths Regarding Reverse Discrimination Claims

Being a headliner is great but nothing beats being tapped as the opening act. Join me and my panel of corporate counsel and human resources professionals as we warm up the audience at Mintz Levin’s Second Annual Employment Law Summit.

The warm up for our headliner, Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights (who will be addressing new protections and new initiatives in the New York City Human Rights Law), may have a swanky title (“Managing Workplace Policies in a Rapidly Changing Regulatory Environment”) but it will be grounded in practicality.

Today’s workforce is mobile, virtual, transient and litigious. What is a reasonable employer to do?  Should multi-jurisdictional employers practice “most-favored” diplomacy? Or should they continue to stitch together a patchwork of employment policies?

Join us in New York on January 28 as our panel tackles these and other challenging issues.  You can read more about these issues in advance of the seminar here.

By now, many of you have heard about our firm’s Second Annual Employment Law Summit in New York on Thursday, January 28th.  The event features a keynote address by Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and it also covers a variety of current employment-related topics.

You won’t want to miss my presentation, entitled “Affordable Care Act Reporting Requirements in Plain English,” which is particularly timely.  While the IRS recently gave employers a modest reprieve (only a few months), much remains to be done in a relatively short period of time –an issue I recently addressed on this blog.  I’d also encourage you to check out my 5 predictions about how compliance with the ACA reporting rules will unfold.

I look forward to seeing you on the 28th in New York.

PS—If you are not already subscribed to our blog, I invite you to do so here.  We are planning to continue our weekly posts on the practical, real-world challenges and issues that employers and their advisors face as they navigate the Affordable Care Act.

New York City just finished off a strong year on the employment law front.  The City Council passed laws that banned the box and all but eliminated credit checks.  It also passed a law requiring employers to offer their employees pre-tax transit benefits and instituted a paired testing discrimination investigation program.  The Department of Consumer Affairs continued to provide guidance on the paid sick leave law, while the Commission on Human Rights welcomed a new commissioner and implemented new initiatives designed to enhance the Commission’s enforcement efforts.  It also released enforcement guidance on the ban the box and credit check laws.  We cover the flurry of year-end activity in this three-part series.  In our first installment, we looked at the Commission’s enforcement guidance on gender identity and expression.  In our second installment, we covered the ban on caregiver status discrimination.  In our final installment, we cover the City’s creation of an Office of Labor Standards and expected changes to the paid sick leave act rules. 

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New York City has established an Office of Labor Standards that will enforce the City’s paid sick leave and transit benefits laws, and create and promote programs on worker education, safety and protection.  The Council Speaker said the new Office would help workers better understand their rights and assist employers in complying with the law.  The move comes as New York City prepares to amend its rules clarifying, and establishing requirements to implement, the paid sick leave law.

Continue Reading New York City Establishes Office of Labor Standards; Will Enforce Paid Sick Leave Law (NYC Finale Part 3)