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

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.

Continue Reading New Rules for New York Employers Who Use Payroll Debit Cards and Direct Deposit

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a series of bills entitled the “Women’s Equality Agenda” that significantly amend the State’s equal pay, sex discrimination, harassment and other laws to provide additional protections for women in and outside the workplace. Among other changes, the amendments broaden the definition of “equal work” for equal pay, add “familial” status as a protected class, require employers to accommodate pregnant workers, authorize treble damages for willful violations, provide sex discrimination plaintiffs with a new right to attorneys’ fees and apply the law’s prohibition on sexual harassment to all employers regardless of size.  The amendments, which we briefly summarize below, take effect on January 19, 2016.

Continue Reading New York State Employers Face Strict New Equal Pay and Sex Discrimination Laws

The Second Circuit struck a blow today to individuals pursuing collective/class actions alleging that unpaid interns should be classified as employees.  The Court announced an employer-friendly test that asks who benefits more from the internship – if it’s the individual, then classification as an employee entitled to minimum wage and overtime is not necessary.  The Court also threw out the lower court’s certification decision, finding that its new test required a highly-individualized look at each intern’s experience.  The case is Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc.  Employers will largely welcome the decision, but we caution against claiming total victory just yet. We explain more fully below.

Continue Reading Unpaid Intern v. Employee Classification Analysis Must Look at Who is Primary Beneficiary of Relationship, Second Circuit Holds

In what appears to be a sign of things to come, a federal court in New York recently approved the use of social media to notify potential class members who were more likely to be reached that way rather than by more traditional forms of notice, such as regular mail.  The order permitting social media use comes on the heels of a similar order by a federal court in California.

Continue Reading New York Federal Court “Likes” the Use of Social Media to Notify Class Members in Wage and Hour Action

Written by Michael Arnold

Confirming earlier reports, New York employers will not have to distribute New York State Wage Theft Act Annual Pay Notices in January 2015 or thereafter.

Continue Reading Latest Update on the New York State Wage Theft Act Annual Pay Notices: No Need to Distribute Them. But NY Employers, Don’t Forget About What the Rest of the Law Says

Written by Michael Arnold

New York is set to end its requirement under the Wage Theft Prevention Act that employers annually distribute notices to employees detailing certain wage payment information. In just the short time it was in effect, this requirement proved an administrative headache for most employers. While the repeal will be welcomed by employers, they should also take note of the law’s other important changes.

Continue Reading Governor Cuomo Set to Sign Law Repealing the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act’s Annual Pay Notice Requirement; Law Also Extends Wage Payment Liability to Ten Largest Members of New York LLCs

Written by David Katz

Earlier this month, in Webb-Weber v. Community Action for Human Services, Inc., New York’s highest court overruled several appellate court cases in holding that an employee need not identify the specific law, rule or regulation allegedly violated by his or her employer in pleading a retaliation claim under New York’s whistleblower statute.

Continue Reading Employees Need Not Identify Specific Law, Rule or Regulation Violation in Pleading Retaliation Claim Under New York’s Whistleblower Statute

Written by Michael Arnold

In 2010, New York enacted the Wage Theft Prevention Act, which in part amended its Labor Law to require courts to impose a liquidated damages award of 100% of the total unpaid wages owed to the employee. The law previously capped the award at just 25%. This amendment significantly increased employer exposure in unpaid wage lawsuits. However, the amendment did not specifically address whether courts should apply the liquidated damage award increase retroactively. Recently, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals – New York’s highest Federal court – in Gold v. New York Life Insurance Co. answered that question in the negative.

Continue Reading Employer Exposure in Unpaid Wage Lawsuits May Decrease as Second Circuit Refuse to Apply New York Wage Theft Prevention Act’s Liquidated Damages Provision Retroactively