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November, 2016

NY Employers Still Must Consider Classification of Exempt Employees

For New York employers, the recent federal hold on the FLSA regulatory changes is not the final word. New York State law changes have been proposed, which are far more likely to move forward, that will similarly increase the base salary thresholds for employers in the state, albeit not quite to the level of the proposed FLSA regulations (that level will be reached within the next two to four years, and ultimately surpassed for employers in New York City and the surrounding suburbs). Read More

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8

September, 2016

Restrictive Covenants: One Size Should Not Fit All

As employers strive for that little edge to stay ahead of their competitors, restrictive covenants – clauses that limit an employee’s ability to work for a competitor, solicit and/or service their employer’s customers, contract with their employer’s vendors, and/or entice away their employer’s staff – have become increasingly common in all types of work environments and for all levels of employees.  From my business clients I know that these clauses are valued for their deterrent effect, even if the employer does not intend to actively enforce them in most situations.  But from my representation of departing and departed employees, I have also seen the dark side of such covenants, with employers who threaten departed employees and imperil their status with their new employer by claiming a breach of covenants that are of questionable enforceability. Read More

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24

July, 2015

Three Major Wage Law Changes Require Reassessing Pay Practices

The legal landscape with regard to who must be paid for their work, and what and how they must be paid is collectively shifting as a result of recent developments from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the federal courts.  A recent decision by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has cleared the way for employers to hire more students as unpaid interns by rejecting a rigid six-factor DOL test that had precluded virtually all unpaid internships.  At the same time, though, the DOL has tightened other standards to push many more workers into the classification of employees (not freelancers or independent contractors) and the DOL projects its new proposed regulations on overtime eligibility will annually entitle millions of more employees to overtime pay. Read More

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30

March, 2015

What is it with Pregnancy?

Pregnant employees, as a protected class, are having their moment in the sun.  The United States Supreme Court just held in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. that pregnant employees may be legally entitled to accommodation of their pregnancy-related work limitations, even if those limitations do not meet the threshold of a legally-recognized “disability”.  Also, for the first time in 25 years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination in July 2014 to declare that pregnant employees should receive the same types of accommodations, for example modified tasks, alternative assignments, or leave, as an employer accords to disabled employees who have requested a reasonable accommodation.

As I discussed earlier this year, in 3 Hyper-Local Laws Employers Can’t Afford to Ignore, various states and municipalities (including New York City) have recently passed laws providing enhanced protection to pregnant employees.  Bills offering similar protections are pending in other state legislatures.

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5

January, 2015

New York State Removes Annual Wage Notice Requirement

Employers are no longer required to annually distribute a notice of wages to their employees pursuant to New York Labor Law section 195.1 (otherwise known as the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act).  The requirement to distribute this notice and obtain each employees’ acknowledgment of receipt between January and February 1 of each year was repealed, effective immediately, as part of a series of amendments to the law that were signed by Governor Cuomo in the final days before of 2014.

Employers are still required, however, to provide the written notice of wage rates to all new hires and obtain their written acknowledgment of receipt. In addition, the recent amendments to the law provide that violations of the notice requirements or other provisions of the state wage laws will result in substantially more punitive consequences for employers including:
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