New York's SHIELD Act Imposes Broad Identity Theft Protection and Information Security Obligations

New York recently enacted the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act (SHIELD Act), which significantly expands New York’s breach notification statute. The SHIELD Act imposes broad obligations upon any business, regardless of whether it has a presence in New York, that maintains private information of New York residents.

“Private information” under the SHIELD Act includes:

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New York Amends its Employment Discrimination and Harassment Laws Yet Again

After significantly expanding its sexual harassment laws last year, New York has again amended the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). This new legislation builds upon last year’s sexual harassment reforms and drastically changes the law of workplace harassment and discrimination in New York.

Key takeaways for employers in New York are:

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New Jersey Enacts a Major Expansion of the Penalties for Wage and Hour Violations, Including Jail Time

On August 6, 2019, New Jersey Lt. Governor Shiela Oliver signed into law yet another expansion of New Jersey’s employment laws. Notably, this latest amendment increases the potential criminal penalties and civil liabilities for employers that violate the state’s wage and hour laws. Most of the amendments went into effect immediately.

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New York Significantly Expands its Equal Pay Protections and Bans Salary History Inquiries

New York recently enacted legislation significantly expanding its equal pay laws and prohibiting employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history. These new laws bring New York State, as a whole, in line with laws currently in effect in New York City and become effective October 8, 2019.

Pay Equity

Currently, New York law protects against gender-based pay inequality by requiring equal pay for equal work. The new legislation, similar to New Jersey’s recent pay equity law expansion, requires equal pay for “substantially similar work” and applies to all protected categories, including, race, sexual orientation, and disability, not just gender.

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New Jersey Bans Salary History Inquiries

On July 25, 2019, following a similar trend in other states, New Jersey enacted a ban on employers inquiring into an applicant’s prior salary history. This ban goes into effect on January 1, 2020, and is intended to complement the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, which became effective July 2, 2018.

The new law prohibits employers from requiring applicants to provide salary history or requiring that an applicant’s salary history meet any minimum threshold for consideration for a position.

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Employee Handbooks Continue to be Important in Protecting a Business -- Is Your's Updated?

In one of our original posts, which is reprinted below, we discussed the importance of an employee handbook in protecting a business. As readers of this blog are aware, employment laws are constantly changing and implementing and updating, as necessary, a business’s employee handbook helps ensure compliance the law and reduces the risk of liability. Given the recent changes to employment laws, the importance of a handbook in protecting a business cannot be overstated and the five reasons listed below remain as applicable, if not more so, as they did in the past.

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New York Employers Must Post Election Rights Notice by June 15, 2019!

As we previously posted, New York recently amended its Election Law to provide that registered voters are entitled to receive up to three hours of time off to vote, without loss of pay. As explained in the updated notice issued by the State Board of Elections, employees are allowed to take time off to vote at either the beginning or end of the employee’s work shift, unless otherwise agreed to between the employer and employee. Employees are required to notify their employers at least two days before the election of their need for time off to vote.

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New Jersey Employers Face Numerous Changes to Employment Laws in 2018 and 2019

Since 2018, under Governor Phil Murphy’s Administration, New Jersey has been actively expanding its existing employment laws and enacting new ones. The constantly evolving and changing landscape of employment laws presents potential difficulties and risks for New Jersey employers who must comply with an increasingly complex human resources compliance environment. We have written about many of these changes, which include, the following:

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New Jersey Employers Must Update Their Workplace Postings to Include the NJDOL's New Family Leave Posters

As we previously posted, New Jersey recently expanded family leave entitlements for workers in the state. That included expanding coverage of the New Jersey Family Leave Act and New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance benefits. The New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) recently issued updated versions of the mandatory workplace posters for the New Jersey Family Leave Act and Family Leave Insurance. The NJDOL also issued updated its Frequently Asked Questions for Family Leave Insurance.

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2019 Continues to Bring More Changes to New York's (and New York City's) Employment Laws

As readers of this blog are aware, over the past couple of years both New York State and New York City have been active in passing laws governing the workplace. That trend is continuing in 2019 as new laws go into effect and others are implemented by the State and City. Employers must remain vigilant in keeping abreast of new laws and ensuring compliance with them to avoid potential legal liabilities.

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New Jersey Enacts Auto IRA Program for Employers of 25 or More Employees

On March 28, 2018, New Jersey joined California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, and Oregon by enacting an auto-enrollment IRA program. The program, known as the New Jersey Secure Choice Savings Program (the “Program”), will require all New Jersey employers with 25 or more employees to participate in a state run IRA program, unless they have their own retirement plan.

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New Jersey Significantly Expands its Employee Family Leave Entitlements

On February 19, 2019, Governor Murphy signed into law legislation significantly expanding employees' rights under the State's Family Leave Act (NJFLA), Temporary Disability Law (NJTDL), and the Security and Financial Empowerment Act (SAFE Act). These amendments significantly effect employers in New Jersey. Some of the more significant changes are discussed below.

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U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Increasing Salary Requirement for White Collar Overtime Exemptions

On March 7, 2019, the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to increase the minimum salary level for workers exempt from overtime.

Under federal law workers are generally entitled to receive overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a week, unless they are exempt from overtime under a specific exemption set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The most common exemptions are the "white collar exemptions"

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New Jersey Enacts $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

On February 4, 2019, Governor Murphy signed into law a minimum wage increase that will increase New Jersey's minimum wage for most workers from $8.85 to $15 per hour by 2024. The $15 per hour minimum wage will be phased in according to the following schedule: 

Effective Date                                  New Minimum Wage

 July 1, 2019:                                                 $10 per hour

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2019 Brings Significant New Obligations For New York Employers - Is Your Business Ready?

As we enter 2019, employers throughout New York must start preparing to comply with several new obligations going into effect this year at the state and local level. 

 Sexual Harassment Training

 As we previously posted, both New York State and New York City significantly expanded their sexual harassment laws in 2018. Among other changes, both of those laws require employers to provide sexual harassment training in 2019.

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