Supreme Court Rejects Principle That FLSA Exemptions Must Be Narrowly Construed, Granting A Victory To Employers

On April 2, 2018, in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, the United States Supreme Court rejected the longstanding principle that exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) overtime pay requirements should be construed narrowly, granting a victory to employers.

 In Encino, a majority of the Court held that service advisors at car dealerships are exempt from the FLSA's overtime pay requirements. While this holding directly applies only to a particular segment of workers in one industry, the Court's overall decision has much broader implications.

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New York City Employers Must Permit Employees to Make Temporary Work Schedule Changes

As readers of this blog know, New York City has been very active in enacting laws that govern the employment relationship. New York City's latest law will require employers to grant employees the right to make a limited number of temporary schedule changes for personal reasons. This law becomes effective July 18, 2018.

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New York City Expands Employee Protections Under the NYC Human Rights Law

New York City recently enacted two amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), which will go into effect later this year and expand employee rights under the law.

 Amendment to Definitions of Sexual Orientation and Gender

 The first amendment expands the definitions of "sexual orientation" and "gender" under the NYCHRL and will take effect May 11, 2018.

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New Jersey Employers Must Accommodate Breastfeeding Mothers

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) was recently amended to prohibit discrimination against breastfeeding employees. Not only does the amendment prohibit discrimination against such employees, but it also requires employers to provide breastfeeding employees with a reasonable accommodation to express breastmilk. 

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Are You Leaving Your Business Exposed to a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?

Sexual harassment claims continue to dominate headlines and remain at the forefront of social awareness. As is apparent from the news, social media, and the #MeToo movement, many women have been exposed to sexual harassment at work.

Sexual (or any unlawful) harassment can be devastating to a business. It erodes employee morale and productivity, negatively impacts employee retention, and  exposes a business to significant liability and legal costs.

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NYC Releases Updated Pregnancy Accommodation Notice and Fact Sheet

The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) requires employers in New York City, with four or more employees, to provide employees with reasonable accommodations relating to pregnancy and childbirth.  The NYCHRL also requires employers to provide employees with notice of their rights to pregnancy related accommodations at the time of hire and by posting a notice of such rights in the workplace.

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What Employers Need to Know About the Proposed Changes to the FLSA Tip Sharing Rules

On December 5, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a Proposed Rule rescinding its 2011 regulations concerning mandatory tip pooling.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers may, in certain situations, take a "tip credit" for some of the tips a tipped employee receives to satisfy the employer's minimum wage obligations. 

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'Tis the Season: Is Your Business Ready to Comply with its Year-End Employment Obligations?

As we enter the Holiday Season, business owners need to remain mindful of upcoming changes in employment laws and the year-end human resources compliance obligations that might effect their businesses.

Minimum Wage Increases

 The minimum wage in both New York and New Jersey is set to increase shortly. 

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Employees Must be Paid for Breaks Shorter than 20 Minutes, Third Circuit Holds

Does your business have an employee break policy? Do you pay employees during their coffee, bathroom, and other short breaks? According to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over New Jersey), if those breaks last less than 20 minutes, employees must be paid for that time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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NYC Issues Fact Sheets On Salary History Inquiry Ban

As I previously posted, beginning October 31, 2017, it will be unlawful in New York City for an employer to inquiry about a job applicant's salary history during the hiring process or rely upon an applicant's prior salary history when setting compensation.  The New York Commission on Human Rights, which enforces the law, has issued an Employer Fact Sheet and a Job Applicant Fact Sheet providing guidance on the law.

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Five Steps to Protect Your Business When Terminating Employees

Terminating an employee is something most, if not all, business owners will need to do at some point. While employment in the United States is "at-will," anti-discrimination and other similar laws do make some reasons for termination unlawful. Employers that do not properly plan for terminations expose themselves to needless claims. Fortunately, there are steps that employers can take to minimize the risk of facing a wrongful termination claim.

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Five Reasons Employers Should Implement Employee Confidentiality Agreements

Most businesses have and use a significant amount of confidential information. Such information can range from customer lists to proprietary manufacturing processes and formulas, which give a business a competitive advantage in its market.  

Although common law principles and statutes, such as the state Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) and the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), provide protection of a business's confidential information, most businesses would greatly benefit by implementing employee confidentiality agreements, yet few do so.  

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Starting your Business - Which Legal Entity is Right for You?

When starting a business, choosing the type of entity for that business is a crucial decision. That decision can affect the business owners taxes, liability for business obligations, and the management of the business.  Given the possible legal and tax consequences of this decision, it is one that should be made with the advice and counsel of a both a lawyer and a tax professional. Highlights of the features of several types of business entities are noted below.  

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New York Case Law Update - Second Circuit Confirms "Motivating Factor" Standard for FMLA Retaliation Claims

In Woods v. START Treatment & Recovery Centers, Inc., the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that an employee alleging unlawful retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), must prove that her exercise of FMLA rights was a "motivating factor" in an employer's adverse employment action.  The "motivating factor" standard is a lower standard of causation than the "but for" standard typically used in the context of employment claims.

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Complying with New York's Hiring Laws

I previously wrote about issues faced by employers when hiring employees.  As I discussed, in order to comply with all legal requirements surrounding hiring, employers must be familiar with federal law as well as applicable state and local laws.  As with New Jersey, New York has implemented specific requirements that an employer must understand in order to not run afoul of the law when hiring an employee.  Employers in New York City have even more requirements they must comply with.

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NYC Employers Will No Longer Be Able to Inquire as to an Applicant's Salary History

On May 4, 2017, Mayor de Blasio signed legislation prohibiting employers from inquiring into, or relying on, an applicant's salary history at any stage in the employment process.  This salary history inquiry ban will take effect October, 31, 2017 and continues a trend in New York City to enact local laws effecting the employment relationship.  Other relatively recent New York City legislation includes the NYC Earned Sick Time Act and the NYC Commuter Benefits Law. 

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