NYC Releases Anti-Harassment Training Video

Wide angle view over Manhattan towards the Empire State Building, Manhattan, New York City, USA.As discussed in our New York Quarterly Newsletters, employers in New York City who have 15 or more employees (inclusive of independent contractors) are required to provide anti-sexual harassment training on or before December 31, 2019 to all employees who work in New York City (this includes employees who only work part time in New York City, or who only interact with employees working in New York City).

Employers have been awaiting a model training module from the City that would satisfy the City and New York State’s training requirements, and the City has finally delivered. The model training, which is a 45 minute video, rather than a Power Point presentation, like the state’s model training, can be found on New York City’s website, and will satisfy the mandatory training requirement for both New York State and New York City. Employers are not required to use the City’s model video, and instead, may use their own training methods, provided they meet the City’s minimum requirements.

If you would like assistance in determining whether the model training video, or a more customized approach is appropriate for you, please reach out to Amy J. Traub for more information.

The DOL’s Highly Anticipated Rule to Increase the Minimum Salary Threshold for Overtime Exemptions is Officially Open for Public Comment

On March 22, 2019, the DOL announced the official publication of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Registrar and the commencement of the 60-day period for public comments. All public comments on the proposed new rule must be received by May 21, 2019 in order to be considered by the DOL in preparing its final rule. BakerHostetler’s Employment Group is available to assist in the preparation and drafting of any comments for submission to the DOL on this matter.

Once published, the DOL’s Final Rule will provide the date that the new rule will go into effect. Based upon the DOL’s current timing, it appears that the agency is targeting January 2020 for the new rule to go into effect.

Read more analysis in a recently published BakerHostetler client alert.

NYC Guidance For Discrimination Based on Hair and Hairstyles

Wide angle view over Manhattan towards the Empire State Building, Manhattan, New York City, USA.Last week, the NYC Commission on Human Rights issued legal enforcement guidance on racial discrimination on the basis of hair under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The guidance indicates that natural hair or hairstyles are closely associated with racial, ethnic or cultural identities, and it specifically addresses natural hair or hairstyles most commonly associated with black people because “there is a strong, commonly-known racial association between Black people and hair styled into twists, braids, cornrows, Afros, Bantu knots, fades, and/or locs.” The phrase “Black people” is defined as those who identify as “African, African American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latin-x/a/o or otherwise having African or Black ancestry.” The guidance indicates that grooming policies may implicate other protected classes and religious groups such as Rastafarians, Native Americans, Sikhs, Muslims and Jews.

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California Supreme Court: Payroll Companies Not Liable to Client’s Employees for Unpaid Wages

Close-up picture of a personal check and American Dollars with selective focus. Great use for financial concepts.The California Supreme Court has cut off another avenue for employees to sue payroll provider companies for unpaid wages. California courts have previously found that employees cannot sue a payroll company under a theory that the company is the “employer.” In a new decision, the California Supreme Court held that employees cannot sue payroll companies for unpaid wages under theories that the employee is a third-party beneficiary of the contract between the employer and the payroll company or that the payroll company acted negligently in not paying the employee the wages owed.

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California Federal District Court Interprets Recent California Court of Appeal Decision to Broadly Prohibit Employee Non-Solicitation Agreements

California employers and their legal counsel reasonably had assumed that California law distinguishes employee non-solicitation agreements from noncompetition agreements and that the former were enforceable. That assumption was based largely on a 1985 decision by the California Court of Appeal in Loral Corp. v. Moyes, 174 Cal. App. 3d 268, which enforced an agreement prohibiting a former company executive from soliciting the employees of his former employer to join his new venture. However, that assumption has been upended by recent decisions by the California Court of Appeal and the United States District Court for the Northern District of California invalidating employee non-solicitation agreements. Because it is now possible that California courts will invalidate employee non-solicitation agreements, employers will need to carefully consider eliminating those provisions from agreements with their employees.

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New Lactation Room Requirements in NYC Going Into Effect Soon

Wide angle view over Manhattan towards the Empire State Building, Manhattan, New York City, USA.As many of you have probably heard, late last year, the New York City Council passed two laws that will amend the NYC Human Rights Law to expand the requirements of employers to provide lactation space for breastfeeding employees and to develop lactation policies and processes for employees to request accommodations for nursing. These new laws take effect March 17, 2019, which is right around the corner!

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Background Check Disclosures with State Law Information Are Illegal, Ninth Circuit Declares in Class Action Case

Tired businessman with stack of office files

Check your background check disclosure forms. Now.

The Ninth Circuit has now declared that background check disclosure forms that include state law disclosures are illegal. Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores, LLC, Case No. 17-16263 (9th Cir. Jan. 29, 2019).

Read more.

New York State (Finally) Passes Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act

The Dictionary definition of the word “discrimination” photo taken through magnifying glass from a page of a dictionary with selective focus.

Last week, following 16 years of discussion and debate, the New York state legislature finally passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). The act would amend the state New York Human Rights Law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in housing, employment and public accommodations. The act defines gender identity or expression as “a person’s actual or perceived identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.” Although the act has amended the New York State Human Rights Law to specifically include gender identity and gender expression as protected classes, the change may be less significant than one would expect. Notably, in October 2015, New York adopted regulations to prohibit harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender identity, transgender status and gender dysphoria. In addition, the Model Sexual Harassment Policy for New York Employers issued by New York in October 2018 prior to the passage of the act states that sexual harassment includes harassment on the basis of gender expression, gender identity and the status of being transgender, and that harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender identity are prohibited. New York state follows several other states; cities, including New York City; and counties that have passed legislation protecting gender identity and gender expression. The act goes further to amend the state penal law to include certain offenses motivated by gender identity and expression in the hate crime statute.

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New Year Brings New Requirements For Calculating Tipped Employee Wages In Massachusetts

Foreground focus is on a glass jar labeled "tips" in chalk.  The jar is sitting to one side on a rustic wooden table, full of coins and bills, with coffee shop scenery in the background.

Earlier this year, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a comprehensive bill titled “An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave and the Sales Tax Holiday,” which brought a variety of new protections for employees in Massachusetts. These protections include the implementation of a state-administered paid family and medical leave program, an increase of the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023, and a phaseout of time-and-a-half pay on Sundays and holidays. In addition to these highly publicized provisions, the bill included new requirements regarding the calculation of the wages for tipped employees.

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Reminder: NJ Sick Leave Act Becomes Effective This Month

Reminder – Earlier this year (as we reported in this post), the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (NJPSLA) was approved. The NJPSLA mandates that employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of sick leave time during a consecutive 12-month period. The NJPSLA goes into effect October 29, 2018.

Since we last reported on this, the New Jersey Department of Labor released proposed regulations related to the NJPSLA. The regulations are still in the comment period and are not anticipated to be enacted prior to 2019, which means they will not be enacted prior to the effective date.

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