Category Archives: Human Resources/ Employer Matters

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New York City Mandates Cooperative Dialogue for Accommodation Requests

New York
New York City maintains some of the most expansive and comprehensive human rights laws in the nation. Two new amendments to the city’s laws, which address the process that employers (and other covered entities, such as public and housing accommodations) must use to evaluate reasonable accommodation requests from individuals with disabilities, add to the city’s … Continue reading this entry

Paid Sick Leave Requirements Beginning to Resemble a Crazy Quilt of Legislation

Sick
The proliferation of paid sick leave (PSL) laws at state and local levels, with differing and sometimes conflicting provisions, presents compliance challenges for multistate employers.  Last week’s article presented a number of items often addressed in a PSL statute or ordinance.  This week, we offer some general policy considerations to assist employers who are confronted … Continue reading this entry

How To Mitigate Inappropriate Watercooler Talk In The Current Sexually Salacious News Environment

Sexually
Regardless of your political leaning, it is fair to say that national headlines over the past few weeks have been dominated by sexually charged topics. For instance, a porn star known as Stormy Daniels recently gave an extensive interview on the TV newsmagazine show “60 Minutes,” detailing an alleged extramarital affair with President Trump (Yes, … Continue reading this entry

Paid Sick Leave Requirements Driving you Crazy? You Are Not Alone.

Sick
As we have previously reported, the trend of states and jurisdictions enacting paid sick leave (PSL) requirements continues, posing compliance challenges for multistate employers and employers with employees in a both a city and a state with different PSL requirements.… Continue reading this entry

So What’s it Going to Cost Me?

cost
When faced with an employment discrimination, harassment or retaliation claim, often the immediate response is, “We are going to defend ourselves and prove we are right,” followed by, “So what will it cost us if we lose?” This article describes the damages available to a prevailing party under the primary federal employment statutes.… Continue reading this entry

Term Limits? Stock Options are Not as Flexible as You May Think…

Stock
Even though stock options are a commonly used compensation tool, certain issues, such as whether you must/should limit their terms and, if you do, whether you can make changes to their terms after they have been granted, still catch some employers by surprise.… Continue reading this entry

Can Hiring Away a Competitor’s Employees Be an Antitrust Problem?

Antitrust
A senior sales executive for your biggest competitor is looking to jump ship, and wants to join your company. Your management is thrilled.  Not only will your company gain a talented salesperson with industry knowledge and contacts, but you will also be hurting your competitor at the same time.  What a coup! However, the question … Continue reading this entry

You Signed A Consent Decree. So Now What?

Consent
Any employer who has been on the receiving end of a lawsuit filed by the EEOC or a similar state agency is aware that a standard requirement of settling this type of case is entering into a “consent decree.” A consent decree is a public record (which the agency will publicize on its website) that … Continue reading this entry

The Sliding Scale of Reasonable Accommodations

Consent
We have previously discussed how to protect against religious discrimination claims and best practices when addressing requests for religious accommodations. A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (covering Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah) reminds employers that the offered religious accommodation truly has to be “reasonable,” and … Continue reading this entry

Avoiding Investigation Mistakes in the `Me Too’ Era

Too
Workplace investigations have always been a key part of the human resources function and employment law compliance. However, the need for such investigations, and the consequences of conducting them poorly, have grown exponentially in the “Me Too” era. Obviously, more employees are aware of their rights and feel emboldened to exercise them. Additionally, complaints not … Continue reading this entry

The Saga Continues: Second Circuit Court of Appeals Holds that Sexual Orientation Discrimination is Sex Discrimination Under Title VII

VII
We have steadily followed the evolving legal landscape, including the emerging circuit court split, surrounding whether the federal anti-discrimination law, Title VII, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. On February 26, 2018, all of the judges of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Connecticut, New York, and Vermont) heard an appeal … Continue reading this entry

Liability for Employee Misclassification is on the NLRB’s Chopping Block

Liability
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has recently taken one step forward, two steps back in terms of providing certainty to employers that use independent contractors. On February 16, the NLRB invited briefing on the issue of under “what circumstances, if any, should the Board deem an employer’s act of misclassifying statutory employees as independent … Continue reading this entry

April 1, 2018 is Fast Approaching – Are Your Disability Claims Procedures Ready?

Disability
The Department of Labor issued the final disability claims regulations on December 16, 2016. These regulations are effective for all claims filed on or after April 1, 2018. The Department felt the update was needed to provide claimants a full and fair review, to promote fairness and accuracy, and to better protect participants.  The Department … Continue reading this entry

California as a Sanctuary State: Restrictions on Employers’ Compliance with Federal Immigration Actions

California
In October 2017, California passed the widely publicized Senate Bill 54, the unofficial “sanctuary state” bill, which bars state and local law enforcement agencies from asking people about their immigration status. Another new California law, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (Assembly Bill 450), effective January 1, 2018, provides worksite immigration protection for employees while on … Continue reading this entry

Happy 25th Birthday, FMLA! 25 Years Later – Where Are We Now?

FMLA
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month. On February 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the FMLA into law guaranteeing certain employees up to 12 unpaid weeks off of work a year to care for children or ill family members, or to recover from one’s own serious health … Continue reading this entry

An Annual Retirement Plan “Check-Up” May be Just What the Doctor Ordered!

Retirement
February is Heart Health Month, which always reminds me to schedule my annual doctor checkup. This got me thinking that the need for ongoing “checkups” and maintenance applies not just to our health, but to our homes, cars, and even to your company’s retirement plans!  That’s right—if you work with your employer’s tax-qualified retirement plans, … Continue reading this entry

R2-Me2? How Should Employers Respond to Job Loss Caused by Robots?

Robots
There is no question that the use of robots, along with other similar technological changes in the workplace, will continue to eliminate or downgrade jobs. Indeed, it has been estimated that on average, each workplace robot eliminates six jobs. This article will examine (1) the impact such changes will have on women and (2) whether … Continue reading this entry

Even If Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity Are Not Covered By Title VII -- Very Much an Open Question -- LGBTQ Employees May Find a Way to Sue You

LGBTQ
Some pretty horrifying facts about workplace conduct at the Providence, R.I., Fire Department involving co-workers: calling a female lieutenant firefighter “bitch” “c—t,” “lesbian lover,” and “lesbo”; telling her, “I don’t normally like to work with women, but, you know, we like the same thing, so I think we’re going to get along”; spitting on and … Continue reading this entry

Paid Sick Leave Laws are Sweeping the Country: Are You in Compliance?

Sick
Paid sick leave, like paid family leave, is one example of an employment law issue where states are acting without waiting for the federal government.  While former President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing paid sick leave for federal contractors, there is no federal law requiring private sector employers to offer paid sick leave.  Because … Continue reading this entry

Buyer Beware: I-9 Compliance in Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers
With a new tax law and a booming American economy, mergers and acquisitions will occur at a busy pace in 2018.  In a prior post, we explained some of the employment authorization issues that may arise in such corporate transactions.  Here, we discuss another important issue that arises in mergers and acquisitions:  Form I-9 compliance.  … Continue reading this entry

Non-competes for Existing Employees May Require Additional Consideration

Stock
It is not uncommon for employers to ask existing employees to sign non-compete agreements. For example, new management may want to tighten up a company’s protections. Or, changes in the business may make the need for employee non-competes more important.  But non-compete agreements signed by existing employees are not always enforceable and often require the … Continue reading this entry

Are You Required to Pay Your Interns?

Interns
For-profit employers occasionally bring on unpaid interns to work at the company. The question employers must ask is whether an unpaid intern is actually an employee and, therefore, entitled to be paid minimum wage and overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  If an intern is not an employee under the FLSA, … Continue reading this entry

Iceland’s Pay Equity Law: The Start of a New Approach?

Reasonable
Iceland has been touting gender pay equity legislation as a short-term goal since early last year. So it is no surprise that the country’s new law  — which mandates pay equity for males and females – went into effect a few weeks ago.  By enacting specific legislation, Iceland is taking a proactive approach to address actual … Continue reading this entry

Tax Reform and Employee Benefits – What You Need to Know Now

Tax
As you have probably heard by now, the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the Tax Reform Act) made significant changes to the Internal Revenue Code. With regard to executive compensation, the Tax Reform Act made widely publicized changes impacting public companies and nonprofit entities.  The new law also made changes affecting employer-provided retirement, … Continue reading this entry