Latest Articles

As we close the books on 2019, and enter the new decade, New York employers should keep a list of all new legislation handy. Below is our brief summary of legislation effective 2020. New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) In August 2019, Governor Cuomo signed groundbreaking legislation amending the NYSHRL, which we covered.  Several pieces of the law will become effective in the upcoming months, including the following: January 1, 2020: Settlement agreements…
On December 17, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board issued two decisions which dramatically overturn a pair of hotly debated Obama-era rules. The first sets down a rule allowing employers to limit an employee’s use of workplace email to workplace-related subjects – a measure of control which was forbidden to employers under the earlier rule. The second presents a new standard which allows employers to lawfully ban employees from discussing ongoing workplace investigations – another…
What’s happening at McDonald’s should serve as an important lesson for many employers.  In the past two weeks, it was reported that its CEO resigned or was terminated (depending on what news outlet you read) because he exercised “poor judgment” by having an affair with a subordinate.  McDonald’s is facing a brave new world without its CEO with the added expense and distraction of defending new and outstanding sexual harassment lawsuits. What lessons can be…
A Los Angeles jury awarded a black former UCLA phlebotomist nearly $1.6 million in damages for being subjected to racial harassment by co-workers. Birden v. The Regents of the University of California, No. BC6681389 (Los Angeles Superior Court May 30, 2017). Birden, who worked at UCLA as a per diem phlebotomist for approximately one year, alleged that she was subjected to racial slurs and disparaging remarks by Latino co-workers who referred to her as “lazy,”…
With the crowd’s chant of “equal pay” echoing at the Women’s World Cup soccer match and again as the champions float down the Canyon of Heroes, the issue of pay equality continues to be in the spotlight, and the New York legislature has jumped onto this moving train. In addition to passing a powerhouse bill that strengthens protections for workers who claim workplace harassment, New York recently passed two pay equity bills that expand protections…
Harassment claims continue to dominate the legal news, but the Second Circuit recently reminded us that workplace harassment extends far beyond sex and gender. The Circuit recently joined several sister circuits recognizing that a plaintiff can pursue a claim for harassment based on disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), clearing up any doubt regarding the Circuit’s position on the matter.  Fox v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 17-0936-cv (2nd Cir. March 6, 2019).  The…
In a decision that could have wide-ranging implications for all employers, the Fourth Circuit recently held that an employer’s failure to stop a false rumor that a female employee slept with her male boss to obtain a promotion, could give rise to employer liability under Title VII for gender discrimination. Parker v. Reema Consulting Services Inc., No. 18-1206 (4th Cir. Feb. 8, 2019). So now employers must police the rumor mill? This decision is confusing…
As we enter the 3rd year of the #MeToo movement, all signs point towards another year of heightened legal activities in the area of gender discrimination and gender equality. Sexual harassment claims will continue to garner news headlines, but there are bigger threats for employers. For many employers, 2019 will be less about whether their female employees are being harassed, and more about whether they are being treated fairly and equally. What’s the difference you…
Article written for Law360, published on February 6, 2019. In the past few months, we have seen three different cases of religious accommodation claims, with three very different results. In case one, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission failure-to-hire case, on very narrow grounds. In case two, a Florida jury awarded a hotel kitchen employee $21.5 million, after she was terminated for refusing…
As we close the books on 2018, New York employers really cannot relax after the bombardment of last year’s employment law changes. Many of these laws will require new levels of compliance in 2019, not to mention the new laws on the horizon. This post will provide employers with a brief recap of what we saw in 2018, and what we can expect in 2019. LOOKING BACK ON 2018 As we mentioned in our blog…