Labor Days

News and Analysis from Kelley Drye’s Labor and Employment Practice

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…
On October 13, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 51 (“AB 51”).  In a momentous upheaval of existing law, AB 51 prohibits California employers from requiring employees to agree to arbitrate certain disputes as a condition of new or continued employment.  AB 51 also prohibits employers from retaliating against any employee who refuses to agree to arbitration.  AB 51 takes effect January 1, 2020. AB 51 is one of many bills…
In June 2019, the Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HR1438) (“Cannabis Act”) was signed into law, legalizing the use and possession of recreational cannabis for adults age 21 or older beginning January 1, 2020.  In a previous Labor Days blog post, we discussed the likely impact of this law on employers in Illinois.  In short, the Cannabis Act (1) permits employers to establish non-discriminatory, “reasonable zero tolerance or drug free workplace policies” that…
On Wednesday, December 4th, Barbara Hoey, Co-Chair of Kelley Drye’s Labor and Employment Practice and David Frulla, Chair of the firm’s Campaign Finance and Political Law Practice hosted a one hour webinar focused on best practices of handling all aspects of politics in the workplace. They reviewed federal and state rules regarding employees’ political activity and speech in the workplace, and compliance issues related to federal campaign finance laws when a company or its executives…
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…
Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2019 Time: 12:30 pm ET | 11:30 am CT Managing employee requests related to disabilities (actual, perceived or alleged) remains a trap for the unwary Human Resources department. Requests may involve leave for extended or unlimited periods of time, workplace changes and more. Employers must consider numerous laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and state and local counterparts. Know your legal obligations and reduce…
The labor movement sent a powerful and potentially revolutionary signal to the tech industry this past week on September 24: contract employees of HCL Technologies, working under a renewable contract with Google, voted to unionize for better salaries, benefits, and working conditions. Nearly 80 contract HCL employees stationed in Google’s Pittsburgh office joined the United Steelworkers trade union, which represents more than 850,000 American employees across various industries. Significantly, this marked the first time contract…
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,”…
The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Treasury recently issued joint final regulations expanding the availability of health reimbursement arrangements (“HRAs”) by introducing two new types of HRAs – Individual Coverage HRAs and Excepted Benefit HRAs. The following is a brief overview of the requirements employers must satisfy in order to offer HRA coverage to their employees, and employees’ dependents, under one of these new arrangements. Background HRAs constitute group health plans that…