New York News & Analysis

  • Tips to ensure you are prepared for a deposition

    For an HR professional, giving a deposition is a lot like visiting the dentist. You know it's necessary, but you probably aren't looking forward to it. You may be asked questions you don't want to answer (like how often you actually floss). And finally, consistently responsible practices should reduce your stress levels about the event, make it go a lot smoother, and prevent worse problems in the future.

  • Rising concerns about distracted drivers

    In many industries, employees are required to drive their own or company-owned vehicles as part of their job duties. In light of the ubiquity of smartphones and the ingenuity that leads to the ability to multitask while driving, employees, employers, and lawmakers have grown more and more concerned about distracted drivers.

  • Workplace Trends

    NFIB speaks out against predictive scheduling laws. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) issued a statement in March in opposition to state and local laws requiring employers to provide hourly workers their work schedules weeks in advance. The organization said such laws aren't always possible or realistic for small businesses. "It severely limits owners' control over their scheduling decisions and urgent business needs," the statement said. The organization pointed to laws in Oregon, Seattle, and San Francisco and said the unpredictability of staff needs in certain industries like construction and hospitality raises concerns. "The laws not only prevent employers from adjusting to market changes, bad weather, or other demands outside their control, but they also prevent employees from picking up additional work hours at a moment's notice or requesting unanticipated time off," the statement said.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB chair claims joint-employment comment review not outsourced. Responding to concerns from congressional Democrats, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chair John F. Ring says his agency is not outsourcing the review of public comments on the joint-employer standard. In March, Ring wrote a letter to Bobby Scott, chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Frederica S. Wilson, chair of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor & Pensions, saying the Board has not outsourced the substantive review of comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on what constitutes joint employment. Instead, he said the NLRB decided "to engage temporary support on a limited, short-term basis to perform the initial sorting and coding of the public comments." He said the process ensures confidentiality protections are in place, and the Board's professionals will perform the first substantive review of the comments.

  • Sticks and stones: hostile work environment claims under the ADA

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has long allowed an employee to establish discrimination through the existence of a "hostile work environment." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, whose decisions control in New York, has recently recognized a hostile work environment claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Joining its "sister Circuits," the Second Circuit held that a disabled employee could allege his coworkers' taunts and mockery amounted to a hostile work environment prohibited by law. While the Second Circuit didn't hold the coworkers' alleged words and actions were illegal under the ADA, it held open the possibility that sufficiently "severe and pervasive" maltreatment may subject an employer to liability under the ADA.

  • U.S. DOL's overtime 'do-over'

    In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) under the Obama administration released overtime rules that more than doubled the minimum salaried-exempt threshold for "white-collar" and other salaried-exempt employees. The 2016 final overtime rules increased the minimum salary threshold for administrative, executive, or professional (APE) employees from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $913 per week ($47,476 annually). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business interests immediately launched lawsuits and obtained a stay (or hold) on the rules' implementation from a U.S. district court in Texas. Three years later, the DOL—now under the Trump administration—is again attempting to modify the minimum salary threshold for salaried-exempt employees, albeit in a less drastic fashion.

  • Romance at work: Is ignorance really bliss?

    Relationships between coworkers are hardly uncommon. A 2016 survey found 37 percent of employees had dated a coworker and 23 percent reported they had dated a superior. With these stats, employers should be justifiably concerned that a workplace romance may lead to sexual harassment or retaliation allegations—or even litigation.

  • Know the legal issues you face when employees work past 65

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 69 are still employed. That number has been steadily rising, and it's expected to reach 36 percent over the next five years.

  • Walmart greeter fiasco provides important employment lessons

    Have you ever walked into a Walmart and been greeted by an employee—frequently disabled or elderly—who seemed to have no responsibilities other than to welcome customers to the store? Did you ever wonder what the point of the position was or why a corporation the size of Walmart would pay so many people to do it?

  • Agency Action

    DOL announces new compliance assistance tool. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in February announced the launch of an enhanced electronic version of the Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new online version of Wage and Hour Division (WHD) publications aims to assist employers and workers with a resource that provides basic WHD information as well as links to other resources. The WHD established the electronic guide as part of its efforts to modernize compliance assistance materials and provide accessible information to guide compliance. The tool offers a new design—reformatted for laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices—and provides additional resources and related information, including plain-language videos.