Law and the Workplace
Allan Weitzman

Allan Weitzman

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Recent SDNY Rulings Provide Insight into the Value of Voluntary Title III Settlement Agreements with Governmental Agencies Against Future Claims

When considering whether to enter into a voluntary settlement agreement with a governmental agency regarding the accessibility a place of public accommodation, clients often ask how much protection is gained against potential future claims brought against the same location by other parties.  A recent series of rulings in a litigation brought under Title III of … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Justice Increases Civil Penalties For Violations of Title III of the ADA

On March 28, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued a Final Rule increasing the amount of civil penalties available for violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  The maximum civil penalty for a first violation of Title III increased from $55,000 to $75,000, with a new maximum for subsequent … Continue Reading

NY Court of Appeals Ruling Stresses the Need for Employers to Engage In and Document the Interactive Process

The New York Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Jacobsen v. N.Y.C. Health & Hosps. Corp., No. 34, 2014 N.Y. LEXIS 570 (Mar. 27, 2014), stresses the need for employers responding to requests for accommodation by employees with disabilities to engage in a thoughtful, individualized, interactive process that it also well documented.  Failure by the … Continue Reading

Mayor de Blasio Signs New York City Sick Leave Law – Notice of Rights Available

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the amended Earned Sick Time Act on Thursday, March 20, 2014. The law takes effect April 1, 2014. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) has now posted FAQs and template notices on its website. All employers must issue a notice of rights to employees. Please read … Continue Reading

Raising Wages by Tightening the White-Collar Overtime Exemptions–The President’s Initiative

Last week, President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Labor to revise and modernize the “white- collar” overtime exemptions of the Fair Labor Standards Act to extend overtime benefits to a broader range of workers. This alert summarizes the President’s Memorandum, outlines what employers might expect in the coming months, and reminds employers to remain proactive … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues New Guidance on Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace

As religious discrimination charges have increased steadily, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a new question-and-answer guide and accompanying fact sheet on religious dress and grooming in the workplace, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to improve employer awareness and compliance. The guide answers sample employers’ questions about how federal employment … Continue Reading

Massachusetts and Vermont Paid Sick Time

  Bills pending in Massachusetts and Vermont mandating paid sick time follow the precedent set by Rhode Island and Connecticut, potentially spreading the requirement through New England. New York and the District of Columbia recently also adopted similar requirements, and paid sick leave bills are pending, or campaigns to require them are under way, in 18 … Continue Reading

DOJ and National Federation of the Blind Enter Into Consent Decree with H&R Block to Require Website and Mobile Application Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities

On March 6, 2014, the National Federation of the Blind and the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”), as a plaintiff-intervenor, entered into a consent decree with HRB Digital LLC and HRB Tax Group, Inc. (collectively, “H&R Block” or “Defendants”) to remedy alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), as asserted … Continue Reading

Supreme Court’s Sandifer Decision Is Not Just About Changing Clothes

In Sandifer et al. v. United States Steel Corp., a unanimous Supreme Court clarified the meaning of “changing clothes” found in Section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or “Act”), holding that “changing clothes” includes putting on (donning) and taking off (doffing) protective gear. Section 203(o) of the FLSA allows employers and unions … Continue Reading

Broad Definition of “Disability” Endorsed By Fourth Circuit

In its recently published opinion in Summers v. Altarum Institute, Corp., No. 13-1645, decided January 23, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit became the first federal appellate court to hold that a sufficiently severe temporary impairment may constitute a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 by applying the … Continue Reading

New York City Earned Sick Time Act to Be Expanded

The New York City Earned Sick Time Act (the Act) will take effect on April 1, 2014. The Act requires most New York City employers to provide mandatory paid and unpaid sick leave to employees working in New York City, subject to certain minimum coverage requirements. On Friday, January 17, Mayor Bill de Blasio, standing … Continue Reading

New York State Takes Aim at Worker Misclassification: The Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act

  On Friday, January 10, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed into law the New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act (the Act), which is effective on March 11, 2014. The Act amends the New York Labor Law to create a presumption that any person performing commercial goods transportation services for a commercial goods … Continue Reading

DOJ Releases Updated Guidance on Effective Communication

This winter, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released a new technical assistance guidance (the “Guidance”) elaborating upon the Effective Communication obligations set forth in the regulations governing Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the accompanying 2010 Standards for Accessible Design. The Guidance is available for download from the … Continue Reading

DOJ Releases Updated Guidance on Wheelchairs, Mobility Aids, and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices

This winter, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released a new technical assistance guidance (the “Guidance”) regarding Wheelchairs, Mobility Aids, and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices (“OPDMD”), which elaborates upon the requirements set forth in the regulations governing Titles II (State and Local governments) and III (places of public accommodation) of the Americans with Disabilities … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Decision Inaccurately Touted by Plaintiffs’ Bar

It has been consistently held under the Florida Whistleblower Act (“FWA”) covering private employers that there is no protection under the FWA if the employee’s complaint is not for an “actual” violation of a law, rule or regulation.  The law for public employers is broader because it includes disclosure of “suspected violation.”  Nevertheless, on an … Continue Reading

New York City Earned Sick Time Act Takes Effect April 1, 2014

The New York City Earned Sick Time Act (the Act) has an enabling provision that ties its effective date to a Federal Reserve index measure of the New York City economy on December 16, 2013. That index measure has now been met. Therefore, the Act will take effect on April 1, 2014. Read this alert … Continue Reading

Air Carrier Access Act: Department of Transportation Finalizes New Rules Governing Accessibility of Airline Web Sites and Kiosks

The United States Department of Transportation recently issued a series of final rules geared to improve air travel accessibility for individuals with disabilities as part of its continuing implementation of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, 49 U.S.C. 41705. This alert takes a close look at the rules, which go into effect on December … Continue Reading

New York State Amends Labor Law to Protect Child Models

Runway and print models under the age of 18 are now considered “child performers” under an amendment to the New York Labor Law, Art. 4-A, §§ 150-154 signed by Governor Cuomo on October 21, 2013. This amendment is significant because it provides child models the same protections under the labor law as other young entertainers, including child … Continue Reading

AAA Adopts Optional Appellate Arbitration Process

Parties now have an opportunity to seek review of unfavorable arbitration awards before an appellate arbitral panel, pursuant to the Optional Appellate Arbitration Rules (Rules), recently released by the American Arbitration Association, effective November 1, 2013. This alert takes a look at the new rules, which describe the process and requirements for parties wishing to … Continue Reading

Joint Standards Proposed for Assessing Diversity Policies and Practices of Dodd-Frank Covered Entities

 Last month the six federal agencies that are subject to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 released jointly-proposed standards for assessing the diversity policies and practices of the entities they regulate. This alert provides an analysis of the proposed standards, which were published in the Federal Register on October 25, … Continue Reading

The Florida Civil Rights Act Amendment

The Florida Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”) prohibits discrimination in employment based on many protected categories but pregnancy is not expressly listed as one of them.  There has been a split in the Florida District Courts of Appeal as to whether pregnancy is covered under the FCRA.  To resolve the split, the Florida Supreme Court heard … Continue Reading

Employer Must Prove Indefinite Leave Is Undue Hardship Under NYCHRL, Says New York’s Highest Court

The New York State Court of Appeals’ recent holding in Romanello v. Intesa Sanpaolo, 2013 N.Y. LEXIS 2755; 2013 Slip Op 6600 (N.Y. Oct. 10, 2013), now makes it more difficult for employers covered by the New York City Human Rights Law (Administrative Code of City of NY § 8-107[1][a]) (“NYCHRL”) to terminate employees who … Continue Reading

Are You Ready for the Final Wage Deduction Rules?

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) issued final Wage Deduction regulations, effective October 9, 2013. This alert examines these regulations, which set forth the requirements for making authorized lawful deductions from employee wages under Section 193 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL), plus describe the mandatory requirements for recovering overpayments due to … Continue Reading

OFCCP Issues Long-Awaited VEVRAA and Section 503 Final Rules

On August 27, 2013, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) released long-awaited Final Rules that substantially impact federal contractor compliance obligations under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act, as amended (“VEVRAA”) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503). VEVRAA and Section 503 Final Rules impose significant … Continue Reading
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