Law and the Workplace

Category Archives: Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

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New York State Enacts Law Prohibiting Religious Discrimination Based on Appearance

On the heels of enacting a law to prohibit hairstyle discrimination, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that amends the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) to expressly prohibit employment discrimination based on attire, clothing, or facial hair worn as a form of religious observance. Specifically, the new law … Continue Reading

New York State Significantly Expands Workplace Anti-Discrimination Protections

On August 12, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law significant expansions to workplace anti-discrimination protections in New York State. As we previously reported in detail, the new legislation includes numerous measures regarding discrimination and harassment in all forms (not just sexual harassment) in the workplace.  The signing of the bill triggers the countdown to … Continue Reading

[Podcast]: New York State Enacts Law Prohibiting Hairstyle Discrimination

In this episode of The Proskauer Brief, partner Evandro Gigante and associate Laura Fant discuss the recent New York law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of certain hairstyles.  This law expands the definition of race under the New York State Human Rights Law to now expressly include “traits historically associated with race,” which include but are not limited to hair … Continue Reading

New Jersey Expands Medical Marijuana Protections

On July 2, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act (the “Act”), which amends the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (“CUMMA”) to provide greater clarity on the legal protections for both employers and employees. CUMMA, which was signed into law on January 18th, … Continue Reading

New Jersey Becomes the Latest Jurisdiction to Enact Ban on Salary History Inquiries

The push to eliminate inquiries into job applicants’ salary history continues, as New Jersey has enacted a statewide law that will restrict employers from obtaining and utilizing applicants’ salary history information during the hiring process. The new law, which will take effect on January 1, 2020, will make it an unlawful employment practice for any … Continue Reading

Rock Beats Scissor: Federal Law Cuts Through New York State’s Attempt to Prohibit Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims

Proponents of mandatory arbitration in New York can collectively let out a sigh of relief as a federal court judge has weighed in on the question of whether New York State’s law prohibiting mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims (CPLR § 7515), effective July 11, 2018, is preempted by federal law. The short answer, as … Continue Reading

Toledo, Ohio Passes Ban on Salary History Inquiries

Toledo, Ohio is the latest jurisdiction (and the second city in Ohio) to enact a law that will prohibit employers from asking job applicants about salary history. The ordinance, which is scheduled to take effect on June 25, 2020, will apply to employers with fifteen or more employees in Toledo, and will prohibit such employers and their … Continue Reading

California Enacts Law Prohibiting Hairstyle Discrimination … with New York and New Jersey Close Behind

UPDATE: Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York bill into law on July 12, 2019 (effective immediately). As we have reported before, California is set to become the first state to prohibit employers from discriminating based upon hairstyle. Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the “CROWN Act” (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace … Continue Reading

The Clock Is Ticking: Less Than Three Months Until the NYS Deadline for Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

As we find ourselves in the midst of summer, employers in New York should keep an eye on the upcoming October 9th deadline for providing anti-harassment training to all employees. As we previously reported, effective October 9, 2018, all New York State employers are required to adopt written sexual harassment prevention policies and institute annual … Continue Reading

Colorado Enacts Laws Regarding Pay Equity, Salary History and Criminal Background Inquiries

The Colorado legislature has been quite active in recent weeks, passing several new employment laws, many of which reflect nationwide trends. Among other things, the new laws address discriminatory pay disparities, salary history inquiries and criminal background checks. Pay Disparity Effective January 1, 2021, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (the “Act”) will prohibit … Continue Reading

Connecticut Expands Sexual Harassment Training and Notice Requirements

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont recently signed into law the Time’s Up Act (the “Act”), which amends existing state law to impose greater sexual harassment training and notice requirements on employers. Training Requirements Currently, Connecticut law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees. While … Continue Reading

Nevada Enacts Laws Regarding Paid Personal Leave, Drug Testing, and Minimum Wage

Continuing the trend of states passing increasingly progressive employment regulations, Nevada recently enacted three new laws addressing paid leave, workplace drug testing, and minimum wage. Paid Personal Leave Following in the footsteps of Maine, which recently became the first state to enact a personal leave law, SB 312 will require private employers with 50 or … Continue Reading

New York State to Expand Protections Against Discriminatory Pay Practices

UPDATE: Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law on July 10, 2019.  The law will take effect on October 8, 2019. The New York State legislature has passed a bill that, if signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, will expand pay protections by requiring employers to provide employees with equal pay for “substantially similar” work … Continue Reading

New York State to Enact Ban on Salary History Inquiries

UPDATE: Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law on July 10, 2019.  The law will take effect on January 6, 2020. In a continuation of its recent legislative push to expand the reach of anti-discrimination laws, New York State is set to be the latest jurisdiction to prohibit employers from asking job applicants and … Continue Reading

New York State Set to Further Expand Protections Against Workplace Harassment

New York State lawmakers have approved broad legislation that will lower the burden on plaintiffs seeking to prove claims of workplace harassment under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), as well as extend the statute of limitations and expand potential damages for such claims. The bill also expands coverage under the NYSHRL and broadens existing limitations on nondisclosure agreements and mandatory arbitration clauses. This sweeping bill represents the latest effort by the State legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo—who is … Continue Reading

Oregon Aims to Prevent Harassment with the Workplace Protection Act

Employees in Oregon have greater protections against workplace harassment thanks to the recently-passed Workplace Protection Act (the “Act”), which would prohibit requiring nondisclosure agreements for employees or applicants that prohibits them from revealing sexual assault, harassment or discrimination. The new law also requires employers to implement a written anti-harassment policy and it extends the statute … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Filing an EEOC Charge Is Not a Jurisdictional Requirement for Title VII Suits

In a unanimous decision in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, the United States Supreme Court held that while an employee has a mandatory obligation to file a charge with the EEOC prior to bringing a discrimination suit under Title VII, such obligation is a procedural, rather than jurisdictional, requirement.  The key takeaway for employers … Continue Reading

Kansas City, Missouri Passes Ban on Salary History Inquiries

Kansas City, Missouri is the latest jurisdiction (and the second Midwestern city in recent weeks) to enact a law that will prohibit employers from asking job applicants about salary history. The ordinance, which takes effect on October 31, 2019, will apply to employers in Kansas City with six or more employees, and will prohibit such … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Reaffirms Test for Employee Status

On May 8, 2019, the Seventh Circuit reaffirmed its test for determining employee status under federal anti-discrimination laws, holding that a physician lacked standing to bring Title VII claims against the hospital at which she maintained practice privileges because she was not an employee. Levitin v. Northwest Community Hospital, No. 16-cv-3774. Background Plaintiff owned and … Continue Reading

Washington State Legislature Passes Ban on Salary History Inquiries

Washington is poised to become the ninth state to pass a law that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. The state legislature recently passed HB 1696, which would, among other things, prohibit employers from inquiring into the prior “wage or salary history” of an applicant for employment. The bill has … Continue Reading

SCOTUS to Decide Whether Title VII Protects Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

On April 22, 2019, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in three cases that raise the question of whether Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  In two of the cases, Altitude Express v. Zarda and Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the Court will consider whether Title VII’s prohibition on … Continue Reading

Impactful Sexual Harassment Bill Passes Illinois Senate

On April 11, 2019, the Illinois state Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 1829, also known as the Workplace Transparency Act (the “Act”).  If passed by the House of Representatives, the Act would impose new requirements and limitations on Illinois employers with respect to harassment and discrimination claims.  The following are the Act’s key features. … Continue Reading

Proskauer Unveils Employment Law Toolkit and Hosts #Metoo Panel at HR Transform

On March 26 – 28, 2019, Harris Mufson, Danielle Moss, and Samantha Regenbogen attended the second annual HR Transform conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Proskauer was the exclusive legal sponsor of the conference. The HR Transform conference brought together business leaders and HR executives to discuss cutting edge issues regarding human resources and employee workplace … Continue Reading

New York City Issues Final Guidance on Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

As we previously reported, New York City has enacted the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, which is a package of bills aimed at addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Effective April 1, 2019, all New York City employers with 15 or more employees (including interns) are required to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment … Continue Reading
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