Law and the Workplace

Tag Archives: employee handbooks/policies

NJ Businesses and Lawmakers Continue Debate over Municipal Sick Leave Laws

Controversy continues to stir over the growing number of municipal sick leave laws in the State of New Jersey.  To date, nine such localities—Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, Newark, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton— have required employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  No other state in the nation has anywhere near … Continue Reading

Credit Checks To Be Banned in NYC

Yesterday, by a 47-3 vote, the New York City Council passed a bill (Int. 0261-2014) to amend the NYC Human Rights Law to prohibit most employers from inquiring into or considering a prospective or current employee’s credit history when making employment decisions. Mayor DeBlasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The bill expansively … Continue Reading

Virginia Governor’s Order “Encourages” Private Employers to “Ban the Box”

Last week, Virginia Governor Terrence McAuliffe signed an executive order “banning the box” on most state employment applications and “encouraging” private employers and government contractors to do the same.  “Ban the box” refers to a legislative and executive trend across the country requiring or encouraging employers to delete the “check box” on job applications asking … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Announces New Standard for Pregnancy Discrimination Claims

On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), which involves a claim of pregnancy discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Young, a UPS driver, claimed that UPS intentionally discriminated against her by refusing to accommodate her pregnancy-related lifting restriction by transferring her to a … Continue Reading

Virginia’s Social Media Law Continues Growing Trend

Man using smartphoneVirginia is now the nineteenth state to provide increased social media protections to prospective and current employees, joining Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. Effective July 1, 2015, Virginia’s law will prohibit an employer from requiring a prospective … Continue Reading

Hawaii Supreme Court Says Employer Failed to Establish “Rational Relationship” Between Applicant’s Drug Conviction and Position Sought

Hawaii, like some other states, only permits employers to consider convictions that bear a “rational relationship to the duties and responsibilities of the position.” Recently, the Hawaii Supreme Court had occasion to decide an issue that few other courts have addressed—the relationship of an applicant’s drug conviction to the job sought. In Shimose v. Hawaii … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Says Trucker Entitled to Overtime

Professional motor carriers generally are exempt from overtime payment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The Third Circuit recently held, however, in McMaster v. Eastern Armored Services, Inc., No. 14-1010 (3d Cir. Mar. 11, 2015), that this exemption did not apply to the plaintiff, a motor carrier employee of the defendant who drove vehicles … Continue Reading

Sick Leave Trend Continues in New Jersey, Constitutional Challenge Begins

This week Bloomfield became the ninth locality in the State of New Jersey to require employers to provide sick leave to their employees, joining Jersey City, Newark, Passaic, East Orange, Paterson, Irvington, Trenton, and Montclair. Bloomfield’s new law is quite similar to the other sick leave laws in New Jersey.  Employers in the city with … Continue Reading

NJ “Ban the Box” Law Takes Effect, “Draft Rule” Proposed

New Jersey’s so-called “ban the box” law took effect on March 1, preventing most employers in the State from asking about a prospective employee’s criminal history on the initial job application and until after the first interview of the candidate has taken place.  For more on the new law, please review our prior client alert. … Continue Reading

Philadelphia Joins List of Cities Mandating Paid Sick Leave

On February 12, 2015, Philadelphia became yet another jurisdiction to pass a law guaranteeing paid sick leave for employees. The Philadelphia ordinance grants certain employees paid sick leave which can be used to respond to physical or mental illness, to care for ill family members, to attend preventative or diagnostic medical appointments, and to respond … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Final Rule Redefining “Spouse” Under FMLA

Today the Department of Labor (DOL) issued its Final Rule revising the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Final Rule adopts a “place of celebration” rule, consistent with the current DOL interpretation in the context of other federal laws.   Under this “celebration” rule, an employee may take FMLA leave to care for an … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Nixes EEOC Retaliation Suit

Last week, in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 2-01-cv-07402 (3d Cir. Feb. 13, 2015), the Third Circuit affirmed that the defendant did not violate federal anti-retaliation laws by offering thousands of terminated at-will employees the opportunity to continue working as independent contractors in exchange for signing a release. By way … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment against EEOC in Background Check Suit

Last week, in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) v. Freeman, No. 13-2365 (4th Cir. Feb. 20, 2015), the Fourth Circuit affirmed the award of summary judgment against the EEOC in its suit alleging that the defendant’s use of credit and criminal background checks had a “disparate impact” on African-American job applicants in violation of Title … Continue Reading

N.J. High Court Adopts Faragher-Ellerth Defense for LAD Sexual Harassment Claims

Last week, in Aguas v. New Jersey, No. A-35-13 (Feb. 11, 2015), New Jersey’s high court for the first time embraced the federal Faragher-Ellerth defense for claims alleging vicarious liability for supervisory sexual harassment under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”). Under the Faragher-Ellerth analysis—which the U.S. Supreme Court crafted almost two decades ago—an employer may … Continue Reading

Employee Gripe Apps: Should Companies Be Concerned?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Lindsay Gellman on a new app by Collectively that allows users to post anonymous reviews of and complaints about their employers.  The app is cheekily called “getthememo.”  According to the article, Collectively’s mission is to create a space for workers “to speak freely about what’s happening … Continue Reading

No End In Sight For Wave of Paid Family and Sick Leave Laws

Employers have been scrambling to keep up with the multitude of paid sick leave laws that were passed in the last several years.  These laws vary by jurisdiction and often can’t be easily reconciled into a uniform policy — an issue for multi-state employers.  As reported in today’s New York Times, President Obama is asking … Continue Reading

New Michigan Law Expands the Types of Criminal Records Applicants & Employees Can Refuse to Disclose to Employers

Existing Michigan law has served to prevent private employers from considering criminal records “set aside” by law (more commonly known as expungement) in hiring and personnel decisions. An amendment to that law, which took effect on January 12, expands the circumstances under which ex-offenders may seek to set aside their criminal records and, thus, may further … Continue Reading

The Top 10 Trends in New Jersey Employment Law in 2014

2014 was another busy year for developments in New Jersey employment law, including in ten key areas—whistleblowing, pre-employment inquiries/background checks, amendments to the Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), LAD litigation, wage and hour, the Family Medical Leave Act, sick leave, states of emergency, arbitration, and “unemployment discrimination.”  Read our Top 10 newsletter to learn more about … Continue Reading

New Jersey’s Minimum Wage Rises to $8.38 in the New Year

Due to to an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), New Jersey’s minimum wage will rise to $8.38 per hour starting January 1, 2015.  This is the second consecutive year that the state’s minimum wage will increase.  Per our prior client alert, last year New Jersey voters approved a constitutional amendment that increased the … Continue Reading

NJ Supreme Court to Rule on SOL Waiver

Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to address whether to uphold a provision in a job application that limited the time in which an employee could sue the company to no more than 6 months after an alleged adverse employment action, notwithstanding a longer statute of limitations (in this case, the 2-year SOL … Continue Reading

EEOC Wellness Program Suits Highlight Need for Agency Guidance

The EEOC has been pursuing litigation against wellness programs of late, arguing that certain health plan penalties render participation in wellness program health screens “involuntary” and thus violate Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits medical exams unless they are  voluntary or  are job-related and consistent with business necessity.  (See recent blog post about this.)  Senate Republicans rightly criticized the EEOC general counsel … Continue Reading

The District Of Columbia Enacts New Employee Protections, Requires Reasonable Accommodation for Pregnant Employees

Following the example of several other states and municipalities, the Council of the District of Columbia recently enacted (and the Mayor of the District of Columbia recently signed) the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014 (the “Act”).  The Act requires employers to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions … Continue Reading

New Ebola Orders from NY and NJ Governors Provide Additional Relief for Employers

Employers in New York and New Jersey who were wondering whether to require employees returning from the three West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who had direct contact with a person with Ebola to stay home from work during the 21-day Ebola incubation period now do not have to make that decision. … Continue Reading

New CDC Ebola Monitoring Protocol is Good News for Employers

The CDC has just announced new active post-arrival monitoring for all travelers entering the U.S. from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea.  This will entail: Screening by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Customs and Border Protection at the airport Providing travelers with a “CARE” kit that includes a thermometer and other guidance on how to … Continue Reading
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