A very common misperception in the employment law arena is that if employers conduct sexual harassment training (or any other type of harassment training), the number of claims will increase because employees will be thinking about co-worker conduct and whether it rises to the level of harassment. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
During a union organizing drive at Jimmy John's sandwich shops in Minnesota, the union protested the company's sick leave policy requiring employees to find a replacement if they called in sick by publicly circulating posters suggesting that Jimmy John's was selling sandwiches made by sick employees. The company fired the six employees who circulated the posters, and the employees and the union brought a proceeding against Jimmy John's challenging the terminations.
It was announced yesterday that President Trump has selected Janet Dhillon to serve as the new chair of the EEOC. Ms. Dhillon currently serves as general counsel of Burlington Stores, Inc.
The EEOC still has one vacancy, and another position on the Commission will open next month. If President Trump fills these spots, the new commissioners, along with the new chair, may be implementing policy and/or enforcement changes.
We will continue to watch how the new chair affects the EEOC’s decision-making and priorities.
With all of the local commotion about Uber coming to Rochester, New York, a timely decision has been issued by the New York State Department of Labor with respect to Uber drivers' employment status. On June 9, an administrative judge for the NY Department of Labor found that three New York-based Uber drivers and "others similarly situated" were employees, and thus eligible to receive unemployment benefits because the company exerted enough control over the drivers to establish an employer/employee relationship.
On June 1, 2017, New York State announced the amount that will have to be deducted from nearly all New York employees’ pay to fund the premium for the new paid family leave benefit available to eligible employees beginning on January 1, 2018. The deduction will be 0.126% of each employee’s weekly income, capped at $1.65 per week.
The NLRB would face a 6% funding cut under President Trump’s budget proposal, which was released May 23. The change would reduce the NLRB’s budget by over $15 million in 2018. This decrease would mean employee cuts, as well as a reduction of roughly $8 million in compensation for employees.
The proposal also provides that no NLRB funding may be used to implement electronic voting in union representation elections.
At the end of last month, President Trump officially appointed Philip A. Miscimarra chair of the National Labor Relations Board. Miscamarra is the lone Republican currently sitting on the Board. Two vacancies on the Board remain, which, when filled, can return the Board to a more pro-business position. Even then, the Board will have a lot of work to undo the last several years of reversals over long-standing Board precedent.
As part of the recently passed 2017 New York State Budget, more union members in New York will now be able to deduct their dues on their state tax returns. The deduction will save approximately 500,000 New York union workers about $70 a year, so it will cost the State around $35 million annually.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow employees at private companies to choose to receive compensatory time instead of overtime wages for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The option would be available to those who have worked more than 1,000 for their employer.
Proponents of the bill argue that it allows for more flexibility for employees and especially working parents, while opponents claim this bill would allow employers with less than benevolent intentions to take advantage of their workers.
Last week, New York City joined the growing list of cities banning employers from asking job applicants about their current or past pay rates. The rationale is that employers base the salaries they offer to potential employees on their current or previous salary and thus, if an employee faced pay discrimination in a previous job, it would perpetuate pay discrimination. If an employer is already aware of a prospective employee’s past salary, the legislation prohibits them from using such information to determine the salary.