Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its Fiscal Year 2015 Enforcement and Litigation Data. In 2015, individuals filed over 89,000 employment discrimination charges with the Commission. This is an astonishing number and should cause employers to take note. Indeed, for the first time since 2011, the number of charges filed with the EEOC is on the rise. Since the all-time high of 99,947 charges filed in 2011 until last year, the number had been steadily declining.
Beginning in September 2017, employers with more than 100 employees will have to include information about pay rates categorized by gender, race and ethnicity. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have teamed up on the proposal, timed on the seventh anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended the statute of limitations for filing equal pay cases.
Last week Governor Cuomo announced the implementation of new regulations to protect New York’s transgendered citizens. The new regulations prohibit harassment and discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, transgender status, or gender dysphoria.
In April 2015, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office sent letters to 13 major retail chains seeking information about their scheduling practices. Specifically, the AG sought information regarding “on-call” policies, requiring workers to be off the clock but ready to report to work if necessary for business demands. The practice allows little predictability for employees who typically work part-time, and often leads to difficulty scheduling child care and unavailability to work a second job elsewhere if the employee is told not to report to work.
With the new year comes some new laws relating to your workforce. New York has new legislation going into effect dealing with gender in the workplace. The Women’s Equality Agenda will take effect January 19, 2016, and is a group of eight different laws.
Effective mid-January, 2016, New York’s amendment to Section 630 of its Business Corporation Law will make the top ten largest shareholders of a non-publicly traded foreign corporation personally liable for unpaid wages. The legislation extends the liability to any foreign corporation “when the unpaid services were performed in the state.”
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that the publication of its long-awaited final rule expanding the number of employees eligible for overtime pay will not occur until late 2016. Because of this delay, the time between publication and effective date is expected to be only 30-60 days, as opposed to the more standard 120 days. Accordingly, employers are advised to prepare for this short window by reviewing its current classifications with experienced employment counsel based on the proposed rule released on June 30, 2015.
This fall is a good time to remind your employees that current events are not always the best topic at work. Discussing the news and politics can be common among employees, but you need to be sure any such conversations do not end up offending co-workers.
Last week, a New York Court again declined to dismiss a lawsuit where the plaintiff claims to represent a class of women who were allegedly denied adequate workplace space to breastfeed.
For employers who pay their exempt employees on a bi-weekly basis, the 2015 calendar has a quirk that may give the employees a one-year, de facto raise or bonus. The reason for this is that January 1, 2016 falls on Friday so that a payroll run, as is typical on the day before a holiday, would result in 2015 having 27 payrolls instead of 26.