Labor & Employment Blog



Word from the 2016 Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) National Legislative Conference this week is that the new federal Department of Labor regulations (Part 541) regarding overtime will be out sooner than expected, in the latter part of April.  In addition to the well-publicized increase in the minimum salary that will need to be paid to make an employee exempt from overtime pay (over $50,000 per year), there are expected to be significant changes in the duties requirements for each exempt status category. 


The Internal Revenue‎ Service (IRS) has issued an Alert regarding a new phishing spoofing scheme that infiltrates company email systems. Human resources, payroll or other relevant employees receive an email purporting to be from the Company CEO or other senior official requesting an email response with W-2 information, names, social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, salary and/or other personal information in order for the phishers/spoofers to steal their identity.


The NLRB has issued recent decisions regarding two franchisees and the agreements they make employees sign upon hire. 

An Applebee’s franchisee had employees sign an employee dispute resolution agreement which the NRLB found wrongly prevented employees from filing class or collective actions in court or in an arbitration proceeding.  The franchise owner was ordered to rewrite the arbitration agreement to remove any such language. 


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.