Earlier this month, a New York Federal Court magistrate recommended conditional certification of a class of Lululemon employees who allege they were expected to take yoga classes at studios to promote Lululemon apparel, and perform other work related tasks off the clock. Lululemon paid the fee for the classes but did not pay the employees to attend, calling it “community work.” The employees allege they spent approximately five hours each week in fitness classes and another five hours per week performing other tasks.
Labor & Employment Blog
Employers with retirement plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) often seek to reduce their potential class action liability for breach of fiduciary duty claims by including mandatory arbitration clauses in employment agreements. University of Southern California (USC) workers challenged the school's management of its plans in federal court several years ago, despite the arbitration clauses in their agreement.
This year, Governor Cuomo signed a law making changes to the Taylor Law to strengthen public unions. The Taylor Law, officially the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, defines the rights and limitations for public employees in New York. The major changes to the existing law include the following:
The US Supreme Court recently upheld mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts that waived an employee’s right to bring class or collective actions.
For approximately 40 years, public sector employee unions could collect union “agency fees” from the paychecks of even those employees who chose not to join the union. The premise was that even non-members benefitted from the contracts the unions negotiated with public entities, so should have to pay at least something for that benefit. Many of the non-member employees objected because the unions at times took positions on political or other issues with which they disagreed, but were forced to pay to support.
The NYS Legislature has passed a bill which would add bereavement leave to the list of permissible reasons to take paid family leave. The bill would allow employees to use paid family leave after the death of a family member. It would also allow those who have already been using paid family leave to care for a family member to use any remaining time for bereavement.
Earlier this month, the NLRB issued a guidance on employee handbook rules, which follows its landmark decision in The Boeing Company last December. The Boeing case established a new standard when evaluating whether a work rule violates the law, and focused on the negative impact on the employees’ ability to exercise their rights and the policy’s connection to the employer’s right to maintain discipline and productivity in the workplace.
In a narrow recent Decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission illegally found against a baker who claimed his religious beliefs prevented him from creating a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The key was that the Commission allowed other bakers to refuse to create cakes that demeaned gays and same-sex marriages.
When an employee informs an employer he/she has a disability that requires accommodation, employers must remember that engaging in an interactive process with that employee is imperative. It is not enough for an employer to simply provide what it believes is a reasonable accommodation. The interactive process must be used to facilitate a conversation between employer and employee to determine the different reasonable accommodation possibilities. They can then decide together what the best option will be for that employee, as long as that option is not an undue burden on the employer.
As New York State employers continue to manage their first year of paid family leave (PFL) benefits available to employees in 2018 (8 weeks maximum), comments and predictions about what the Legislature might do for 2019 have emerged. As expected, we have heard that the disability insurers who pay out the PFL benefits to eligible employees are indicating that the current amount withheld from employees’ pay to cover PFL benefits is insufficient.