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.
Labor & Employment Blog
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.
This month, Governor Cuomo signed a new anti-harassment law, and it contains provisions for private and public employers related to sexual harassment in the workplace.
Effectively immediately, employees are protected from harassment not only by other employees, but also “non-employees,” which can include vendors, consultants, contractors, and others providing services pursuant to a contract.
As reported recently by the Associated Press, a New York City Council member, perhaps influenced by a recent French law, has proposed legislation to allow some employees the right to ignore after-hours communications from employers. The proposal would apply to NYC employers with 10 or more employees, and would prohibit them from requiring employees to respond to or act on after-hours telephone calls, texts, emails etc. that are not emergencies, or discipline them for failing to do so. It would not bar employers from sending such emails, and employees could respond if they so choose.
A new regulation clarifies how deductions can be made from employee paychecks to fund New York’s Paid Family Leave program.
Until this month, the general understanding was that a maximum of 0.126% of New York State Average Weekly Wage paycheck could be deducted from employees’ weekly wages. That meant any deductions were capped at $1.65 a week.
In another attempt to stem sexual harassment in the workplace, legislation proposed in both the House and the Senate at the end of last month would require publicly traded companies to report information related to harassment or discrimination settlements and complaints in their SEC filings. So far the measure lacks bipartisan support, but this latest proposed legislation is further evidence that workplace harassment and discrimination has lawmakers’ attention and will for a long time to come.