Labor & Employment Blog



The EEOC filed a lawsuit last week against Estée Lauder over its parental leave policy, saying it doesn’t allow fathers the same parental leave as mothers, and is thus in violation of the law.  Estée Lauder has several leave policies for employees, including maternity, adoption, primary caregiver and secondary caregiver leave.  Fathers are only eligible for secondary caregiver leave while mothers who give birth are automatically entitled to maternity leave. 


A United States District Judge has ruled that the Obama Administration overstepped its legal authority in proposing that the exemptions to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act be premised on vastly higher salary amounts than under previous law. The Obama regulations were originally slated to go into effect on December 1, 2016, but the same Judge had issued a Preliminary Injunction in November, 2016 delaying that date. 


With the upcoming implementation of New York’s Paid Family Leave Act, it’s time for employers and Human Resources departments to ensure that they are familiar with the new law’s provisions.  It is also important that employers update their handbooks to include a policy on Paid Family Leave.


Most of us have heard by now that the newly revised Form I-9, which was released on July 17, must be implemented no later than September 17, 2017. A copy of the new form can be found here.

Failure to use the new forms by the effective date can result in fines to the employer. Continue to follow storage and retention rules, as they have not changed.  Employers can start using the new forms immediately.



The U.S. Department of Labor (the Department), which has already indicated that it will change the Obama Administration's proposed federal overtime rule, announced in July 2017 that it will be accepting public comments regarding the proposed rule as the first step of the revision process.  Many business groups objected to the proposed rule when it was announced, saying the extension of overtime to an estimated 4.2 million more workers would do more harm than good once what they anticipated to be job losses and lower salaries for others are calculated.


As all New York employers should now know, a law was recently passed providing paid family leave to New York employees.  The program provides a portion of the employee’s salary when that employee needs to take time off to care for a family medical issue.  Employers were allowed to begin deductions from employees’ paychecks beginning July 1. 


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.