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.


Recently, a federal appeals court found that a sports bar violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when the bar fired workers after they commented and “liked” a Facebook post.  A former employee posted about the bar on Facebook.  A current employee commented and used profanity in reference to the employer, and another current employee “liked” the post.  The two “current” employees were then terminated.  The court found the activities were not directed towards customers and did not reflect the employer’s brand.


By now, anyone affected should know that the Department of Labor wage rule granting federal overtime and minimum wage protections for approximately 2 million home care workers employed by third party home health care agencies took effect on October 13.  This is significant news, and not only affects those in the industry, but many others with ailing or aging family members who need assistance.  Although the new rules are in effect, the DOL has indicated it will not enforce the provisions for 30 days.


In September 2015, President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring that employees of all federal contractors be provided at least seven days off per year.  The seven paid leave days will be available for use by the employees for: (a) their own physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition; (b) their own visit to a health care provider for diagnosis, treatment or preventative care; (C) care of family members, domestic partners and other individuals whose close association is similar to a family member; or (d) time off to deal with domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.