Blogs

 

04.26.2018

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. 

04.09.2018

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.

04.03.2018

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which President Trump signed on Feb. 9, 2018, has potentially created a new opportunity for individuals interested in charitable and philanthropic planning, as the bill creates a limited exception from the private foundation excess business holdings excise tax under Section 4943 of the Internal Revenue Code.

03.29.2018

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.

03.19.2018

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. 

03.06.2018

Discrimination on the basis of an employee’s sexual orientation has long been illegal under the New York Human Rights Law, but not under federal Title VII.  However, that all changed in February 2018 when the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed its prior decisions and found that Title VII does bar sexual orientation. 

03.02.2018

During the lifetimes of most married couples, especially when a child is involved, mutual estate planning is done so as to ensure that if one spouse passes away, the deceased spouse’s assets pass to the surviving spouse.  Generally speaking, this is a sound planning strategy; unfortunately, if a marriage ends in divorce, each person will effectively have to update and/or revise their respective estate planning strategies.

Updating Planning Documents

02.22.2018

Earlier this month, 56 attorneys general of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands implored Congress in a letter to prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses of workplace sexual harassment claims and allow victims to have their day in court.  The letter also frowned upon the secrecy requirements of arbitration clauses, which “disserve the public interest by keeping both the harassment complaints and any settlements confidential.” 

02.09.2018

The state and federal discrimination laws prohibiting unequal treatment based on protected categories, such as age, race, sex etc., apply only to employees, and thus not to owners, members or partners of a business. However, in several cases across the country involving law firms, this precept has become much more complicated as courts have begun to consider what type of owner or partner a person is before deciding whether he/she should be covered by the broad definition of employee within the discrimination laws.

01.30.2018

President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Act) into law on December 22, 2017, extensively modifying U.S. taxation laws for individuals and business. Among other things, the Act increases the applicable exclusion amount of the Federal estate, gift and generation skipping transfer tax from $5 million per individual, indexed annually for inflation, to $10 million in 2018 (the inflation adjusted exemption amount is expected to be approximately $11.2 million or $22.4 million for married couples).

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