New York Labor And Employment Law Report

New York Labor And Employment Law Report

D.C. Court Strikes Down Two USDOL Regulations and Restores Full “Companionship Exemption” Under the FLSA

Posted in Wage and Hour

In a victory for Home Care employers, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued consecutive decisions which struck down two regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (“USDOL”) that would have eviscerated the “companionship exemption” contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

The two USDOL regulations enacted in late 2013 were prevented from taking effect, as scheduled, on January 1, 2015, by two related decisions on December 22, 2014 and January 14, 2015, which vacated both regulations on the ground that they “conflicted with the [FLSA] statute itself.”  Each of the two challenged regulations would have imposed greater overtime obligations on Home Care employers, by sharply reducing the reach of the FLSA “companionship exemption,” which, for 40 years, had excluded most Home Care work from federal overtime laws.

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OFCCP Issues Final Rule Protecting Workers From Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Posted in Employment Discrimination, Federal Contractors

In early December, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) announced the issuance of its final rule implementing Executive Order 13672, which amends Executive Order 11246 by prohibiting Federal contractors from discriminating against employees or applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  The final rule was published in the Federal Register on December 9, 2014, and will become effective April 8, 2015.

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Governor Cuomo Signs the Bill Eliminating the Annual Wage Notice Requirement

Posted in New York Law, Wage and Hour

Happy New Year!  On December 29, Governor Cuomo signed the bill eliminating the requirement under the Wage Theft Prevention Act that employers in New York provide annual wage notices to their employees.  Although the bill currently provides that it will go into effect 60 days after it is signed (which would mean that it would take effect after the February 1 deadline to provide the wage notices for 2015), the Governor’s approval memo accompanying the bill specifically notes that an agreed-upon chapter amendment will “accelerate the effective date of the notification rule changes in section 1 of the bill to remove the notice requirement on employers for the 2015 calendar year.”

We will provide an update once the expected chapter amendment is enacted in January.

New Law Requires Employers to Grant Leave to Volunteer Emergency Responders

Posted in New York Law

Effective December 22, 2014, employers in New York must grant leave to employees who also serve as volunteer emergency responders during times when the Governor has declared a state of emergency.  Employees eligible for such leave include volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance service personnel who have given their employer prior written documentation regarding their volunteer status or whose duties as a volunteer firefighter or member of a volunteer ambulance service are related to the declared emergency.  In general, the leave may be unpaid, but the employee may choose to use any form of paid leave to which he or she would be entitled under the employer’s policies.  The full text of the new law can be found here.

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The National Labor Relations Board Strikes Again — How Managerial Are Your Faculty and How Religious Is Your Institution?

Posted in National Labor Relations Board

In the latest example of dramatic changes to well-developed principles of federal labor law and policy, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or Board”) issued its long-awaited decision in Pacific Lutheran University last week.  For a description of the Board’s decision and its potential impact on union organizing at colleges and universities, please click here for our article on the Bond Higher Education Law Report.

Reminder: New York Minimum Wage Will Increase on December 31, 2014

Posted in New York Law, Wage and Hour

The minimum wage for employees in New York will increase from $8.00 per hour to $8.75 per hour effective December 31, 2014.  The minimum wage for New York employees will increase again to $9.00 per hour effective December 31, 2015.

Employers in New York should also keep in mind that the minimum salary under state law for employees to qualify for the executive and administrative exemptions will increase from $600.00 per week to $656.25 per week effective December 31, 2014.  The minimum salary under state law to qualify for the executive and administrative exemptions will increase again to $675.00 effective December 31, 2015.

An Early Holiday Present For New York Employers: The Annual Wage Notice Requirement Will Be Eliminated

Posted in New York Law, Wage and Hour

New York employers who have already begun preparing to send out annual wage notices to their employees under the Wage Theft Prevention Act can safely stop their preparations.  The bill eliminating the annual wage notice requirement was delivered to the Governor yesterday and it is expected that the Governor will sign it.  The bill, as currently drafted, provides that the legislation will go into effect 60 days after it is signed into law, which would mean that it would take effect after the February 1 deadline to provide the wage notices for 2015.  However, Bond’s Government Relations lawyers brought this concern to the attention of the Governor’s office in early December, while the Governor’s office and the Legislature were discussing potential chapter amendments to the bill, and it is our understanding that one of the agreed-upon chapter amendments that will be enacted early in the next legislative session will eliminate the annual wage notice requirement immediately.  So, we expect that employers will not have to issue the notices in 2015.

We will provide an update as soon as the Governor signs the bill, and another update once the expected chapter amendments are enacted in January.  This is certainly great news for employers in New York, who will no longer have to engage in the costly and time-consuming process of issuing wage notices to all employees between January 1 and February 1 of each year.

Two Bond Webinars Scheduled Regarding Recent NLRB Developments

Posted in National Labor Relations Board, Union Organizing

Recent activity by the National Labor Relations Board has significantly changed the landscape of union organizing campaigns and representation elections.  Attorneys from Bond, Schoeneck & King’s Labor and Employment Department will conduct two free webinars this week to explain these recent developments and their impact on employers.  Each webinar is scheduled for 45 minutes.

Ray Pascucci will conduct a webinar on December 17 at 3:00 p.m. to review the Board’s final rule on “quickie” union representation elections and provide some practical recommendations to prepare for the possibility of a fast-track union organizing campaign.  Interested participants can register here.

Andy Bobrek will conduct a webinar on December 18 at 11:00 a.m. to review the Board’s decision in Purple Communications, Inc., holding that employees have a presumptive right to use their employer’s e-mail system during non-working time to communicate about union organizing and discuss their terms and conditions of employment.  Interested participants can register here.

NLRB Issues Final Rule on “Quickie” Elections

Posted in National Labor Relations Board, Union Organizing

On December 15, the National Labor Relations Board’s final rule amending the current procedures for handling union representation elections (which has become known as the “quickie” or “ambush” election rule) was published in the Federal Register.  The final rule will become effective on April 14, 2015.

Although Board Chairperson Mark Pearce hailed the new representation election procedures as “a model of fairness and efficiency for all,” the new procedures provide unions with a significant advantage in representation elections in a number of ways.  Among other things, the new rule shortens the time period between the filing of a petition and the scheduling of an election, requires employers to provide the union with a list of employees in the proposed bargaining unit earlier in the process, requires employers to provide to the union personal telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for employees in the proposed bargaining unit, and limits the issues that may be litigated by employers in a pre-election hearing.  The impending implementation of the final rule makes it even more important for employers to be able to recognize potential union activity as early as possible and to have a plan in place to respond quickly to a union representation petition once it is filed.

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NLRB Overrules 2007 Decision and Holds That Employees Have a Right to Use Their Employer’s E-Mail System for Union Organizing

Posted in Labor Relations, National Labor Relations Board, Union Organizing

On December 11, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) issued a 3-2 decision (with Board Members Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson dissenting) in Purple Communications, Inc., holding that employees have a presumptive right to use their employer’s e-mail system during non-working time to communicate regarding union organizing and to engage in other protected concerted activities under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”).  The Board’s decision overruled its 2007 decision in Register Guard.

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