All posts by Laurian Rutterbush

NOW AVAILABLE: NY City Online Anti-Sexual Harassment Training Program

Attention NY City employers, as of April 1, 2019, all NYC employers with at least 15 employees are required to conduct annual, interactive sexual harassment training.  This training must be conducted once per calendar year.

To make complying with this new requirement easier for NYC employers, the NYC Commission on Human Rights recently published its interactive, an online anti-sexual harassment training program that meets the NYC training requirements AND the NY State training requirements.

NYC employers are able to develop their own training or hire an outside party to provide the training, but will then need to demonstrate that their training program meets the requirements of NYC Local Law 96 (2018) as well as those under NY State law.  Therefore, in order to ensure compliance, it is recommended that NYC employers use the training program provided by the NYCCHR.

Remember, anti-sexual harassment training that meets NYC’s requirements must be provided to:

  • any NYC employee who works more than 80 hours in a calendar year and for at least 90 days,
    • including independent contractors in NYC who have performed work for the company for more than 90 days and more than 80 hours in the calendar year
  • any employees who work a portion of their time in NYC or interact with employees in NYC, even if they are based elsewhere.

In addition, NYC law requires employers keep a record of all trainings, including a signed employee acknowledgment for at least three years.

Finally, the first round of training must be completed no later than December 31, 2019!

For more information regarding NYC anti-sexual harassment training requirements, FAQs may be found here.

NEW GUIDANCE From the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave

As we previously reported (in “NEW LAW – Paid Family and Medical Leave Coming to Massachusetts“), starting in 2021,  employees will be able to begin collecting paid family and medical leave benefits.

The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave recently published its draft regulations relating to the  Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law.  While these proposed regulations largely mirror the existing law, they offer additional guidance on the following topics: Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE From the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave

NEW GUIDANCE: DOL Clarifies FMLA Leave Use And Designation

An FMLA-related question that has long plagued employers has (finally) been answered. Are employers allowed to require employees take FMLA leave when the absence is for an FMLA-qualifying reason?

Every employer has faced this type of request … Joe employee needs to take a leave of absence to care for his ailing mother.  Joe is an FMLA-eligible employee (he’s worked for the company for more than 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months).  Joe works in an office with more than 50 employees.  Finally, the reason for the leave is FMLA-qualifying (his mother has a serious health condition).

Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE: DOL Clarifies FMLA Leave Use And Designation

The DOL Publishes Proposed Rule Clarifying The Calculation Of The Regular Rate Of Pay

On March 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule that, if adopted, will clarify and update the “regular rate of pay” requirements in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

As a reminder, under the FLSA, employers are required to pay non-exempt employees overtime at 1.5 times their “regular rate of pay” for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.  The regular rate of pay is all compensation from the employer that is not specifically excluded in  section 7(e) of the FLSA.  Some types of pay that are excluded from the regular rate of pay calculation include:

  • Discretionary bonuses,
  • vacation, sick or holiday pay,
  • the cost of health insurance,
  • employer contributions to retirement accounts,
  • reimbursements for business expenses.

Continue reading The DOL Publishes Proposed Rule Clarifying The Calculation Of The Regular Rate Of Pay

NEW LAW: Maryland Minimum Wage To Increase To $15 By 2025

On March 28, 2019, the Maryland General Assembly voted to override the governor’s veto of a minimum wage bill (SB 280).  In taking this action, the Maryland legislature has enacted a new law increasing Maryland’s minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 an hour by 2025.

Under this new law, minimum wage in Maryland will start to increase in 2020 in accordance with the following schedule:

For large employers (employers with 15 or more employees)

  • January 1, 2020 — $11.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 — $11.75 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 — $12.50 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 — $13.25 per hour
  • January 1, 2024 — $14.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2025 — $15.00 per hour

For small employers (employers with 14 or fewer employees)

  • January 1, 2020 — $11.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 — $11.60 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 — $12.20 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 — $12.80 per hour
  • January 1, 2024 — $13.40 per hour
  • January 1, 2025 — $14.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2026 — $14.60 per hour
  • July 1, 2026 — $15.00 per hour

The new law takes effect on June 1, 2019, with the first increase occurring on January 1, 2020.  It is recommended that all Maryland employers prepare for these increases.

NEW LAW: Philadelphia Passes Predictable Scheduling Law

The Philadelphia City Council recently passed the Fair Workweek Employment Standards Ordinance. Under this new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020, bring predictable scheduling requirements to large retail, hospitality and food service employers in Philadelphia.

Who is considered a large retail, hospitality and food service employer?

For purposes of the new law, a “large employer” is any retail, hospitality and food service employer who employs 250+ employees (full-time, part-time, or temporary) and has 30 or more locations worldwide.

Most importantly, the law considers franchises with separate ownership, but part of the same chain of business (e.g. all McDonalds franchises in Philadelphia) as the same “large employer” for purposes of this law. This means that many (if not all) franchise businesses in Philadelphia will be subject to this new law. Continue reading NEW LAW: Philadelphia Passes Predictable Scheduling Law

NEW CASE: New Risk for Oregon Employers Encouraging Alcohol at After Work Gatherings

The Oregon Supreme Court recently held that the “social host” exemption that protects servers and bartenders from claims against them does not protect employers from other possible negligent acts related to events where alcohol is present.

In the case of Schutz v. La Costita III, Inc., 364 Or. 536 (March 14, 2019), the plaintiff filed claims against the restaurant that served her drinks, the supervisor who encouraged her to drink, and against her employer who she claimed did not adequately train the supervisor on appropriate team building events.

The Plaintiff, Ashley Schultz, claims that her supervisor regularly pressured workers to attend after work events where alcohol was involved. Fearing that she would not advance in the company if she did not participate in one of these events, Schultz finally decided that she would attend after numerous requests. During the event, the supervisor encouraged more drinking and was critical of employees who did not drink enough. Ashley wanted to please her supervisor, but in doing so became intoxicated. When she left the restaurant to return home, she got into a car accident which caused her serious injuries. Continue reading NEW CASE: New Risk for Oregon Employers Encouraging Alcohol at After Work Gatherings

NEW LAW: Pregnancy Accommodation Now Required For Pittsburgh Employees And Partners

Pittsburgh employers should be aware that the City Council just passed a new ordinance expanding protections for pregnant employees. The ordinance will impact private employers with requirements similar to Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Americans with Disabilities act and other related EEOC guidance.

In an unprecedented move, Pittsburgh’s ordinance is one of the first cities to extend protections for partners of pregnant women. Partner is defined broadly to mean a person of any gender with whom a pregnant woman has a relationship of mutual emotional and/or physical support (and does not require a marital or domestic relationship).

The new ordinance amends section 659.02 of Article V, Chapter 659 of the Pittsburgh City Code, providing further protections by making pregnancy its own protected class. Additionally, it extends the laws anti-discrimination provisions to partners of pregnant employees. Continue reading NEW LAW: Pregnancy Accommodation Now Required For Pittsburgh Employees And Partners

The New Biometric Data Ruling You Need to Know About!

Authentication through biometrics—such as fingerprinting or iris scanning—is growing rapidly. In 2008, Illinois passed the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) and became the first state to regulate the collection and use of this kind of data.

Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court made it much easier for plaintiffs to show harm under BIPA. This means we’ll likely see a significant rise in the number of lawsuits alleging violations.

The Trouble with Biometrics

While convenient, there are several drawbacks to using this data to authenticate a user. Biometrics cannot be changed, like a password or government-issued identification number, if compromised. Consequently, lawmakers continue to regulate the collection, use, storage, and destruction of this sensitive data. Continue reading The New Biometric Data Ruling You Need to Know About!

NEW LAW: Cincinnati Passes Salary History Ban

On March 13, 2019, the  city of Cincinnati passed  Ordinance No 0083-2019 that prohibits employers from asking about or relying on the prior salary history of job applicants.

Under the new ordinance, which goes into effect on March 13, 2020 and applies to employers who have 15+ employees in Cincinnati, employers are prohibited from:

  • Inquiring about the salary history of an applicant for employment
  • Screening job applicants based on their current or prior wages, benefits, other compensation, or salary histories, including requiring that an applicant’s prior wages, benefits, other compensation or salary history satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; or
  • Relying on the salary history of an applicant in deciding whether to offer employment to an applicant, or in determining the salary, benefits, or other compensation for such applicant during the hiring process, including the negotiation of an employment contract; or
  • Refusing to hire or otherwise disfavoring, injuring, or retaliating against an applicant for not disclosing his or her salary history to an employer.

Continue reading NEW LAW: Cincinnati Passes Salary History Ban