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New York Employment Law Blog

DOL seeks rapid enforcement action against repeat wage offender

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What would you do if your payroll checks bounced? Or if you were paid in cash, but less than you were owed? What if you complained about your wages, and your boss threatened you with a gun? Allegations like these can put your employer at risk of a major enforcement action, which can include an injunction against delivering its goods across state lines.

NY Attorney General: Weinstein Co. failed to protect women

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If cinema mogul Harvey Weinstein thought he had seen the last of the sexual harassment and assault allegations against him, he was wrong. After dozens of women, including famous actresses, came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct and rape, Weinstein was forced out of his companies Miramax and The Weinstein Company, and expelled from the Motion Picture Academy.

Through his attorney, Weinstein has claimed that many of the allegations are without merit and went on to claim that he has been, overall, a positive force for women in the film industry.

Case Update: Dairy Drivers Settle Overtime Lawsuit

Here is an update on another case we've been following, which we originally wrote about nearly a year ago in a post entitled The power of punctuation: Commas, business contracts and the law. In March 2017, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a group of dairy drivers were non-exempt employees entitled to overtime pay based on the omission of an Oxford comma from the state's wage and hour statute. Last Thursday, the parties agreed to settle the case for $5 million, pending Court approval, and the Maine legislature has revised the statute to include semicolons, which will likely make these drivers exempt from overtime going forward.

Advocates push for change to disability hiring law

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New York state law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified applicants and employees with disabilities.

These laws prohibit discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoffs and training. Employers must also provide "reasonable accommodation" to disabled employees, unless that accommodation poses an "undue hardship" for the business.

Think It's Too Difficult to Collect on Your Judgment? Not Always.

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Creditors often assume that their judgments are not worth pursuing, either because they believe that the debt is too small, the debtor is insolvent, the debtor's assets are geographically removed, or that the debtor is otherwise safe from collection efforts. Often it pays to make every effort to enforce your judgment even if it seems as though you may be unlikely to collect the money owed to you

Companies may need to disclose sexual harassment to investors

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In light of the #MeToo movement and sexual harassment allegations against corporate leaders like Steve Wynn, publicly traded companies are discussing when such allegations must be shared with investors.

U.S. securities law requires public companies to report any "material event" that may impact share prices. The definition of "material event" is somewhat subjective and depends in part on the size of the company. For example, a $5 million sexual harassment settlement could be material to a $100 million company, but not to one worth $100 billion.

NYC fast food workers uniting under advocacy groups

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New York City's fast-food workers won an important victory last fall. Mayor Bill de Blasio approved four new workplace laws forwarded by City Council that provide for a minimum rest period between shifts, predictable scheduling, and other measures.

One significant measure permits workers in the fast-food industry to have management deduct a portion of their wages and send them to a non-profit organization that workers select.

EEOC releases top 10 discrimination complaints for FY 2017

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What kinds of workplace discrimination complaints are lodged most frequently with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? In fiscal year 2017 (which ended on September 30, 2017), Complaints of retaliation led the way in fiscal year 2017, followed by race and disability discrimination. Gender discrimination came in fourth, and if sexual harassment were its own category, it would come in seventh.

The EEOC enforces a variety of workplace discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and others. It uses administrative actions, a conciliation and mediation process geared toward settlement, and litigation to enforce these laws.

DOL attempts to clarify FLSA matters in opinion letters

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In January, the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division reinstated 17 opinion letters on the Fair Labor Standards Act. This is the first time the DOL has issued an opinion letter since the administration of President George W. Bush.

The opinion letters address several topics, including exempt status under the FLSA for a variety of occupations, on-call compensation and whether bonuses should be considered when calculating an employee's regular rate of pay. The same day it released the letters, the DOL also issued a new seven-part rule to be used in determining whether an intern must be paid.

A new remedy for some sexual misconduct cases: defamation suits

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The #MeToo movement has brought allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault against any number of powerful men. Unfortunately, too much time has passed, in some cases, for legal remedies to be effective. The most common legal remedies for sexual misconduct have time limits, and victims who have been intimidated into silence may lose their ability to pursue them as time passes.

The actions most misconduct victims take include filing criminal charges and lawsuits. When the conduct is illegal, criminal charges can be filed. If touching occurred, survivors can file civil lawsuits for sexual assault or battery, regardless of whether criminal charges were filed or whether the perpetrator was convicted.

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