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IEP meeting attendance is appropriate use of FMLA leave, says DOL

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A recent study shows a significant increase in developmental disabilities in children. The study, published in the medical journal, Pediatrics, has revealed substantial increases in the prevalence of disorders, such as autism, ADHD and intellectual disability, in U.S. children aged 3 to 17.

Since federal and state laws require that public schools provide appropriate educational services to children with disabilities, it should not be unusual for their parents to request time off work to attend Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings. According to a recent opinion letter from the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), an employee eligible for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, may use unpaid FMLA leave for IEP meeting attendance.

Overtime pay changes in 2020 will impact New York employers

The new year brings new federal regulations for businesses to follow. For the first time since 2004, the threshold for overtime pay eligibility is changing.

The Department of Labor estimates that the new legislation will impact approximately 1.3 million employees. As a result of the income level increase, these 1.3 million workers will be eligible to receive overtime wages in 2020.

What is the most common type of employment discrimination in NY?

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Workplace discrimination is not always easy to recognize. Workers may feel uncomfortable with certain comments or actions, but brush it off as part of the job. They may even wonder: "Am I being over-sensitive? Or do other people feel the same way?"

The truth is, thousands of others are likely experiencing something similar. In order to help New York workers understand just how prevalent employment discrimination actually is, here is a look at the most common types of discrimination claims.

Feds issue new rule defining joint employment, effective March 16

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In a major move, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) through its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has finalized a significant amendment to its interpretation of the regulations defining joint employers under federal law. The DOL's final rule will take effect on March 16, 2020. Interestingly, in its published explanation of its final rule, the DOL explained that after considering public comments on the proposed changes, the agency agreed with most positions taken by the employer community, rather than with those supported by employee advocates.

Are sexual harassment claims underreported?

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When one employee makes sexually offensive remarks or unwelcome sexual advances toward another employee, it can constitute sexual harassment and can create a hostile workplace environment. Unfortunately, such sexual harassment may be more prevalent than employees realize, in part due to a lack of reporting by employees for fear of retaliation by their employer.

The murky parameters of the ministerial exception

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The Supreme Court of the United States will hear a pair of consolidated cases from California in which they will consider how far the ministerial exception to anti-discrimination in employment law reaches. The ministerial exception is a court-made doctrine based on the federal Constitution's provisions that separate church and state and guarantee the free exercise of religion.

Could a new year mean new protections for gig economy workers?

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The rise of the gig economy has made it possible for anyone to make some money by driving passengers, making deliveries, or even walking dogs. As businesses reliant on this model have grown into money-making giants, scrutiny of the working arrangement has increased. Regulators and lawmakers across the country are considering actions that protect people working non-traditional jobs.

That includes right here in New York, where some early discussions could pave the way to a new reality for the state's gig economy workers.

Arbitrator may certify arbitration class in sex discrimination claim

AdobeStock_180955484.jpegThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit held on Nov. 18 that a private arbitrator in the case of Jock v. Sterling Jewelers Inc. had the power to define a class of plaintiffs to participate in the arbitration. While only 254 female plaintiff-employees asked to arbitrate their original claim for sex discrimination in pay and promotion, the arbitrator's 2015 class certification increased the class size to about 44,000 women.

Those additional class members were female employees who had signed the arbitration agreement but had not joined the original claim's 254 plaintiffs. According to plaintiffs' counsel, the class will ultimately encompass about 70,000 female employees of the giant retail jewelry conglomerate, according to The Fashion Law.

Wage-and-hour issues for holiday delivery truck drivers in NYC

The New York City holiday season is bustling, festive and filled with tradition - think Handel's Messiah, Dyker Heights light displays, West Village holiday windows, Central Park skating, carriage rides, the Met Christmas tree, the Union Square Holiday Market and - wait for it - armies of parcel delivery trucks.

About 1.5 million packages arrive at New York City destinations every single day, reports the New York Times. New Yorkers cannot miss the accompanying congestion, pollution and noise, but other human problems may not be so obvious. The complex pressure cooker that is the patchwork of delivery companies trying to get more packages to their destinations faster is a dizzying logistical nightmare.

Feds find wage-and-hour violations at Queens gas station

AdobeStock_71333490.jpegAt our New York City law firm, we advise employers about compliance with federal, state and local wage-and-hour laws involving payroll issues like overtime, minimum wage, classification of employees and similar issues. Our attorneys provide guidance in drafting employee handbooks and creating policies and procedures that meet these kinds of legal requirements.

Likewise, we provide employees with advice about their potential legal remedies for wage-and-hour violations.

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