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New York requirements for a valid noncompete agreement

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Many employers are concerned that a valued employee with in-depth understanding of the business will leave to work for a key competitor or start a competing business. At the same time, it is normal for a person to make career moves within the same industry, building on previous experience.

Does it violate the Equal Pay Act to base new employees' salary on their prior salaries?

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The federal Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying women less than men for doing the same work, except in certain circumstances. If the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear a recent case from California, its ruling could define the limits of an employer's ability to base a new salary level on an employee's previous salary.

Hair stylist files class action for unpaid wages from COVID-19 closures

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In the national scramble to close businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, issues will undoubtedly arise regarding time worked and wages earned before the doors closed.

Among many others, the personal care industry - consisting of hair salons, nail salons, spas, massage services and similar establishments - has been heavily impacted by government orders intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The close contact between workers and customers makes the environment an obvious health concern, reflected by multiple state orders to temporarily close salons.

Is arbitration still cost-effective?

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For years, arbitration has been a crucial cost-saving measure for handling worker disputes. Employers have long preferred arbitration to the much more costly alternative of litigation. However, now, many plaintiffs and their lawyers are filing so many arbitration claims that it is overwhelming the system and jeopardizing the cost-saving nature of arbitration.

According to a recent report, the food delivery service DoorDash received around 6,000 arbitration claims by its employees in just one summer and was left with a bill for over $9 million. The company didn't make the payment, arguing that they couldn't verify that all the claims were legitimately coming from its delivery drivers. DoorDash's refusal to pay the bill essentially closed the active cases for the time being. However, in February, a federal judge in San Francisco ordered DoorDash to proceed with the arbitration cases and pay the fees. Other companies are facing similar issues.

How have protections for workplace harassment victims improved in New York?

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On August 19, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law some important amendments to New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). These significant changes marked the beginning of ongoing updates to NYSHRL.

The various changes to NYSHRL were scheduled to roll out throughout the year following Governor Cuomo's initial signing of the bill. In addition to the new workplace harassment protections set out in August and October of last year, more changes will come into play in 2020.

What does the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act mean for me?

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Near the end of 2019, New York State approved the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (UVTA), which will become effective on April 4, 2020. The UVTA is intended to modernize New York's existing fraudulent conveyance laws and bring New York law in line with the law held in the majority of other states, as well as with the federal Bankruptcy Code. The legislation itself is complex and involves clauses that you or anyone engaging in any business should seek to understand.

Department of Labor sued by 17 states for wage violations rule

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Attorneys general from 17 states asked a federal judge to block a new Department of Labor (DOL) regulation that limits the circumstances where multiple companies can be held jointly accountable for wage violations. Under the new regulation, it is less likely that multiple companies will be considered liable in class action lawsuits for unpaid minimum wages or overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Retaliation charges top EEOC discrimination filings for FY 2019

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 72,675 employee charges alleging employer violations of anti-discrimination laws in the agency's fiscal year 2019. The most common charge was unlawful retaliation against the employee for asserting his or her rights under these laws.

The USPS fires thousands of injured and disabled employees

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According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Postal Service fired or forced out approximately 44,000 workers who were injured on the job, and changed or revoked disability accommodations for another 15,130. These measures took place as part of an initiative called the "National Reassessment Program." The EEOC claims the program was discriminatory, but the post office continues to fight every claim.

At the USPS, severe and disabling injuries are common. Although the agency of over 630,000 people makes up only about a fifth of the federal workforce, postal workers suffer about half of all workplace injuries and illnesses among federal workers.

Sound prevention policies may reduce sexual harrassment

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Reports of workplace sexual harassment allegations often occupy national news, with many of these allegations originating in companies based in New York. These accusations can have a detrimental effect on both employees and the businesses where they work. 

In regard to employees, all workers have the right to perform their job-related duties in a safe working environment. Any sexual harassment they are forced to endure is an obvious interference with that right. In regard to employers, workplace sexual harassment and discrimination can distract from business growth and jeopardize customer loyalty.

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