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ADA: Disability must prevent more jobs than only current position

On Feb. 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit held that an employee whose stress-induced migraines prevented him from performing his specific sales job did not have a “disability” for the purpose of invoking protections against employment discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Rather, to be a qualifying ADA disability, a physical or mental impairment must prevent the person from performing a broad range of jobs.

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.

New York City protects independent contractors from discrimination

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We often write in this space about the sweeping anti-discrimination protections contained in the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The law prohibits not only employment discrimination based on certain characteristics like age, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and others, but also bans harassment and retaliation against employees who assert rights under the law or otherwise cooperate in its enforcement.

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

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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.

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