New Whistleblower Protections for Federal Employees Take Effect

wwOn October 26, 2017, the Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 was passed into law. The new law provides more protections for whistleblowers that report fraud, waste, and abuse in the federal government. Some of these protections include: providing the Office of Special Counsel more access to information in order to fully conduct investigations into whistleblower firings; informing federal employees of their rights as whistleblowers; providing managers with training on whistleblower protections; tougher penalties against supervisors who retaliate against whistleblowers; and better protections for probationary employees fired for whistleblowing.

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Are Employees Legally Entitled to Meal Breaks?

Most of us can imagine it in our heads – construction workers sitting on the side of the road digging into their lunch pails, or people in business suits heading out to grab a bite of something nearby, enjoying the sun before returning to finish the workday.

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Changes for restaurant workers may be on the menu in 2018

On December 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in connection with the sharing or “pooling” of tips.  Specifically, the goal of the proposed rule is to abolish a 2011 tip regulation that restricted the “pooling” of tips.  Under the current federal rule, a tip pool may not include dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors because such employees do not “regularly and customarily receive tips.”  In contrast, the proposed rule would allow these “back of the house” employees to participate in tip pools, although they do not usually receive direct tips.  According to a press release published in conjunction with the new rule, “[T]he proposal would help decrease wage disparities between tipped and non-tipped workers – an option that is currently restricted by a rule promulgated in 2011 that has been challenged in a number of courts.”  Instead of the usual thirty-day comment for the proposed rule period, the DOL published a notice in the Federal Register extending this comment period for an additional thirty days, to February 5, 2018.

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Deas v. Alba Carting & Demolition, Inc., Alba Services Inc., and Andrew Horan Case No. 1:17-cv-03947-RA

New Collective Action granted in the Southern District of New York
Deas v. Alba Carting & Demolition, Inc., Alba Services Inc., and Andrew Horan Case No. 1:17-cv-03947-RA

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What You Need to Know about OSHA

OSHA, which stands for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, is responsible for overseeing safety and health in the workplace. The organization has a number of rules and regulations focused on creating and maintaining a safe work environment. The agency is concerned about both the physical and emotional well-being of our US employees.

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Liriano v. Quatro Amici, Inc. d/b/a Paradiso Ristorante & Pizzeria and Diego Stornello Docket No: 18-cv-00134

New Collective Action Filed in the Eastern District of New York
Liriano v. Quatro Amici, Inc. d/b/a Paradiso Ristorante & Pizzeria and Diego Stornello Docket No: 18-cv-00134

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How to Deal with Bullying in the Workplace

Inappropriate behavior in the workplace has been a hot topic in the news lately, but calling attention to the trend can only go so far when it comes to your own personal situation.

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Janus v. AFSCME Council 31: A Crippling Blow for Public-Sector Unions? Part II

This case is being brought by lead plaintiff Mark Janus, who is a child support specialist for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and pays an agency fee to the union AFSCME. He believes that paying agency fees for activities related to terms and conditions of employment in the public-sector is inherently political because the employer is the government, and as a result, is compelled association and speech in violation of the First Amendment. Lower courts have ruled against Janus, citing Abood. This past September, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.1

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Minimum Wage Increase: Good News for Long Island Workers

Good news for workers on Long Island. Effective December 31, 2017, the minimum wage on Long Island will increase from $10.00 to $11.00 for 2018. For fast food workers, the minimum wage on Long Island will increase from $10.75 to $11.75. The law also requires employers to post a notice issued by the Department of Labor summarizing the minimum wage provisions “in a conspicuous place” in their establishment, pursuant to 12 NYCRR §142-2.8. Moreover, under New York State Labor Law § 195.1, employers must issue to their employees a “Notice and Acknowledgement of Pay Rate and Pay Day” to reflect the employees’ new rate of pay, if it is increasing under the new minimum wage.

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Keeping Notes: What to Record If You’re Being Harassed

One of the most important things you can do if you are struggling with harassment at work is to keep a log of events.

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Janus v. AFSCME Council 31: A Crippling Blow for Public-Sector Unions? Part I

Right-to-work laws do not literally give someone the “right to work.” Rather, they prohibit union security agreements in the workplace. This means that in states that have these laws, employees that have a union in their workplace are not required to pay, as a condition of employment, any union dues or agency (also called fair-share) fees to cover the costs of union representation.

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LGBTQ Rights and the Workplace

Title VII protects employees from discrimination in the workplace based on sex, race, national origin, and religion, but it remains unclear what protection from “sex” discrimination really means. As it turns out, this topic is presently being hotly debated, with many calling for the protected class to encompass one’s sexual orientation, rather than just gender. In fact, there is currently a split among circuit courts on whether sexual orientation is protected by Title VII or not. Most recently, in what some are calling a setback for LGBTQ rights, the Supreme Court has decided not to hear a Georgia case, Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, in which a woman claims she was harassed and ultimately terminated from her job at a hospital due to the fact that she is a lesbian. “During my term of employment, I endured harassment and denial of equal pay and retaliation simply because of my sexual orientation and lifestyle,” Evans said.

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Recent Developments in Explosive Lawsuit That Claims That Organs Were Taken From Patients Prematurely Declared Dead

Patrick McMahon v. New York Organ Donor Network, Index No: 156669/2012
The New York Organ Donor Network is trying to block a judge’s order to release medical records to a whistleblower who claims the group pushed hospital staff to declare patients brain dead so their body parts could be harvested.

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Religious Harassment: Am I a Victim?

There are numerous different types of harassment that can occur within a workplace. It’s possible for employees to be harassed based on a variety of factors and one of them is religion.

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Luis A. Rosario v. Baldwin Tavern Inc. d/b/a/ Kitty O’Hara, et al. Docket No: 17-cv-5879-SJF-ARL

New Collective Action filed in the Eastern District of New York
Luis A. Rosario v. Baldwin Tavern Inc. d/b/a/ Kitty O’Hara, et al. Docket No: 17-cv-5879-SJF-ARL

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Yoselin Del Rosario Lopez De Paz v. Troy Nurseries, Inc., et al. Docket No: 17-cv-6622-LDW-ARL

New Collective Action filed in the Eastern District of New York
Yoselin Del Rosario Lopez De Paz v. Troy Nurseries, Inc., et al. Docket No: 17-cv-6622-LDW-ARL

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Esperanza v. Dyckman Bar, Corp. et al Case No.: 1:17-CV-08766

New Collective Action filed in the Southern District of New York
Esperanza v. Dyckman Bar, Corp. et al Case No.: 1:17-CV-08766

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Workplace Retaliation: What You Need to Know

Despite laws in place to protect employees against discrimination and harassment in the workplace, there are still people who don’t report their experiences because they are afraid of what could happen to them.

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Help! I’m a Victim of Mental Harassment in the Workplace!

Most people understand that many forms of harassment are illegal in the workplace, but they might not be aware that laws regarding harassment might also apply to the mental or emotional variety.

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Gittens v. 7-Eleven, Inc. Docket No.: 2:17-CV-06378

New Class and Collective Action filed in the Eastern District of New York
Gittens v. 7-Eleven, Inc. Docket No.: 2:17-CV-06378

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