Law Blog

New Rights for Unpaid Interns in NY

In 2013, it was held that an unpaid intern working in New York City did not have a right to sue for sexual harassment because she was not an “employee” under the City’s Human Rights Law. Since the classification of “employee” did not apply to unpaid interns, such interns also did not have standing to sue in New York City administrative agencies. The effect of this narrowed classification eliminated unpaid interns from having standing to sue for sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination.

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2595 Hits

College Football Players deemed “Employees” under NLRA

In early March, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) conducted hearings regarding Northwestern University’s Football Players bid to form a union.

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2789 Hits

New Employment Rights for Truckers In New York

On January 10, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed the New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act (“CGTIFPA”). As a result, New York’s Labor Commissioner, Peter Rivera recently announced a new state law for determining whether a commercial truck driver is an employee or independent contractor, and provides penalties for employers who fail to properly protect and classify their employees.

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2650 Hits

DOL-Timesheet Application for Tracking Overtime

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), a federal law, certain employees are entitled to earn overtime wages, paid at 1.5 times their hourly pay rate. The determination of who is entitled to overtime is based on a number of factors, including job responsibility and income.

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3293 Hits

Second Circuit Affirms SDNY’s Broad Use of “Employer” under FLSA

On July 9, 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed an SDNY decision approving individual “employer” liability on supermarket owner of Gristedes Supermarkets, John Catsimatidis for wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) class action lawsuit. Irizarry v. Catsimatidis, 2013 WL 3388443 (2d Cir. 2013); Torres et al. v. Gristedes Operating Corp. et al, 628 F.Supp.2d 447 (SDNY 2008).

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3414 Hits

Plaintiff’s Claim for Hostile Work Environment Survives Summary Judgment

Many times in the workplace, there is a fine line for conduct that is unfair versus conduct that is unlawful. Creating a hostile work environment is prohibited under a number of Federal discrimination laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and Americans Disabilities Act of 1990. Most states and municipalities also have equivalent laws which may provide for even better protection from a hostile work environment, such as New York which has the New York State and New York City Human Rights Law that govern these types of claims and provide even greater protection for employees.

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4653 Hits

The Effect of DOMA on Employers

The Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) is the federal law that defined marriage as being solely between a man and woman. On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the fate of DOMA in United States v. Windsor. In that case, the Supreme Court held that the provision of DOMA prohibiting the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Although it is still unknown how the ruling will affect the workplace long-term or how it will affect same-sex couples in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages, the decision has currently resulted in many changes particularly in the way benefits are provided for employees by employers.

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2955 Hits

NY Increases Minimum Wage

Wage and Hour laws exist to ensure that employees receive a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work and set standards for how employees should be properly paid so that they are neither overworked nor underpaid. Prior to January 1, 2014, the minimum wage in New York was $7.25 per hour, which is the federal minimum wage. However, the NYS Legislature has passed legislation which will increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.00 per hour over three years. Beginning December 31, 2013, New York State’s minimum wage increased in a series of three annual changes, as follows:

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3092 Hits

NYC Considering a Bill that Protects Caregiving Employees

As we know, an employer may not discriminate against an employee for their disability, race, national origin, age or religion in any state under the federal laws. Specifically, in New York City, there are even more statutes that offer additional protection to New York City employees, such as offering protection for unemployment discrimination or offering additional sick pay leave. Currently, New York City is considering an additional basis of protection for discrimination in the workplace: caregiver status. This bill, if passed, would add a person’s caregiver status onto the list of reasons that an employer cannot discriminate against, and it would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees with familial obligations.

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3048 Hits

Does the Law Protect Against Discrimination Based on Obesity?

Until recently, lawsuits based upon obesity and weight discrimination had been largely unsuccessful despite the fact that there are many statistics that indicate obese individuals are vulnerable to discrimination based upon their weight as often as individuals are discriminated against based upon their race. Examples of weight discrimination in the workplace include obese employees facing unfair hiring practices, lower wages, harsher discipline and wrongful termination compared to thinner employees.

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3703 Hits

Court of Appeals Rules: there is an “Intimate Association Right in Betrothal” – An Employer Cannot Discriminate Against You or Who You Choose to Marry

Plaintiff Scott Matusick, was employed by the Erie County Water Authority as a dispatcher. Plaintiff, who is white claimed he was assaulted, harassed, and ultimately terminated from his employment because of his romantic relationship with African-American woman, Anita Starks, who he was engaged to.

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7419 Hits

New Rights for New York City’s Pregnant Women

On October 2, 2013, New York City Mayor Bloomberg signed into law the New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, Local Law 78 of 2013 (the “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act,” “Local Law 78,” or the “NYCPWFA”). On September 24, 2013, the New York City Council had approved the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act by a unanimous vote of 47 to zero.

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3027 Hits

Pregnancy Discrimination at the Workplace

While most are aware of the physical and emotional changes women face when pregnant, many fail to realize the changes and effects pregnant women face at their workplaces. Pregnant women may require more frequent bathroom breaks, days off due to pregnancy complications or doctors’ appointments. As a result, many are fired due to requesting the evolving needs that they require in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy or not hired if employers are aware they are pregnant. Federal and New York law prohibit employment discrimination and harassment against pregnant women and provide remedies for such women when discrimination and harassment occur in the workplace or when a pregnant woman is qualified for the job but not hired because she is pregnant.

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New York Wage and Hour Laws

There are Federal Laws, State Laws, and in some jurisdictions like New York, even City Laws that govern minimum wage, hours of work, child labor, payment of wages and wage supplements, industrial homework, apparel industry registration, registration of professional employer organizations, or farm labor. Depending on the age and type of job, such laws generally govern how much should be paid to the employee for regular hours and overtime, how many hours can be worked, how long an employee can take a break for, and whether an employee is entitled to holiday or sick leave. Federal Wage and Hour laws are generally enforced by the United States Department of Labor and the Fair Labor Standards Act. New York State Wage and Hour laws are generally enforced by the New York State Department of Labor, the Division of Labor Standards and New York Labor Law. Such labor standards are enforced by each individual state and federally to ensure that employees are being paid a fair amount for the time they work and are not being underpaid or overworked.

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3186 Hits

New York City Passes Earned Sick Time Act

On June 27, the New York City Council overrode Mayor’s veto and passed the Earned Sick Time Act by a 45-3 vote. This Act joins New York City employers within the minority of states in imposing sick leave obligations. According to New York City Council estimates, this new sick leave law will make over a million employees eligible for some type of sick leave.

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2602 Hits

Supreme Court Redefines Definition of Supervisor

Earlier this week, on Monday, June 24, 2013, the Supreme Court redefined what constitutes a “supervisor” in order for an employer to be vicariously liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title VII”) in Vance v. Ball State University, 570 US 1-30 (2013). Vicarious liability is a legal principle under the common law doctrine of agency, respondeat superior, and often arises in the context of employers and employees. Employers may be vicariously liable for the acts of their employees under the theory that employees are “agents” of their employers when such employees are engaging in acts related to their employment.

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3098 Hits

SDNY Rules in Favor of Unpaid Interns

Wage and Hour laws exist to ensure that employees receive a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, and set standards for how employees should be properly paid so that they are neither overworked nor underpaid. Some job positions, such as those involving volunteer work or internships, are typically unpaid and are therefore not generally subject to Wage and Hour laws. Recently, however, courts have been delving into the question of whether employers have unlawfully hired interns to perform work tasks generally assigned to paid employees under the guise of “unpaid internship” positions. While unpaid internships are legal in certain circumstances, when employers hire unpaid interns to elicit free labor that they would usually pay employees for, then such employers are in violation of federal and state Wage and Hour laws, unless an exception applies.

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4563 Hits

Plaintiff’s Claim for Hostile Work Environment Survives Summary Judgment

Many times in the workplace, there is a fine line for conduct that is unfair versus conduct that is unlawful. Creating a hostile work environment is prohibited under a number of Federal discrimination laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and Americans Disabilities Act of 1990. Most states and municipalities also have equivalent laws which may provide for even better protection from a hostile work environment, such as New York which has the New York State and New York City Human Rights Law that govern these types of claims and provide even greater protection for employees.

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2474 Hits

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