Stokes Wagner Law Firm
Stokes Wagner

Last month, the New York City Commission on Human Rights released new guidelines (available here) that explicitly protect “the rights of New Yorkers to maintain natural hairstyles that are closely associated with their racial, ethnic, or cultural identities.” Penalties for employers include fines up to $250,000 per infraction with unlimited civil damages.

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NYC's New Lactation Room Laws

March 21, 2019  •  Jamie Santos

Category: Legal Updates

Employers in New York City now have additional requirements for their employee lactation rooms and lactation policies.

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The Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (“FAIR” Act) was introduced in both houses on February 28, 2019. If passed, the FAIR Act would eliminate mandatory arbitration agreements in employment, consumer, antitrust and civil rights claims. The bill would not completely do away with arbitration. Employees and consumers could agree to arbitration after a dispute occurs. The FAIR Act would also prohibit agreements that stop individuals, employees and businesses from joining or filing class actions.

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The New Hampshire Supreme Court, on March 8, in the case of Anderson v. Robitaille and Homewood Suites by Hilton [Case No. 2017-0195]{:target=”blank”} issued a ruling that clarifies the respective rights of hotels and guests when a guest resides for a lengthy period of time in an all-suites, extended-stay hotel.

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Pay equity has taken center stage among the wide array of workplace issues receiving news coverage and public prominence in recent years. Companies and courts alike are trying to determine how to ensure that men and women are paid fairly in connection with their work and experience. The question of how to address pay equity has created such clamor and divergence that the United States Supreme Court decided to review the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation of the law in Fresno County Superintendent of Schools v. Rizo, Case No. 18-272. However, in a shocking twist, the Supreme Court vacated the underlying case from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal on February 25, 2019, in light of the death of Ninth Circuit Justice Stephen Reinhardt.

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More employees will now be considered non-exempt, as the U.S. Department of Labor raised the minimum salary threshold for workers to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” exemption. In replacing an Obama administration rule, the new proposal would raise the salary threshold requirement from $23,660 to $35,308 per year. As a result, more employees will be subject to compensation for any time exceeding 40 hours in the workweek.

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Does your company still perform background checks on employees? If you answered yes, then the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling on background check disclosures applies and you should review your company’s background check disclosures immediately.

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Security has become a paramount concern for hotels across the globe. While the hospitality industry has historically prioritized efforts to safeguard properties from physical threats of violence, digital security threats are on a meteoric rise. Most notably, hackers have devised ways to infiltrate hotels’ online security measures. A common tactic used by hackers involves the use of ransomware, a type of malicious software that prevents system access unless a sum of money is paid to the culprits. A very infamous example took place in the Austrian Alps at the four-star Seehotel. Between December 2016 and January 2017, Seehotel’s electronic door locks and other internal systems were held for ransom on four separate occasions. Guests were unable to use their hotel door keys until Seehotel’s managing director paid the digital attackers.

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Due to a recent California Court of Appeal ruling, employers must now pay employees “reporting time pay” when employees are required to call their worksite two (2) hours prior to a scheduled on-call shift and must report to work for that shift if the employer requests. In Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc., the Court made clear that this ruling applies prospectively and not retroactively.

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The National Labor Relations Board’s recent ruling in SuperShuttle DFW, Inc. returns to a longstanding standard in evaluating proper independent contractor classification. Although its scope is limited, the recent ruling eases restrictions on proper independent contractor classification for purposes of unionization rights under the NLRA, specifically where the workers’ role involves “entrepreneurial opportunity.”

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