Legal Updates

New Jersey Bans Discrimination Based on Hair

On December 19, 2019, New Jersey enacted legislation amending the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) to add a definition for “Race” – which has always been a protected category under the NJLAD – and for the term “Protective hairstyle.”  The Amendment, referred to as the “CROWN Act” (short for “Create a Respectful and Open Workspace for Natural Hair Act”), amends the NJLAD to add the following to the statute’s list of definitions:

“Race” is inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.

“Protective hair styles” includes, but is not limited to, such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists.

Read full article

Puff, Puff, Passed: 2019 Marijuana Laws in Review and 2020 Projections

With 2019 nearly rolled up, it is time to exhale and recap the latest dose of marijuana laws affecting the workplace.  In the last twelve months, Illinois became the eleventh state to legalize recreational marijuana use by adult[1] and several other jurisdictions passed or modified their existing laws governing marijuana and the workplace.  Below is a summary of this year’s developments and some thoughts about what 2020 might bring.

Read full article

NLRB Reverses Position on Confidentiality Concerning Workplace Investigations – Holds That Confidentiality Requirements Are Presumptively Lawful

The National Labor Relations Board, in its December 17th decision in Apogee Retail LLC d/b/a Unique Thrift Store, has reversed its prior rule and held that employer requirements that employees treat workplace investigations as confidential are “presumptively lawful.”  The Apogee decision overturns the Board’s 2015 Banner Estrella decision, which had required that an employer seeking to impose confidentiality in connection with a workplace investigation was required to prove, on a case by case basis, that the integrity of an investigation would be compromised without confidentiality.

Read full article

California Freelance Writers and Photographers Challenge the Constitutionality of AB 5

We have written previously about California’s new statute, referred to as AB 5, which codifies and expands the “ABC test” for independent contractors set forth in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court.

A California ballot initiative that would remove ride-share and delivery drivers from application of the “ABC test” is already underway.

And the California Trucking Association has filed suit challenging the statute.

Read full article

Washington and Maine Approve Salary Increases for White Collar Exemptions in the New Year, with Colorado Poised to Follow Suit Continue Reading…

As previously discussed, the federal Department of Labor has begun the process of increasing the minimum salary threshold for employees that fall under the “white collar” exemptions. Joining Alaska, New York, and California, Washington State and Maine have now approved higher salary thresholds for employees that fall under the exemptions; Colorado is expected to follow in early 2020.

Read full article

Still time to defer taxes with a strategically designed retirement plan

As the end of the calendar year approaches, many of you are probably reviewing your financial results to see how things will turn out for you or your company this calendar tax year. Despite what many had been expecting, a lot of businesses are finding that they will have a good year. That is a good news/bad news situation. More profits, while desirable, means potentially more income taxes. Read more…

Read full article

Two Recent Efforts, from Different Political Directions, to Adapt the FLSA to the 21st Century

Over the past six months, Congress has made two notable attempts to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (the “FLSA”).  In July, U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced The Modern Worker Empowerment Act (“MWEA”) with the stated aim of harmonizing the FLSA’s definition of employee with the common law.  And last month, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Treating Workers with Dignity Act of 2019 (“TWDA”), which would amend the FLSA to require certain compensated breaks.

Read full article

Proposed revisions to tip credit regulations will impact employers

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has a tip credit provision that allows employers to pay a reduced hourly wage or subminimum wage to tipped employees, provided the tipped employees receive enough tips to bring their hourly rate to the prevailing minimum wage. Under section 3(m) of the FLSA, which defines the term “wage,” an employer of tipped employees can satisfy its obligation to pay those employees the federal minimum wage by paying a lower direct cash wage (at least $2.13 per hour) and counting a limited amount of its employees’ tips as a partial credit to satisfy the difference between the direct cash wage paid and the federal minimum wage (known as a “tip credit”) if it follows certain requirements. Read more…

Read full article

$2.175M HIPAA settlement highlights breach reporting

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced its settlement with Sentara Hospitals for failing to properly report a breach and for allowing its parent corporation to create, receive, maintain or transmit protected health information (PHI) of Sentara affiliated hospitals without entering into a business associate agreement (BAA). Read more…

Read full article

Addressing workplace violence during the holiday season

While the holiday season is supposed to bring joy and happiness, for many adults it also brings an enormous amount of stress. Lack of sleep and increased pressure at work and at home often causes tensions to run high and tempers to run short, which unfortunately can lead to increased confrontation and even workplace violence. Having proper workplace violence policies in place and ensuring that your employees are aware of places they can go to get help are crucial this time of year.  Read more…

Read full article