North America

While Far from a Knockout, the Southern District of New York Strikes a Blow for Businesses Facing Website Accessibility Lawsuits

It is no secret that businesses have long been awaiting a court decision that would help stem the surging tide of website accessibility cases – over a thousand of which have been filed in the Southern District of New York over the last two years.  While the S.D.N.Y.’s recent decision dismissing a website accessibility complaint in Himelda Diaz v. Apple, Inc., 18-cv-07550 (LAP) (S.D.N.Y. March 28, 2019) may not have gone as far as businesses would have hoped, it is nonetheless an important victory.  Ideally, by requiring greater effort from the plaintiff’s bar to successfully maintain a website accessibility lawsuit, perhaps the court will finally see a reduction in the number of such claims being filed every week.

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Maine Celebrates Equal Pay Day with New Equal Pay Act Amendments; Legislation Awaits Governor’s Signature

On April 2, 2019, the Maine Legislature celebrated Equal Pay Day by passing two significant amendments (“Amendments”) to the Maine Equal Pay Act. If, as expected, Governor Janet Mills signs the measure, certain salary history inquiries and employer policies prohibiting employee wage discussions will be deemed “evidence of discrimination.”  While the Amendments do not directly “prohibit” such inquiries and policies, in effect, they operate as a ban on such conduct.

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Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Law Society of Ontario’s Bencher Election

I will not be voting for any bencher candidates that do not fully and openly support equity, inclusion and diversity initiatives.  Here’s why.

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Wage and Hour Administrator Issues Opinion Letters Addressing the 8-and-80 Overtime Method, as well as “Fair Reading” of the FLSA Exemptions for Teachers & Agricultural Employees

The Acting Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently issued opinion letters addressing (i) the 8-and-80 overtime pay system available to certain healthcare employers; (ii) the overtime exemption for teachers, and (iii) the exemption for employees in agriculture.  The analyses and conclusions in those opinion letters are instructive for employers not only in those industries, but in many other industries as well, because they confirm the Department’s commitment to construing FLSA exemptions fairly rather than narrowly.

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New Ruling from DOL Will Have an Effect on Joint-Employers

Our colleague Steven Swirsky is featured on Employment Law This Week – DOL Proposes New Joint-Employer Rule speaking on the recent Department of Labor (DOL) ruling regarding joint-employers status under the Fair Labor Standards Act while the The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) joint-employment rule proposed in September 2018 is still pending.

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How Will New York City’s Sexual Harassment Act Effect Contractors?

A Trending News video has been posted now that the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act is in effect. New York employers must provide annual anti-harassment training for their workers, and there are specific rules that apply to independent contractors. Contractors shouldn’t be harassed, and they can also create exposure if they engage in harassment. As a reminder to NYC employers: Don’t forget your contractors!

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New York Mandates 3 Hours Paid Time Off to Vote

In an announcement about New York’s budget for fiscal year 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo highlighted, among other things, an amendment to Section 3-110 of New York’s Election Law mandating three hours of paid time off for all New Yorkers to vote on election day.

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Howard & Howard Continues Expansion of Metro Detroit Office

Royal Oak-based law firm Howard & Howard is pleased to announce that Aaron J. Beresh and David J. Goswami have joined the firm. Both will practice out of the firm’s Royal Oak office.

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DOL Proposes New Rule to Determine Joint Employer Status under the FLSA

In the first meaningful revision of its joint employer regulations in over 60 years, on Monday, April 1, 2019 the Department of Labor (“DOL”) proposed a new rule establishing a four-part test to determine whether a person or company will be deemed to be the joint employer of persons employed by another employer. Joint employer status confers joint and several liability with the primary employer and any other joint employers for all wages due to the employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and it’s often a point of dispute when an employee lodges claims for unpaid wages or overtime.

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SCC: Party Autonomy in Arbitration Trumps Access to Justice Concerns

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada held the concept of “party autonomy” and holding parties to a valid arbitration agreement trumped access to justice and policy concerns.  The Court allowed an appeal from the Court of Appeal for Ontario in which the majority ruled that part of a class action should be stayed and should proceed by way of arbitration even where there was a possibility of duplicating proceedings and inconsistent results.

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