North America

RSS’s Insurance Law Practice Group Welcomes Lauriane Massie

January 11, 2022 — RSS is pleased to announce that Lauriane Massie, a litigator, is now part of our Insurance Law Practice Group. Having made her first steps as a professional with the Bar of Quebec’s professional liability insurance fund, she already has accumulated a most relevant experience.

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New York Whistleblower Statute Amended to Significantly Expand Worker Protections

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed Senate Bill S4394A on October 28, 2021, significantly expanding protections under New York’s whistleblower statute, New York Labor Law Section 740.

Section 740 previously prohibited New York employers from retaliating against employees who disclosed or threatened to disclose to a supervisor or a public body any activity, policy or practice of the employer that constituted an actual violation of law, rule or regulation and either:

  1. Presented a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or
  2. Constituted health care fraud.

Read more…

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Gaston Saucier, An Expert on Municipal Law, Joins RSS

January 10, 2022 — RSS is pleased to announce that Gaston Saucier has joined its Saguenay office. For over 30 years, Gaston has been advising numerous municipalities and representing them before the courts in civil cases and prosecutions. His experience encompasses the wide variety of topics related to municipal law, from contracts matters to taxation and zoning issues.

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New York’s Paid Family Leave Is Expanding in Two Ways

New York recently updated two significant aspects of its Paid Family Leave program: (1) expanding the definition of “family member” to include siblings and (2) increasing the cap on weekly benefits available.

Since its inception in 2018, Paid Family Leave has offered eligible employees the ability to take  job protected, partially-paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious illness, or provide assistance when a family member is deployed abroad on active military duty. In 2020, after years of gradual increases in the maximum amount of leave and benefits, eligible employees may use up to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave per rolling 52-week period.

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The Top 5 Privacy Issues to Watch for in 2022

While we could have listed a dozen or more issues from new laws to regulatory actions to changes by major platforms, below are the top five privacy issues to look out for this year.Upcoming CPRA Regulations; Preparing for CPRA ComplianceSome parts of the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), a/k/a “CCPA 2.0”, have already taken effect, including the creation of a new California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA); the nation’s first stand-alone privacy regulatory agency. The CPPA is tasked with drafting and adopting regulations under the CPRA by July 1, 2022. Read more…

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Employment Law in 2022: What You Need to Know at the Start of the New Year

As we turn the page on 2021, we reflect on a year of uncertainty and challenges, and look forward with hope to the year ahead. Last year, employers and employees alike faced uncharted waters as we began to envision a post-pandemic world and start the recovery journey. We heard the term “great resignation” for the first time, employees returned to offices and began adjusting to new office protocols, and employers grappled with establishing vaccination policies.  So, what are the key legal takeaways from 2021, and what will employers face in the new year? Here’s what you should know: Read more…

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Connolly Gallagher Remembers Partner Rachel Dwares

It is with great sadness that Connolly Gallagher announces the passing of Rachel Dwares, wife, mother, partner, and friend to so many. Rachel was a founding partner of the firm and had been a practicing real estate attorney for over 35 years.  A Delaware native and graduate of Brandywine High School, Rachel went on to study at Cornell University and Boston University School of Law. She moved first to Chicago, where she met her husband of over 30 years, and then returned to Wilmington in 1994 to begin her practice here.

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Will 2022 Be the Year California Voters Repeal PAGA?

Employers with operations both large and small in California are all too familiar with California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), the controversial statute that permits a single employee to stand in the shoes of the state’s attorney general and file suit on behalf of other employees to seek to recover penalties for alleged Labor Code violations.

The in terrorem effect of PAGA lawsuits, in which a plaintiff need not satisfy class certification criteria to represent an entire workforce, has led many employers to pay large settlements just to avoid legal fees and the possibility of larger awards, even when the evidence of unlawful conduct is spotty or entirely absent.

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DOL Issues New York HERO Act Workplace Safety Proposed Rule, Including Workplace Safety Committee Requirements

On December 22, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (NY DOL) issued the long-awaited proposed rule (Proposed Rule) regarding the workplace safety committees that are required by the New York HERO Act (HERO Act). While there is no current effective date for the Proposed Rule (which is first subject to a public comment period and a February 9, 2022 hearing), employers should become familiar with, and consider taking actions to timely comply with the Proposed Rule should it be adopted as currently drafted.

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rejects “ABC Test” for Determining Joint Employment under Minimum Fair Wage Law

Over the past few years, lower courts in Massachusetts have grappled with determining whether the “ABC test” under the independent-contractor statute provides the proper framework for assessing joint-employment liability. The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has finally answered that question.  On December 13, 2021, in Jinks v. Credico (USA) LLC, the SJC held that the independent-contractor statute’s “ABC test” does not apply and instead adopted the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) “totality of the circumstances” approach to joint employment.

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