Tag Archives: Shira M. Blank

Arbitration Here We Come – New York State Statute Believed to Prohibit Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims Is Found by the Federal Court to Be Inconsistent with Federal Law

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As Summer Approaches, the SDNY Once Again Provides Hope for Businesses Exhausted by Repeated Website Accessibility Lawsuits

While businesses have long grown weary of the plaintiff bar’s seemingly endless stream of website accessibility lawsuits, it appears that judges in the SDNY may be increasingly feeling the same way. For the second time this spring, following on the back of the decision in Mendez v. Apple, a judge in the SDNY, in the case of Diaz v. The Kroger Co., 18-cv-7953 (KPF),has granted a business’ motion to dismiss a website accessibility lawsuit. While decided on multiple grounds, the Court’s decision is primarily based on mootness, providing businesses who have already taken the necessary steps to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) at Levels A and AA, and to also maintain compliance going forward, with a potential blueprint to defeat “secondary strike” lawsuits brought in the SDNY.

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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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Federal Appellate Courts Ring In the New Year by Taking Up Website and Mobile Application Accessibility 

As expected given the extreme volume of website accessibility lawsuits filed over the last few years, in the first few weeks of the new year, United States’ Circuit courts have finally begun to weigh in on the law as it pertains to the accessibility of websites and mobile applications, and the results are generally disappointing for businesses.

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ILN Today Post

Overtime Exemptions, Predictive Scheduling, Sex Harassment, and More: Major Developments on Some Key Issues Affecting Retail Employers

Spring may have been slow to arrive in some parts of the country this year, but the courts, state legislatures, and government agencies have been moving full speed ahead. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a potentially game-changing decision in which it rejected the principle that courts should narrowly construe exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). On the heels of new “predictive scheduling” laws in New York City, the New York State Department of Labor issued its own proposed—and, in some ways, more exacting—rules on the matter. The New York State Legislature has been busy as well, enacting sexual harassment laws that impose significant new burdens on employers, including an annual training requirement. In addition, with the threat of workplace violence an ever-present concern, we provide some concrete guidance on how to manage and minimize the risks to your business. Finally, as summer approaches, we assess the impact of the U.S. Department of Labor’s new “primary beneficiary” test on internship programs.

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Take 5 Newsletter: The Ground Continues to Shift in Wage and Hour Law Continue Reading…

A year ago, employers across the country prepared for the implementation of a new overtime rule that would dramatically increase the salary threshold for white-collar exemptions, on the understanding that the new rule would soon go into effect “unless something dramatic happens,” a phrase we and others used repeatedly.

And, of course, something dramatic did happen—a preliminary injunction, followed by a lengthy appeal, which itself took more left turns following the U.S. presidential election than a driver in a NASCAR race. The effect was to put employers in a constant holding pattern as they were left to speculate whether and when the rule would ever go into effect.

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Take 5 Newsletter: Societal Challenges Intersecting with the Retail Workplace

This issue of Take 5 encapsulates the incredible breadth of societal changes and challenges facing the entire retail workplace. The topics addressed below reflect a microcosm of the many issues currently facing our overall society, covering growing political activism in the workplace, increasing expectations to accommodate religious beliefs, otherwise outrageous employee speech that may very well enjoy protection under the law, and the ever-increasing requirements for criminal background checks enacted piecemeal by states and cities. These extremely topical subjects often tap into broader emotionally charged concerns encountered by retailers.

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New York Federal Court Dismisses Starwood Hotel Employee’s Disability Discrimination Claims

Employers often struggle to provide employees with their requested accommodations and to comply with disability laws while still effectively running their business. This struggle has been compounded with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s aggressive pursuit of litigation in this area in recent years.  A New York federal court recently weighed in on the issue in Kelly v. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., 15 Civ. 6309 (DLC), 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43485 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 24, 2017), holding that an employer is only required to provide an employee with a “plainly reasonable” accommodation, not the employee’s requested accommodation.

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Take 5 Newsletter: A Full Menu of Potential Legal Issues for Hospitality Owner/Operators

A Full Menu of Potential Legal Issues for Hospitality Owner/OperatorsIn the new issue of Take 5, our colleagues examine important and evolving issues confronting owners, operators, and employers in the hospitality industry:

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