Amidst several divided opinions handed down last week, the Supreme Court released a unanimous decision in Groff v. DeJoy, a case concerning the obligation of employers to provide religious accommodations to employees. The Court held that an employer may deny an employee’s religious accommodation request on the basis of “undue hardship” only if it can show that the accommodation would result in “substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.” The Court’s decision is significant, as employers of all sizes are often confronted with religious accommodation requests; perhaps most commonly to allow time off for religious observance or to modify dress codes and grooming policies.Continue Reading SCOTUS Raises the Bar for Employers Seeking to Prove that a Religious Accommodation Would Cause Undue Hardship
The New York State legislature recently passed a bill that, if approved by Governor Hochul, would effectively ban all non-compete agreements in New York. The bill would become effective 30 days after it is signed by the Governor. If this bill becomes law, New York would join a larger nationwide push to ban non-competes, following behind Minnesota, California, North Dakota, and Oklahoma, all of which have passed similar legislation.
In addition to action on the state level, there has been movement on the federal level to ban non-compete agreements. As previously discussed in RMF’s “Most Non-Competes Violate Federal Law According to NLRB General Counsel” blog post, the National Labor and Relations Board has recently issued a memorandum finding that a majority of non-compete agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act. This trend is further emboldened by the prior directive of President Biden to the Federal Trade Commission to issue a rule banning, or at least limiting, most non-compete agreements in the United States. More information regarding the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed rule is outlined in RMF’s “What Employers Should Know About the FTC’s Proposed Ban on Non-Competition Clauses” blog post.Continue Reading Is It The Beginning of the End for Non-Compete Agreements in New York?
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act takes effect today, June 27, 2023. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act fills the gaps in federal employment laws to require that employers provide reasonable accommodations for known limitations relating to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act applies to employers with fifteen (15) or more employees.
This new Act requires covered employers to post a notice describing the law’s protections. In light of this new federal law, the EEOC has updated its “Know Your Rights” poster. Employers must update their workplace postings to include this new version of the poster. If you have any questions regarding the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, or any other employment related issues, please contact Kimberly B. Malerba at firstname.lastname@example.org or (516)-663-6679 or Nicole E. Osborne at email@example.com or (516)-663-6687.
On May 26, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams signed into law Intro 209-A, which amends the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) to include a prohibition against discrimination in employment, housing and places of public accommodations based on a person’s actual or perceived height or weight. The amendment will take effect on November 22, 2023.
In the employment context, New York City employers and labor organizations generally will not be able to consider height or weight in deciding whether to take action with respect to any person. For example, these characteristics may not be considered in an employer’s decision to hire, terminate, demote or discipline someone. It will also be unlawful for an employer to subject someone to a hostile work environment on the basis of their actual or perceived height or weight.Continue Reading Discrimination Based on Height or Weight Now Unlawful in New York City
On May 30, 2023, General Counsel to the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued a memorandum (“Memo”) informing its regional offices of the agency’s current stance on the enforceability of employee non-competition agreements. In brief, the NLRB’s position is that most non-competes imposed against non-supervisory employees violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The Memo is the latest effort by the Federal Government to curb employers’ reliance on non-competes following the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed ban of these clauses earlier this year.Continue Reading Most Non-Competes Violate Federal Law According to NLRB General Counsel
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”) will take effect on June 27, 2023. The law seeks to close long-standing gaps in the protections afforded to pregnant workers under other federal laws. The rights created by the statute are especially important for employees who live in jurisdictions without state or local laws requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant persons.
Although New York employers have been required to provide reasonable accommodations for “pregnancy-related conditions” under state law since 2015, it is nonetheless important for New York businesses to understand that employees will soon have a federal right of action for violations of the PWFA.Continue Reading An Overview of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
As discussed in our previous blog, New York recently enacted a Compensation Transparency Law (CTL) that is set to take effect on September 17, 2023. Generally speaking, the law will require employers to disclose salary ranges in advertisements for job, promotion and transfer opportunities.
On March 3, 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul signed off on a series of amendments to the CTL, which are summarized below.Continue Reading New York Amends Compensation Transparency Law in Advance of Effective Date
On the evening of September 25, 2008, federal regulators seized Washington Mutual (“WaMu”) in what was, and still is, the largest bank failure in United States history. The government immediately sold virtually all of WaMu to J.P. Morgan Chase (“Chase”), at which point Chase took control of all of WaMu’s branches and deposits, and became the employer of WaMu’s more than 43,000 workers.
In the ensuing months, WaMu’s headquarters, which were in Washington, were shuttered and its operations were moved to Chase’s New York headquarters and other locations throughout the country. Many WaMu branches were closed rather than rebranded as Chase locations. While some employees initially stayed on with Chase, thousands were laid off. Others were offered bonuses to remain with Chase temporarily for a transition period.Continue Reading What’s Next for Employees of Failed Banks?
It is not uncommon for employers to offer departing employees a severance package in exchange for their signature on a separation agreement. The employer’s primary goal in doing so is often to secure a release of all claims the departing employee may have. But some employers want to impose other obligations on departing employees, like commitments to refrain from disparaging the employer or disclosing information about the employer/the agreement itself. Their ability to do so was recently limited by the decision of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in McClaren McComb.Continue Reading NLRB Restricts Inclusion of Non-Disclosure and Non-Disparagement Provisions in Severance Agreements
New York City employers who use Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) tools in hiring employees will soon be subject to new regulations aimed at curbing discrimination. Local Law 144, which goes into effect on April 15, 2023, will require City employers to test their AI recruitment tools for bias and post the results publicly.Continue Reading New York City Employers: How Biased Is Your HR Software?