New York Employment Law Blog

Monday, May 15, 2017

Freelance Isn’t Free Act Goes Into Effect in New York City

Today, the Freelance Isn’t Free Act (“FIFA”) went into effect in New York City.  The law requires parties that engage “freelance workers” to reduce an agreement to writing when the value of the service provided is $800 or more.  Under the law, a “freelance worker” is “any natural person or any organization composed of no more than one natural person, whether or not incorporated or employing a trade name, that is hired or retained as an independent contractor by a hiring party to provide services in exchange for compensation.”  

The $800 valuation is determined by looking at the services for the project at issue, or when aggregating all the contracts for services between the parties in the preceding one hundred twenty (120) days. 

The written agreement must include, at a minimum, the following information:

  • the name and address of both the hiring party and the freelance worker,
  • an itemized list of the services that will be provided and the value of those services,
  • the rate and method of compensation, and
  • the date on which payment is due or the mechanism by which such date will be determined.
    Read more . . .

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

An Overview of Your Rights Under the Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows you to take 12 weeks of unpaid time from work in certain serious health situations that affect you or your family. The FMLA allows you to leave your job for a period to address your own health problems or health problems related to your parent, child, or spouse without worrying about whether you will have a job to come back to after the crisis is over. You can take leave all at once, or you can take it intermittently over a period of time.

You must meet certain requirements to use

Read more . . .

Friday, May 5, 2017

New York City Bans Questions About Salary History

On May 4, 2017, May Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law that prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history on employment applications, and anytime thereafter in the employment process.  The law is aimed at reducing the salary gap between men and women by ensuring that women who start with lower paying jobs will not be faced with continued pay inequities because of prior salaries.   

An employer is also prohibited from conducting any form of search through publicly available information on a prospective employee’s “salary history,” which includes not only an applicant’s current or prior wage but also benefits and any other form of compensation he or she may have received.  Furthermore, the law also makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to consider an applicant’s salary history in determining the salary, benefits, or other forms of compensation for that applicant.  Thus, if the employer already knows the applicant’s prior salary history, it cannot use that information to determine benefits.

Read more . . .

Monday, May 1, 2017

HIV-based Employment Terminations on the Rise: Know your rights

Despite major advances in the treatment and maintenance of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), social and cultural stigma still remains – including discrimination by current and potential employers in the workplace. Sadly, reports indicate that HIV-based employment discrimination actually rose in 2016, putting it at the forefront of equality issues for hardworking Americans.

In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission launched a lawsuit against the Subway Corporation following its decision to terminate an employee based – at least circumstantially – on that employee’s status as an HIV-positive person.
Read more . . .

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Employee Misclassification in New York

Workers can generally be classified into two groups: employees and independent contractors. The difference between the two types of workers is important under the law because employees have far more protections and rights than independent contractors. Employers must also pay more for employees in terms of taxes and insurance.

In some situations, employers purposely classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees because they want to avoid the extra reporting requirements, obligations, and expenses associated with having employees. This practice is often referred to as “misclassification,” and it is illegal.

Read more . . .

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Major Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against National Jewelry Chains

Despite the endless barrage of commercials swooning “he went to Jared” and “every kiss begins with Kay,” said national jewelry chains are facing major discord with their employees – as described in a recent class action discrimination lawsuit filed in February 2017. According to the Florida-based petition, as many as 69,000 men and women are alleging that the corporate culture was one of groping, fondling and uninvited sexual advances – reaching from local store employees up to the corporate executive level.

According to one account, a 25-year old Florida-based employee was fired upon suspicion of theft after she refused the sexual advances of her superiors.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Title VII Held to Cover Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Seventh Circuit

On April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held – in the case of Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana – that discrimination based upon an employee’s sexual orientation is prohibited by Title VII.  The relevant facts of the case were that the plaintiff (Hively), a professor at the college, did not have her employment renewed with the defendant-college.  She claimed that it was because she is a lesbian.  The Seventh Circuit is the first court to make such a holding, finding that an interpretation of the law extends to protect gays and lesbians from employment decisions based on their sexual orientation.  In fact, as recently as last week, the Second Circuit (the Circuit that covers New York State) – in the case of Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, Inc. –  held that discrimination based on sexual orientation is not protected by Title VII.

Read more . . .

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Employment Obligations and Social Media

Social media has become a big part of many employees’ everyday lives. It is accessible at virtually all times, and there is no limit to the information that individuals can share and consume. Social media and employment obligations occasionally butt heads based on what employees post or share on their personal (or even business) pages.

There have been situations where employees have lost their jobs due to what they have posted or shared on social networking sites. In reviewing these stories, you may have wondered—can employers really terminate an employee based on what they post on social media? Do employees have any protections to prevent this type of termination? An Read more . . .

Thursday, March 16, 2017

An Overview of New York Overtime Laws

Like many states, New York has mandatory overtime laws that employers must follow under most circumstances. Generally, you should be paid your full wage plus half of your hourly wage for each hour you work over 40 hours. The 40 hours is based on a payroll week, not because you work over eight hours per day or because you work on a weekend.

If an employer does not pay you these overtime benefits, you may have a legal claim for

Read more . . .

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Employment Contracts 101

Does my business need to rely on employment contracts?

Business owners face a number of challenges, not the least of which is the potential for employee lawsuits. One way to minimize their legal liabilities is to put in place comprehensive employment agreements. In short, a well thought out agreement will clarify the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees.

Obviously, employment contracts are not necessary for all employees, but rather executives, senior management, sales people and others who have a decision making role or an ownership interest. Let's take a look at some of the key elements of an employment agreement.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

EEOC Proposes Enforcement Guidance on Workplace Harassment

How can my business prevent harassment in the workplace?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently proposed enforcement guidance to address unlawful workplace harassment under federal anti-discrimination laws.

This proposal is based substantially on an EEOC report issued in June 2016 which encouraged employers to establish and implement comprehensive anti-harassment policies, communicate these policies to employees, provide anti-harassment training, and conduct regular self assessments to prevent harassment.

In short, the guidance seeks to clarify the legal standards regarding harassment claims based on race, color, sex, national origin, disability, religion, age, and genetic information. The EEOC proposal clarifies the agency's position on a wide range of topics and covers specific examples of conduct that would and would not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more . . .

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