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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.
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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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 . . .


Monday, January 23, 2017

Employers Must Use New I-9 Form


Starting on January 22, 2017, employers must start using the new Form I-9.  This replaces the version of the I-9 Form dated 03/08/13. If employers continue to use the old form, penalties may be assessed.  The new I-9 Form is located on the U.S.


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Monday, November 28, 2016

Federal Judge Blocks Overtime Rule


What is the status of the Labor Department's overtime rule?

In May, we reported on the sweeping changes to the so-called white collar exemptions to the overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for executive, professional, administrative and highly compensated employees. Now, a federal judge has blocked the Obama Administration's attempt to extend overtime pay to an estimated 4 million salaried workers.


Read more . . .


Monday, November 28, 2016

A Look at Age Discrimination in Silicon Valley


Is age discrimination a problem in the tech-sector?

As parts of the workforce grows older, age discrimination lawsuits are becoming increasingly common, particularly in industries in which employers tend to be younger, such as the tech sector. In fact, according to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), there have been 90 age-related lawsuits filed against a number of leading technology companies in Silicon Valley.

The wave of lawsuits has been filed against tech giants such as Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Apple, Google and Oracle, most of which claim wrongful termination, and all of these entities have denied claims of age discrimination.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

OVERTIME RULE BLOCKED


Many employers have been preparing for the United States Department of Labor’s (the “DOL”) new federal overtime rule, which was set to double the salary threshold exemption from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act from $23,660 per year to $47,476 per year effective December 1, 2016.  However, a Texas federal judgment blocked the rule on November 22, 2016 by issuing a preliminary injunction finding that the DOL exceeded its authority by raising the salary threshold too high and by providing for automatic adjustments to the threshold every three years.  As a result, the DOL is now enjoined from implementing and enforcing the rule pending further order of the courts. 

The case is


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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace


How can employers help prevent sexual harassment in the workplace?

Sexual harassment in the workplace can be detrimental to the business as a whole. Not only does it create discomfort, dissent, and often fear, among employees, but it interferes with company efficiency and can create significant legal exposure for employers. If you are an employer handling complaints of sexual harassment or simply looking to be proactive in establishing appropriate boundaries in your workplace, you should consult a talented employment lawyer experienced in such matters.


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