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NEW NLRB POLICY TO AID MEMBERS SEEKING TO BRING CLAIMS AGAINST THEIR UNIONS

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Labor union members have been forced for many years to prove bad faith interest when seeking to make claims against their own unions for failure to represent them properly.  That has now changed based on an October 24, 2018 Memorandum from General Counsel, Peter Robb (Trump appointee) of the National Labor Relations Boards (NLRB – the federal labor law enforcement agency).  Claims of negligence against unions will now be easier because the union will be presumptively liable if workers’ grievances are not properly processed.  Unions are currently already facing declines in memberships and f

Federal Government Changes Position on Protection for Transgender Workers

Monday, October 29, 2018

Last week, the Department of Justice submitted a brief to the United States Supreme Court arguing that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination against transgender employees. The DOJ argued that the protection against “sex” discrimination does not apply to gender identity.  Importantly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has not changed its position accordingly, and therefore the EEOC still considers transgender employees to be protected from discrimination. 

Title VII Hostile Work Environment Claims Proceed on Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Monday, October 22, 2018

A New York employee who worked for the NYS Insurance Fund for many years allegedly experienced discrimination and a hostile work environment based on the fact that he was gay and had a disability.  The employee complained of discrimination and alleged that following his complaints he was retaliated against.  On remand from the Second Circuit, the district court dismissed the employee’s Title VII discrimination claims because he failed to allege that he suffered an adverse employment action based on his sexual orientation.  The court found that although he alleged another employee emailed f

NYS Issues Final Guidance on Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

NYS issued its final guidance on the new sexual  harassment policy and training requirements in effect for all New York employers.  The state clarified that October 9, 2018 remains the deadline by which all employers must adopt a written sexual harassment policy and an anti-harassment training program.  The state has issued model language and training documents for employers that need assistance developing those documents. 

Paid Family Leave 2019 Update

Friday, September 07, 2018

Employees will pay more of their paycheck towards the Paid Family Leave benefit program in 2019 - 0.153% of gross wages up to a yearly maximum of $107.97 (up from 0.126%/$85.56 in 2018). Moreover, as per the original provisions of the Paid Family Leave law, employees will be permitted to take up to 10 weeks of paid family leave in 2019, and receive 55% of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $746.41.  

Deadline for New Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements Fast Approaching

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

In April, we wrote about new steps New York State is taking to prevent harassment in the workplace, including requiring New York employers to comply with policy and training requirements.

Lululemon Employees Likely to be Conditionally Certified for Allegations of Unpaid Wages

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Earlier this month, a New York Federal Court magistrate recommended conditional certification of a class of Lululemon employees who allege they were expected to take yoga classes at studios to promote Lululemon apparel, and perform other work related tasks off the clock.  Lululemon paid the fee for the classes but did not pay the employees to attend, calling it “community work.”  The employees allege they spent approximately five hours each week in fitness classes and another five hours per week performing other tasks.

Court Holds that USC Cannot Force Employees/Investors in its Retirement Plan to Arbitrate their Breach of Fiduciary Duties Claims

Monday, August 06, 2018

Employers with retirement plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) often seek to reduce their potential class action liability for breach of fiduciary duty claims by including mandatory arbitration clauses in employment agreements. University of Southern California (USC) workers challenged the school's management of its plans in federal court several years ago, despite the arbitration clauses in their agreement.

Changes to Taylor Law

Friday, July 27, 2018

This year, Governor Cuomo signed a law making changes to the Taylor Law to strengthen public unions.  The Taylor Law, officially the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, defines the rights and limitations for public employees in New York.  The major changes to the existing law include the following:

Arbitration Agreements as a Condition of Employment are Enforceable

Monday, July 16, 2018

The US Supreme Court recently upheld mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts that waived an employee’s right to bring class or collective actions.

Governmental Affairs
03

Federal Legislative Action Alert

YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED!  Please CALL your representative and ask him/her to co-sponsor the Neal/Gerlach House Concurrent Resolution!  Representatives Richard Neal (D-MA) and Jim Gerlach (R-PA) will introduce a bi-partisan House Concurrent Resolution the week of February 4, 2012, that highlights the important role employer-sponsored retirement plans play in helping Americans save and plan for retirement. To date, SHRM has assisted in garnering 56 co-sponsors! Click HERE to see if your member has co-sponsored the resolution.

Please Take This Action:
If your representative has not yet co-sponsored this House Concurrent Resolution, please CALL him/her using SHRM’s HRVoice program by following these steps:

1.    Log onto the alert on the SHRM Advocacy Action Center by visiting HERE

2.    Please read the instructions on the page and enter your ZIP-Code to be matched to your member of the US House and her/his DC office phone number (you may be asked to enter your full home address if your ZIP-Code is located in multiple congressional districts)

3.    Use the talking points provided as a basis for personalizing your call with your own story

4.    Please inform the staffer answering the phone of your reason for calling and your personal story (you do not have to ask for a specific staff person or position)

5.    Please be certain to complete the feedback area at the bottom of the talking points page after completing your call, then click the “submit” button.

 

Background

This summer, President Obama signed into law legislation that creates a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Joint Select Committee on deficit reduction. The committee, known as the “Super Committee,” is charged with reducing the federal debt by at least $1.5 trillion during the next 10 years by looking at current spending and tax code policies.  Because of their tax-deferred status, employer-provided benefits such as retirement and health care plans may come under scrutiny by the Super Committee.

Issue

Employer-provided retirement plans are a key component of our nation’s retirement system and produce significant retirement benefits for America’s working families. Together with Social Security and individual savings, employer-provided retirement plans produce significant retirement benefits for America’s working families.  There are approximately 670,000 private-sector defined contribution plans covering 67 million participants and over 48,000 private-sector defined benefit plans covering 19 million participants.

Outlook

Employer-sponsored health care and retirement benefits, because of their tax-deferred status, create the largest annual loss in revenue to the federal treasury.  As a result, it is anticipated that public policy efforts to reform the tax code and bring down the federal deficit will involve an examination of employer-sponsored benefits, including retirement plans, health care benefits and educational assistance programs. Given the large loss of revenue to the U.S. Treasury, employer-sponsored pension plans are an attractive revenue-raising target for Congress.

SHRM Position

SHRM believes that a comprehensive and flexible benefits package is an essential tool in recruiting and retaining talented employees. Every American employee should be provided the opportunity to save for retirement. The government should facilitate and encourage voluntary employer-sponsored plans, as well as individual savings through consistent tax incentives and simplified regulations.

SHRM supports the House Concurrent Resolution to be introduced by Rep. Neal and Rep. Gerlach.  The resolution declares the benefits and importance of employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Legislation

The House Concurrent Resolution has not yet been introduced, and therefore, has yet to be assigned a number. However, the draft legislation has been sent to every member of the House of Representatives.  Please ask your Representative to co-sponsor this measure prior to introduction! This measure states many important facts, most importantly:

  • The current tax incentives for retirement savings provide important benefits to Americans to help plan for a financially secure retirement;
  • There are approximately 670,000 private-sector defined contribution plans covering 67 million participants and over 48,000 private-sector defined benefit plans covering 19 million participants;
  • $4.7 trillion is held in 401(k), 403(b), 457 and similar defined contribution plans, $2.3 trillion is held in private defined benefit plans, and another $4.9 trillion is held in Individual Retirement Accounts, largely consisting of funds rolled over from employer-based retirement plans;
  • During 2000 through 2009, employers contributed almost $3.5 trillion to public and private retirement plans;
  • Tax incentives are an important impetus for individuals to save and plan for retirement and for employers to offer plans in a voluntary system.

Should you have any questions regarding this resolution, please contact Kathleen Coulombe, SHRM’s Senior Associate, Government Relations at kathleen.coulombe@shrm.org.

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