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United States Department of Labor Issues New Opinion Letters - Part 2

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Another notable opinion from the U.S. Department of Labor letters issued on March 14 is that workers are not required to be paid for community service they perform through an employer program unless they are forced into volunteering. An employer submitted a question to the DOL asking if it had to compensate employees who are allowed to pick their own or employer sponsored volunteer activities.  The employer pays them for activities that occur during the work day or on the employer’s premises, but much of the volunteer time falls outside of working hours. 

United States Department of Labor Issues New Opinion Letters - Part 1

Friday, March 15, 2019

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued three opinion letters. This is the first of a series of blog posts addressing the letters.

Notably, the DOL clarified that employers cannot allow employees to take paid leave in lieu of FMLA leave.  As you know, the FMLA allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for family members or receive treatment for their own illnesses.

That Free Lunch May be Taxable

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The IRS recently released Technical Advice Memorandum 201903017 (the TAM) providing guidance to IRS personnel as to whether the value of meals and snacks provided without charge by an employer to its employees constitutes taxable wages. 

The employer in the TAM provided free meals to all employees, contractors and guests.  No distinction was made as to the employee’s position, job duties, responsibilities or other circumstances.  Unlimited drinks and snacks were also provided to all employees, contractors and visitors in unrestricted snack areas. 

BREAKING NEWS: NYS DOL Not Implementing Call-In Pay Regulations

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Good news!  Last night, the New York State Department of Labor issued a statement that it would not pursue implementing the proposed call-in pay regulations we wrote about previously (click here for that blog post). This issue is likely headed to the New York State Legislature.

NLRB Narrows Standard for “Protected Activity”

Monday, February 18, 2019

Another recent NLRB decision narrows the standard for what constitutes protected activity.  In that case, a manager asked a group of airport baggage handlers to help unload the equipment of a soccer team. One of the baggage employees said they’d done a similar job previously and didn’t receive a tip.  When the equipment arrived, the baggage handlers didn’t help unload, and the employee who complained about the lack of tip was fired.  He filed a complaint alleging he was fired for complaining about the lack of tip, which he claimed was protected activity.

NLRB Changes Course on the Independent Contractor Issue

Friday, February 08, 2019

On January 25, 2019, the NLRB issued a Decision wherein it found that van operators at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport are independent contractors, not employees, and thus could not unionize.  In doing so, the NLRB overruled its own 2014 FedEx Home Delivery Decision that it said gave insufficient weight to workers’ entrepreneurship opportunities, and too much weight to right-to-control factors, in deciding the issue.  Going forward, where appropriate, all the traditional common law independent contractor factors will be evaluated “through the prism of entrepreneurial opportunity”. 

New York Passes Transgender Anti-Discrimination Law

Thursday, January 24, 2019

On January 15, 2019, the New York Legislature passed a bill that protects transgender people from discrimination and adds gender identity or gender expression as a protected class in employment, housing, places of public accommodations and other areas.  After more than a decade of attempts, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) awaits Governor Cuomo’s expected signature.  

Government Shutdown Continues to Affect Employers

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

As the government shutdown persists, private employers continue to be affected.  As we discussed earlier this month, E-Verify remains shut down.  Employers must continue to manually verify eligibility through the use of I-9 forms.  In addition, the EEOC is mostly shut down, other than a relatively small number of employees still in place to receive new charges so potential charging parties don’t miss the statute of limitations.  Federal courts remain open, but cases involving the federal government are stayed and court staff is reduced. 

Federal Government Shutdown Fallout: How Should Employers Who Use E-Verify Handle The System Being Down

Monday, January 07, 2019

Employers who use E-Verify to comply with their I-9 obligations have not had access to the system since December 22, 2018.  Crucially, however, those I-9 obligations do not cease just because the E-Verify system is down.  Thus, employers are advised to carefully examine new employees’ I-9 documents and complete I-9 sections 1 (by first day) and 2 (by third day) now, and then comply with the E-Verify 3-Day Rule as directed by the Division of Homeland Security (DHS) E-Verify website once it is back online. 

Cuomo Vetoes Addition of Bereavement Leave to Paid Family Leave

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Governor Cuomo vetoed the bill we described in our last post that would have added bereavement leave to the list of acceptable reasons to take NY Paid Family Leave.  Cuomo indicated that he generally supports increased bereavement leave but felt that the bill, as written, would lead to an “extreme expansion” of Paid Family Leave.  Cuomo argued the bill would necessitate an increase in employee contributions, and felt the financial burden of increased contributions might be too much for some low-wage and middle-class workers. 

Governmental Affairs
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Please e-mail your U.S. Senators and urge them to support the Employment Verification Amendment! The Senate is currently considering its immigration ...

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Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by Representative Martha Roby (R-AL), yesterday introduced the Working Families Flexibility Act of 20...

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Frank Cania and Paul Keneally have prepared an in depth guide for employers to help navigate the New York Corrections Law, Article 23-A, requirements....

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  YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED! Please e-mail your senators to OPPOSE S. 3220 <http://msg.shrm.org/site/R?i=MTjvtqw_LsVHXyHx4E3oZw> because i...

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YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED!  The NLRB's imbalanced "quick election" rule is scheduled to take effect on April 30, 2012. The congressional resoluti...

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Federal Legislative Action Alert YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED!  Save Employer Provided Education Assistance! Please email or write your representat...

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Federal Legislative Action Alert YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED!  Please e-mail your U.S. senators and representative and ask them to co-sponsor the ...

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Senator Bill Sampson has provided this summary of a new bill that he introduced to lessen the impact of the Wage Theft Prevention Act's notice require...

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Federal Legislative Action Alert YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED!  Please CALL your representative and ask him/her to co-sponsor the Neal/Gerlach...

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Federal Legislative Action Alert YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED!  Please email your representative and ask him/her to co-sponsor the Neal/Gerlach Hou...

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Federal Legislative Action Alert - REMINDER! YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED!  Last week you received an alert regarding Representatives Richard Ne...

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Frank Cania, CEO of CaniaHR LLC and president of the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, and Paul Kennealy, Esq....

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Underberg & Kessler LLP attorney Elizabeth Cordello comments on the Marriage Equality Act and whether private businesses can discriminate or deny ...

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Underberg & Kessler LLP partner Paul Keneally comments on issues facing business people involved in a lawsuit over the loss of an employee, an...

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A new statute set to take effect on April 9, 2011, New York's "Wage Theft Prevention Act", requires that employers provide significantly more information to employees regarding wages or risk facing increased civil, and in some cases criminal, penalties.

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http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201012090500/NEWS01/12090336
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New York State has passed a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights which amends New York Labor Law and provides extensive protection to domestic workers.  The law goes into effect on November 29, 2010.  Please click on the link for further information.

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Shared Work is a voluntary program that provides employers facing a temporary decline in business with an alternative to layoffs. Rather than laying off a percentage of the work force to cut costs, an employer can reduce the hours and wages of all or a particular group of employees. The employees whose hours and wages are reduced can receive partial unemployment insurance benefits to supplement their lost wages.

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Below please find a special invitation to the 2010 HR Legislative Conference on April 20, 2010 in Albany. If you have any questions, please contact GV...

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Below please find an interesting article about a case finding for an employer where the employee was an alcoholic with attendance problems. This thorn...

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Once again the COBRA subsidy and unemployment benefit rules have been extended. If you have any questions please contact GVCSHRM Legislative Represent...

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Below you will see the testimony of employment defense attorney Jane M. McFetridge, Esq. to the U.S. Senate regarding the proposed Paycheck Fairness A...

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Monroe JSEC Presents: Investigating Sexual Harassment & Other Employment Claims When: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 Registration and refreshmen...

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Second Circuit Rules Reasonable Accommodation Must Be Provided, Even if Not Requested by Employee Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990...

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