Labor & Employment Law Blog

Employers’ Rights and Responsibilities Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

By Michael A. Shadiack & Lauren F. Iannaccone

On May 11, 2016, President Obama ratified the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016,” giving employers a private cause of action against employees who misappropriate trade secrets. However, the Act, which immediately went into law and effect, offers both employers and employees certain legal protections.

New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Bill Halted

By Michael A. Shadiack & Lauren F. Iannaccone

On May 9, 2016, the New Jersey Senate delayed voting on Senate Bill 799 which, if passed, would require all businesses in New Jersey to provide paid sick days to each employee that it employs within the state. 

U.S. DOL Issues Final Union Persuader Rule

Today, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced that it finalized its union persuader rule, requiring employers to report so-called “persuader agreements” they have made with outside consultants to help persuade workers against unionizing.

EEOC Files First Complaints Alleging Sexual Orientation Discrimination Under Title VII

On March 1, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed two lawsuits in federal court alleging sex discrimination based on sexual orientation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These filings are noteworthy because sexual orientation is not a protected category expressly enumerated in Title VII. However, in recent years the EEOC has consistently taken the position that sexual orientation discrimination is, by its very nature, discrimination because of sex. In fact, the EEOC has made coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions one of its six national priorities identified in its 2013-2016 Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

Elizabeth Paid Sick Leave Ordinance in Effect

Effective today, March 2, employers in the City of Elizabeth, New Jersey will need to comply with a paid sick leave ordinance.  The ordinance is designed to provide those working for an employer located in Elizabeth with paid sick leave from their jobs.  It is similar to the ordinances passed in other municipalities throughout the state, including Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, New Brunswick, Newark, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton.

U.S. Department of Labor Provides Guidance on Joint Employment Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

On January 20, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Administrator’s Interpretation clarifying the scope of joint employment for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). The Interpretation reiterates the principle that when one joint employer fails to comply with the FLSA or MSPA, all of the joint employers can be held liable. 

New York Employers Must Provide Reasonable Accommodations to Pregnant Employees

As of January 19, 2016, an amendment to the New York State Human Rights Law requires New York employers with four or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s pregnancy-related medical condition, unless the accommodation places an undue burden on the employer.  The amendment clarifies the prior law, which was unclear whether pregnancy was considered a disability in New York state.  Now it is certain that failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to a pregnant employee constitutes “an unlawful discriminatory practice” and could subject the employer to liability. 

2016 Employer To-Do List

Michael A. Shadiack

1.  MODERNIZE YOUR EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK.  Employee handbooks should be updated often - preferably on a yearly basis - in order to stay up-to-date with changing laws.  Take the time to make sure your company’s handbook has a social media policy, addresses same-sex married couples, and provides reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers.  Your handbook is a key preventative tool that needs a regular checkup.

U.S. DOL’s Persuader Rules Advances One Step Closer to Publication

On December 8, 2015, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) submitted the so-called “Persuader Rule” to the Office of Management and Budget for review. The Persuader Rule applies to employers, attorneys, consultants and other persons who attempt to persuade employees to oppose a union’s organizing efforts.  While the exact provisions of the new rule are presently unknown, based upon the proposed rule, it is likely aimed at narrowing the “advice” exemption to the reporting requirements of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

New Jersey Promulgates Final Regulations to “Ban the Box” Legislation

On December 7, 2015, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued final regulations to the Opportunity to Compete Act (the “Act”), commonly known as the “Ban the Box” legislation.  The Act, which has been in effect since March 1, 2015, restricts covered employers from inquiring orally or in writing into the criminal record of an applicant during the “initial employment application process.”  The regulations provide important guidance to the meaning and scope of the Act.