Labor & Employment Law Blog

U.S. Supreme Court Invalidates NLRB Decisions

On June 26, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued a 9-0 decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning, invalidating recess NLRB appointments that President Obama made on January 4, 2012 and potentially invalidating all NLRB decisions from January 2012 through July 2013.

Assembly Advances “Ban the Box” Bill

On June 26, 2014, the New Jersey Assembly passed the “Opportunity to Compete Act.”  The Legislature is joining a national trend to create “ban the box” legislation that would eliminate the check box on job applications asking whether the applicant has been convicted of a crime.

New York Passes Bill Eliminating Wage Notice Requirement

On June 19, 2014, the New York Legislature passed a bill that would eliminate the requirement that employers provide annual wage notices to employees.  Currently, under the Wage Theft Prevention Act, employers must provide wage notices to all employees by February 1 of each year.  The bill would eliminate that mandate starting in 2015.

The bill, however, would not modify the requirement that employers provide a wage notice to new employees upon their hire.  It also would increase the penalties for an employer’s failure to provide such wage statements.

NJ Supreme Court Reaffirms Standard for CEPA Claims

New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”), protects and encourages employees to report illegal or unethical workplace activities without threat of retaliation by the employer. On June 16, 2014, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued a landmark opinion involving the CEPA.  In Hitesman v. Bridgeway, Inc., the Court found that the plaintiff’s CEPA claim failed because he could not point to a binding source of public policy under which he could receive whistleblower protection.

Newark’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance In Effect

The City of Newark’s paid sick leave ordinance took effect this past Saturday, June 21, 2014.  As we previously posted on April 1, 2014, the City of Newark passed an ordinance mandating certain employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  Employers are required to notify employees of their rights by providing individual written notice to employees and posting a notice of rights in the workplace, although the City has not yet issued a model notice.

Unpaid Intern Amendments take effect in New York City

Recently passed amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), dubbed the “unpaid intern amendments,” took effect this past Saturday June 14, 2014.  Previously, there had been a question as to whether, under the NYCHRL, unpaid interns were afforded the same rights as employees, and could sue employers for discrimination/harassment based on race, age, color, creed, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, disability and other protected classes.  The NYCHRL amendments clarified that its protections and the right to sue extend to unpaid interns.

Senate Committee Advances “Ban the Box” Bill

On June 5, 2014, the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee voted 10-1 to approve the Opportunity to Compete Act.  The proposed bill would prohibit employers with fifteen or more employees from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process.  Dubbed “ban the box” legislation, the bill would prohibit employers from including a check box on an application asking about the applicant’s criminal background.

Proposed Changes to COBRA Notice

On May 2, 2014, the Employee Benefits Services Administration (“EBSA”) of the Department of Labor proposed regulations to amend the notice requirements under COBRA.

COBRA requires employers to provide notice to their employees regarding their eligibility to continue their employer-sponsored health care coverage following a qualifying event, which includes separation from employment.  Eligible employees are permitted to purchase COBRA coverage for a period of time at 102 percent of the cost of the coverage.

EEOC/FTC Issue Guidance on Background Checks

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued guidance on utilizing background checks in the employment context.  The publications offer technical assistance to employers on how the agencies’ laws impact the background check process.