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US: Return to work in an office environment: Employer considerations and best practices

Many businesses quickly shifted to remote work, where possible, and abandoned operations in an office setting when COVID-19 became a pandemic or when jurisdictions required or encouraged people to stay at home. Now, as these businesses contemplate resuming operations in the general office setting, they are grappling with a myriad of issues and concerns.  See our article COVID-19:  Best practice considerations for resuming work in an office setting for employer considerations for resuming work in the office setting, including advice on determining when to reopen, determining modifications to be made in the workplace, employee communication and training considerations, implementing the … Continue Reading

US: California court addresses legality of unlimited or uncapped vacation policies

Recently, in McPherson v. EF Intercultural Foundation, Inc., the California Court of Appeals addressed the legality of unlimited or uncapped vacation policies under California law. Three exempt employees sued the company for payment of unused vacation time at termination, despite being subject to an unlimited paid time off policy, because they argued the policy was neither unlimited in policy nor practice. The court agreed. Fortunately for California employers, the decision sets forth guidelines for employers to properly implement such policies and avoid liability.  For more information, see our legal update, California court finds employer liable under unlimited vacation policyContinue Reading

Reduction in work considerations for New York employers during the COVID-19 pandemic

It has been nearly one month since the “New York on PAUSE” Order was implemented to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Yesterday, Governor Cuomo announced that the Order will be extended until May 15, 2020, requiring non-essential businesses across New York to remain closed for at least an additional month.  With these ongoing restrictions, employers continue to navigate the evolving legal landscape with the understanding that business interruptions may not be as temporary as initially anticipated.  To stay afloat amidst these disruptions, companies may have to make difficult business decisions, including implementing layoffs, furloughs, and pay reductions for … Continue Reading

US: New COVID-19-related paid sick leave requirements for larger Los Angeles employers

Employers with either 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles, or who employ at least one employee in Los Angeles and have 2,000 or more employees within the US, must now provide supplemental paid sick leave for reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic for those employees performing work in the city. Notably, while employers of this size are exempt from the recent federal paid sick leave law, they must immediately become familiar with this new obligation under an emergency order signed by the Mayor.  For more information, see our legal update Los Angeles emergency public order imposes Continue Reading

US: DOL issues guidance on coronavirus paid leave rule and clarifies coverage for stay-at-home orders

On April 1, 2020, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued a temporary rule providing key guidance on paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The rule clarifies that employees covered under a federal, state or local stay–at-home order may be eligible for paid FFCRA leave but only if work or telework is available. The rule also provides detailed guidance on teleworking, the small business exemption, required documentation and a number of other points.  For more information, see our legal update, US: DOL issues key federal paid leave rule, extends leave to certain employees under stay-at-home ordersContinue Reading

US: Employer obligations for COVID-19 mandated remote work expenses (California and beyond)

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, many employers are requiring their employees to work remotely (either voluntarily or because several states, including California and New York, have imposed social distancing restrictions). The new work-from-home reality has implications for employers with workers employed in California and other states, as described in COVID-19: Working from home and employer reimbursement of remote-work expenses in California and beyond.  For more information, read COVID-19: Working from home and employer reimbursement of remote-work expenses in California and beyond, and for additional information about legal implications of COVID-19, see Coronavirus: Legal implications of a global Continue Reading

US DOL issues new guidance on COVID-19 paid sick and family leave

The US Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance which answers a number of key questions on the new federal coronavirus paid sick leave and emergency Family and Medical Leave Act leave, including when the law takes effect, how to count employees for purposes of the 500-employee threshold, how to treat related employers and other key questions. The DOL also issued model paid sick leave posters and announced limited amnesty for violations through April 17th.  For more information, read US DOL answers questions on new federal sick and family leave, issues new posters and announces limited amnesty and see our chart Continue Reading

New York’s new coronavirus-related leave requirements

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, New York State enacted a law requiring that New York State employers provide job-protected time off (in some cases, paid time off) to employees who are affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in certain ways (the “NY COVID-19 Law”). The NY COVID-19 Law requires that, for each employee who is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State of New York or certain other government entities due to COVID-19, employers provide job-protected time off until the termination of the COVID-19 Order, as described in our legal update New Continue Reading

US: New key COVID-19 employment and labor issues

COVID-19, the 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19” or the “coronavirus”) continues to stress US employers attempting to prevent the disease from spreading in their workplaces while continuing to operate effectively. With each passing day, health authorities provide more information about the spread of the disease and federal, state and local governments impose additional restrictions that impact businesses, their employees and their customers/clients. As the commercial and social environment rapidly changes, we are continuing to address a wide variety of labor and employment issues arising from those changes. We address some of those basic issues in US: Critical COVID-19 labor and employment Continue Reading

United States federal coronavirus law requires some employers to provide paid leave

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provides relief to families and workers facing the global coronavirus pandemic.

The FFCRA provides: (1) free diagnostic testing for coronavirus; (2) food assistance to low-income pregnant women and mothers with young children, food banks, seniors and students; (3) increased federal assistance to state Medicaid programs; (4) enhanced unemployment assistance to affected workers; and (5) paid sick leave and emergency federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage to certain employees and individuals.

See US: New federal coronavirus response act provides paid leave requirements Continue Reading

US employment law considerations for COVID-19 coronavirus

COVID-19, the 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19” or the “coronavirus”) is naturally on the minds of US employers as the number of cases in the US continues to rise. Although the Centers for Disease Control is still advising that most people in the US have a low immediate risk of exposure, that could change and employers are well advised to consider some basic questions that could arise in the future. We pose and answer some of those basic questions in our article US employers must consider multiple legal requirements when addressing coronavirus concerns. Remember that individual situations can vary and … Continue Reading

UPDATE: September 30, 2019 deadline for employer pay data reporting to EEOC will cover both 2017 and 2018 pay data

September 30th deadline to provide pay data to EEOC will cover both 2017 and 2018 pay data

As we previously reported in our articles Employers with 100 or more employees must provide pay data to the EEOC by September 30, 2019 and New EEOC pay data deadline: September 30, 2019, following an April 25, 2019 federal court ruling, employers with 100 or more employees should begin to prepare to report pay data to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2019.

As discussed in our prior article, the recent federal court ruling mandated employer reporting … Continue Reading

Employers with 100 or more employees must provide pay data to the EEOC by September 30, 2019

September 30th deadline to provide pay data to EEOC

Following an April 25, 2019 federal court ruling, employers with 100 or more employees should begin to prepare to report pay data to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2019.  While there is a possibility that an appeals court could stay this reporting requirement before then, covered employers should operate under the assumption that they will need to meet this September 30, 2019 deadline.

Background on pay data reporting requirement

Under current law, employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees … Continue Reading

We all know what the new DOL salary numbers are, but what happens next?

The US Department of Labor’s March 7, 2019 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking reset the salary requirements for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s white-collar exemptions. By now we all know the new numbers: the minimum salary threshold will increase from US$455 per week (US$23,660 annually) to US$679 per week (US$35,308 annually) for the executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employee exemptions. The 2019 Proposed Rule also increases the total annual compensation required for the highly compensated employee exemption from US$100,000 to US$147,414 per year. It does not, however, modify any of the duties tests. The DOL anticipates that the 2019 … Continue Reading

New York State and New York City employers face new compliance requirements

Recently, New York State and New York City have continued the trend of enacting employee-friendly legislation and issuing broad enforcement guidance under their respective employment laws and regulations.  New York State and New York City employers should be aware of the following recent developments from 2018 and early 2019, and should take action to review and update their practices and policies for compliance.

New York City lactation room and policy laws — new policy requirement

Federal and New York State laws already require employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a room other than a bathroom where a nursing employee … Continue Reading

New York State issues final guidance on anti-sexual harassment law and delays mandatory annual training deadline

In September 2018, we reported on New York State’s issuance of draft guidance under the recently enacted New York State law aimed at preventing sexual harassment.  New York State has now issued final guidance under this law.  This includes final guidance regarding:

  • The anti-sexual harassment policy that every New York State employer (regardless of size and including those who employ only domestic and household employees) must adopt by October 9, 2018; and
  • The mandatory interactive anti-sexual harassment training that every New York State employer is required to conduct for all employees annually.

Final Guidance Delays Deadline to Conduct First Annual

Continue Reading

DOL issues new opinions on FMLA and FLSA

Key opinion letter allows FMLA leave for voluntary organ donation

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued six advisory opinion letters on various Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) issues.  From time to time, opinion letters such as these are issued to provide legal guidance to employers.

The DOL opinion letter likely to be of most interest to US companies is the one that addressed whether an employee in good health who voluntarily chooses to undergo organ donation surgery could use FMLA leave for post-operative care.  See FMLA2018-2-A. The DOL … Continue Reading

New York State issues draft guidance on anti-sexual harassment policy and training requirements

In April 2018, we reported on New York State’s enactment of a new law aimed at preventing sexual harassment. We summarized this new law in detail in our legal update, New York employers should get ready to comply with New York State’s new sexual harassment prevention laws, and our Global Workplace Insider article, New York State’s new sexual harassment prevention laws will require action by all New York employers.  Under this law, New York State employers will need to comply with the following new requirements, among others:

  • By October 9, 2018, every New York State employer (regardless of
Continue Reading

New York City employers take note: New anti-sexual harassment laws enacted

On May 9, 2018, New York City enacted a number of laws addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.  The laws are summarized below.  New York City employers who do not yet have anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies in place should promptly begin the process for adopting them.  New York City employers should also begin to make arrangements for providing their employees with anti-harassment training (upon hire and annually thereafter).  Such training is now required under both New York State and New York City law.  New York State’s law, which was also recently enacted, will become effective first.  For a brief discussion … Continue Reading

New York City expansion of sick time law to cover “safe time” goes into effect on May 5, 2018; action required for New York City employers

New York City has recently adopted amendments to the New York City sick time law.  These amendments, which go into effect on May 5, 2018, will require action by New York City employers.

Background on New York City’s sick time law

Since April 1, 2014, all New York City employers have been required to provide sick time to their employees.  Whether such sick time is paid or unpaid depends upon the size of the employer.  New York City employers must provide each employee with a copy of the Notice of Employees Rights at the time of hire, and generally must … Continue Reading

New York State’s new sexual harassment prevention laws will require action by all New York employers

On April 12, 2018, New York State  Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law new measures aimed at preventing sexual harassment. We summarized these provisions in detail in our legal update, New York employers should get ready to comply with New York State’s new sexual harassment prevention laws, published on April 11th, in anticipation of the bill being signed into law.  The new law requires New York State employers to adopt sexual harassment prevention policies and conduct annual training on such policies, restricts the use of non-disclosure and arbitration provisions related to claims of sexual harassment, and extends workplace protections … Continue Reading

The #MeToo Movement: When Employees Take Their Complaints to Social Media

As we are all aware, the news has been populated with stories concerning allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, particularly in the entertainment and media industries as well as government institutions. These stories have contributed to the “#MeToo” movement, which originated on Twitter and other social media websites in late 2017 and has since become a widespread message on social media encouraging individuals to share their stories and speak out against sexual harassment and abuse. But while its purposes are laudable, the #MeToo movement is a touchy subject for employers, who ever-more-frequently find themselves accused of sexual harassment or other … Continue Reading

Norton Rose Fulbright’s online guide to global employment law is now available

More and more organisations are growing their global footprint and need to move their people around the world. In this global environment, it is essential to know, understand and comply with employment and labour laws in place across all of the jurisdictions in which organisations engage people. This will help to protect business from unnecessary risk, whether legal, financial or reputational.

We have launched a new interactive online version of our Global employment law guide first published in 2015.

Featuring 28 jurisdictions, our interactive guide helps clients navigate the often disparate and diverse national employment and labour laws, in particular … Continue Reading

Sexual harassment settlements (and attorneys’ fees) may no longer be tax deductible for employers

As a result of the new tax reform legislation, employers may no longer deduct on their tax returns any “settlement or payment related to sexual harassment or sexual abuse if such settlement or payment is subject to a nondisclosure agreement” (emphasis added) or any “attorney’s fees related to such a settlement or payment.”

This change in the tax law became effective on December 22, 2017, when the law was enacted.  Previously, employers who settled sexual harassment claims typically did so confidentially and deducted the settlement payments and related attorneys’ fees as business expenses.

Now, the new rule prohibits such … Continue Reading

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