At long last, the federal Department of Labor has issued its widely anticipated second proposal to raise the minimum salary threshold for employees to qualify for various white collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Following a failed attempt by the Obama-era DOL to set a salary threshold of $47,476, the DOL is setting its sights lower this time around with a proposed $35,308 salary threshold. Continue Reading Let’s Try That Again: DOL Proposes $35k Salary Threshold for Overtime Exemption

New York City continues to advance a progressive workers’ rights agenda that places employees who work in the city in a better position than those who work outside the five boroughs.  Continue Reading New York City Considers Paid Vacation and the Right to Disconnect

A reminder to Connecticut employers: generally speaking, questions about an applicant’s salary history are prohibited as of January 1, 2019. As I detailed in an earlier post, Connecticut has joined the growing number of states restricting what employers may ask applicants about salary history. While salary history inquiries are now generally prohibited, there are two important exceptions that are discussed in my earlier blog post.

I encourage Connecticut employers to review employment applications for compliance with this new law. Also, employers must make hiring managers aware of impermissible interview inquiries. Murtha’s employment lawyers are ready to help employers with any and all aspects of the salary history inquiry ban.

On October 17, 2018, the New York City Council passed several bills, referred to as a parental empowerment package, which will likely be signed by the mayor. These bills require employers with 15 or more employees to provide a “lactation space” and “lactation accommodation” for employees who need to express and store breast milk.  Specifically, employers will be required to designate a private sanitary place that is not a restroom for purposes of expressing milk. Although since 2008 New York State law has required employers to allow nursing mothers with breaks to express milk, New York City will require a dedicated room for this purpose. In addition to providing a lactation space, which must be in reasonable proximity to the employee’s work area, the law will also require that employers provide a refrigerator that is suitable for breast milk storage. Continue Reading NYC Council Votes to Require Lactation Room and Accommodation Policy

On October 1, 2018, New York State released final documents and resources in connection with its new sexual harassment prevention requirements. Along with the updated guidelines, the deadline to provide a first round of sexual harassment prevention training has been extended from January 1, 2019 to October 9, 2019. Continue Reading New York State Revises and Finalizes its Sexual Harassment Policies and Training Requirements After Receiving Comments from Employers

Last August, we blogged about a case of first impression in Connecticut where a federal court judge found that Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (“PUMA”) creates a private cause of action for employment discrimination and that PUMA’s anti-discrimination provision is not preempted by federal law.  See Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co. LLC, 273 F. Supp. 3d 326, 340 (D. Conn. 2017).  On September 5, the court issued another decision in this case, offering further insight into this evolving area of employment litigation. Continue Reading Court Provides Additional Clarification Concerning the Scope of Connecticut’s Medical Marijuana Protections in the Workplace

Last week, we addressed the looming sexual harassment notice and training requirements affecting all New York State and New York City employers.  We also wrote about the pending issuance of public resources containing model policies and other materials that would comply with the New York State mandates.  The day after we posted our blog, New York State published a website – Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, which provides resources to employers and employees on sexual harassment.  Among other things, the new site contains:

Continue Reading New York State Issues Awaited Proposed Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Other Resources

Both New York State and New York City have passed legislation intended to curtail sexual harassment, while at the same time, expanding accountability for such.  These laws impact large and small businesses that operate in the State and/or City. Continue Reading Impending Sexual Harassment Notice and Training Requirements to Affect New York State and New York City Employers

Just as the 2018 legislative session came to a close on the night of July 31, 2018, the Legislature passed a bill reforming the law of noncompetition agreements (“noncompetes”) in Massachusetts.  The bill is being viewed as a compromise following years of unsuccessful efforts to pass noncompete reform.  The governor is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.  Continue Reading After Years of Debate, Massachusetts Finally Passes Non-Compete Bill

On June 28, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill titled “An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave, and the Sales Tax Holiday” (H.4640).   The new law, dubbed the “Grand Bargain,” implements incremental increases in Massachusetts’ minimum wage over the next five years, and creates a new paid family and medical leave program in the Commonwealth. A full text of the bill can be found here.

Minimum Wage Increase

The law increases the minimum wage from $11.00 to $15.00 over the course of five years.  In 2019, the minimum wage will increase from $11.00 to $12.00.  Thereafter, it will continue to increase each year in $0.75 increments until it reaches $15 in 2023. The Grand Bargain also results in a five-year phase out of the requirement of premium pay for hours worked on Sunday.

Tipped employees will also receive a boost from the current $3.75/hour tipped minimum wage, which will increase by $0.60 increments each year until 2023 when the tipped minimum wage will be $6.75/hour.

Paid Family and Medical Leave Program

Reflecting a nationwide trend, the law establishes a Paid Family and Medical Leave program to take effect on January 1, 2021. The program will entitle eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave, with a maximum of 26 combined weeks of paid leave in the same year.

Individuals eligible for leave include employees, self-employed individuals, and certain former employees.  The program will be funded by employers and employees through a payroll tax. Continue Reading Massachusetts Raises Minimum Wage and Passes Paid Family and Medical Leave Law