I’ve said before and I’ll say it again. Zero-tolerance policies are a bad idea when addressing sexual harassment complaints. In fact, they shouldn’t even apply to complaints about discrimination or workplace infractions. Although zero-tolerance policies convey the impression that an employer is taking a hard line stand against conduct it wants to discourage or eliminate, the reality is a little more complicated, just like the workplace. Continue Reading Zero-Tolerance Policies Hurt Harassment Reporting and #MeToo
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released data detailing breakdowns for the charges of workplace discrimination it received in 2018. Sexual harassment charges increased 13.6% from 2017 – making sexual harassment the second most frequent charge filed with the EEOC. Overall, the agency received 7,609 sexual harassment charges and obtained $56.6 million in monetary benefits for victims of sexual harassment. Continue Reading #MeToo Continues National and Local Impact: EEOC Identifies Increase in Sexual Harassment Charges, CGA Considers Change to Sexual Harassment Law
As we previously reported here, the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” expanded the reach of the New York City Human Rights Law in the area of gender-based discrimination, including harassment. Among other things, as of April 1, 2019, the law mandates employers with 15 or more employees (which includes independent contractors) in the previous calendar year to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training to all employees, including managers and supervisors. The law requires employers to train new employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year within 90 days of initial hire. Continue Reading New York City Commission on Human Rights Releases Online Gender Harassment Training
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:
- A model Statewide Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy, which employers are free to adopt;
- Minimum Standards For Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies for employers that intend to draft their own comprehensive sexual harassment policies;
- A model Complaint Form for Reporting Sexual Harassment;
- A model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training guide; and
- Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training, for employers that wish to develop their own training.