News

Court Upholds Random Drug Test of County Correction Officer Which Led to Officer’s Termination

Friday, October 24, 2014

On October 9, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a non-precedential summary order in Allen v. Sullivan County Sheriff sustaining the district court’s judgment below which held after a bench trial that defendants County of Sullivan, New York and the Sullivan County Sheriff did not violate the plaintiff correction officer’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution by subjecting her to a random drug test which eventually led to a termination of her employment with the Sullivan County Jail. Read More

What Can an Employer Do When Confronted With A False EEOC Discrimination Charge?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It is not unusual for an employer to conclude that a discrimination charge filed by an employee with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is false. Does the employer have a right to terminate or otherwise discipline the employee for filing a false claim? Are there potential pitfalls if the employer decides to conduct its own investigation into the charge but stops short of taking disciplinary action? The July 23, 2014 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Cox v. Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, Docket No. 12-1526-CV, supplies some valuable insights into how New York State employers may be able to reduce the risk of a subsequent retaliation claim when they react to a false EEOC charge. Read More

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Extending Discrimination Protections to Unpaid Interns

Monday, August 4, 2014

On July 22, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that provides unpaid interns with the same protections as paid employees under the New York State Human Rights Law. Under the new law, which is effective immediately, interns may not be discriminated against with respect to hiring, discharge, or terms or conditions of employment based on their age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status or domestic violence victim status. The new law also prohibits sexual harassment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against interns for opposing prohibited practices or for filing a complaint, testifying or assisting in a proceeding brought under the New York State Human Rights Law. Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Holds that Non-Union “Quasi” Public Employees May Not Be Forced to Pay Agency Fees to Union

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On June 30, 2014, the United States Supreme Court rendered a 5-4 decision holding that the agency-fee provision of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (PLRA) violated the First Amendment. Harris v. Quinn, No. 11-681, 2014 WL 2921708 (June 30, 2014). Read More

Supreme Court Holds Public Employee’s Testimony is Protected by First Amendment

Thursday, July 24, 2014

In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Sotomayor, the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment protects a public employee who provides truthful sworn testimony, compelled by subpoena, outside the scope of his ordinary job responsibilities. Lane v. Franks, No. 13-483, 2014 WL 2765285 (2014). Read More

EEOC Issues Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On July 14, 2014 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues. In this Guidance, the EEOC outlines its views on various pregnancy-related issues, including the scope of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act’s (PDA) coverage (which extends not only to a current pregnancy, but also to past pregnancies and a woman’s potential to become pregnant), the relationship between the PDA and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the duty to provide reasonable accommodations, circumstances under which employers may be required to provide light duty to pregnant workers, “parental leave” (which is distinct from medical leave associated with pregnancy or childbirth) as it applies to both genders and general “best practices” to avoid unlawful pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Read More

U.S. Supreme Court to Tackle the EEOC’s Duty to Conciliate

Thursday, July 10, 2014

On June 30, 2014, the United States Supreme Court granted an employer’s petition for certiorari to address whether a court may dissect the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) obligation under Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) to conciliate discrimination claims before filing suit and, relatedly, whether employers can use the EEOC’s failure to conciliate as an affirmative defense. Mach Mining, LLC v. E.E.O.C., 738 F.3d 171 (7th Cir. 2013), cert. granted, No. 13-1019, 2014 WL 713205 (June 30, 2014). The Court’s decision to address the EEOC’s duty to conciliate has the potential to significantly change the landscape of employment discrimination cases. Read More

EEOC Informal Discussion Letter Highlights Best Practices for ADA Reasonable Accommodation Policies and Forms

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued an informal discussion letter in response to a letter inquiry from an employer concerning a sample reasonable accommodation policy and accompanying sample forms. Read More

Municipal Employer Refused to Bargain in Good Faith When it Unilaterally Discontinued the Practice of Assigning Take Home Cars to Certain Employees

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A divided New York Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Town of Islip’s permanent assignment of “take home” vehicles to certain employees was a past practice regarding terms and conditions of employment and, as such, it qualified as a mandatory subject of bargaining, which the Town could not unilaterally discontinue. Town of Islip v. New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), 2014 WL 2515720 (June 5, 2014). However, the Court also determined that PERB’s remedial order, which required the Town to restore vehicle assignments to the affected employees, was unreasonable because the vehicles had been sold. Read More

New Guidance Changing the Notification Requirements for Employers Under COBRA

Thursday, May 8, 2014

On May 2, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced new guidance changing the notification requirements for employers under COBRA. Under the new regulations, employers are now required to provide information to employees regarding available federal or state Marketplace options as well as the special enrollment period that pertains to COBRA enrollees. Read More