News

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 […] 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

Hancock Estabrook Affordable Care Act Alert

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Hancock Estabrook Affordable Care Act Alert, titled "Further Information Released by the Treasury and IRS on Transition Relief, Safe Harbors and Certain Definitions" was sent out to our Municipal Law Blog subscribers. Read More

New York State Launches the Unemployment Insurance State Information Data Exchange System

Friday, February 14, 2014

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) recently implemented a new web-based system called the Unemployment Insurance State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES), which directly connects the NYSDOL with employers for purposes of investigating and resolving claims for unemployment benefits. The system transmits questions by former employees about unemployment insurance claims directly from the NYSDOL to employers in order to promptly process claims and avoid fraud. According to the NYSDOL, SIDES aims to prevent unemployment benefits from going to people who do not deserve them, while at the same time preserving the integrity of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and employers’ accounts. Read More