New York City is Blazing the Trail to Ban Marijuana Testing of Job Applicants

New York City is poised to ban employers from requiring prospective employees to undergo a drug test to detect for the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, as a condition of employment.

On April 9, 2019, the New York City Council approved a bill that would make New York City the first municipality to regulate pre-employment drug testing for marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes. The bill applies to both public and private employers operating in New York City. Although recreational marijuana is not yet legal in the State of New York (or in New York City), Governor Andrew Cuomo supports statewide legalization and this bill is viewed as an important step to achieve that goal.

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EEO-1 Update: EEOC Requests Pay Data Extension

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) revised Employer Information Report (EEO-1) is now open via the EEOC’s online portal. As we previously reported, the revised EEO-1 now requires employers to aggregate W-2 wages and hours worked by job category, race, sex, and ethnicity. The new requirements were stayed in 2017, but a federal judge lifted that stay on March 4, 2019.

In a new filing on April 3, 2019, the EEOC requested court approval to extend the deadline for reporting pay data until September 30, 2019—later than the current EEO-1 deadline of May 31, 2019. In making its request, the EEOC noted that it needs additional time “in order to accommodate the significant practical challenges” related to collecting the pay information. The agency support the request with an affidavit from its recently appointed Chief Data Officer, Samuel Christopher Haffer.

Judge Tanya S. Chutkan is expected to rule on the agency’s request in the coming weeks. Subscribe to LaborSphere for updates.

Part 22 of “The Restricting Covenant” Series: No-Poaching Agreements

Not too many topics related to restrictive covenants gain buzzworthy status. However, when state and federal governmental agencies and class action attorneys start filing lawsuits nationwide, and Fortune 500 companies in various industries start settling and agreeing to change the way they do business, well, that usually generates some buzz and attention. It seems that not a week goes by lately without a new headline discussing the latest hot-bottom issue in the world of restrictive covenants – “no-poaching” agreements.

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U.S. Department of Labor Issues New FMLA Guidance

On March 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter concerning the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA provides eligible employees a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and personal medical reasons and up to 26 weeks to care for a covered service member per year. In its opinion letter, the DOL addressed whether an employer may delay designating paid leave as FMLA leave or permit employees to expand their FMLA leave beyond the statutory requirements.

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New York City Human Rights Law’s Protections Extend Beyond the Big Apple

The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) provides employees with among the most expansive protections from workplace discrimination of any legislation in the country. In certain respects, the NYCHRL requires plaintiffs to satisfy lower standards to establish claims than do other anti-discrimination laws. The NYCHRL also recognizes more protected characteristics than many other laws and enables prevailing plaintiffs to recover extensive damages. These are among the reasons that employers should take note of a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Rinsky v. Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., 2019 WL 1091046 (1st Cir. Mar. 8, 2019), which illustrates the reach of the NYCHRL beyond the borders of New York City.

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Federal Judge Reinstates Revised EEO-1 Pay Data Reporting Requirement

On March 4, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order lifting the stay on the EEO-1 pay data reporting requirements, leaving employers uncertain about their obligations.

As we previously discussed, for the last 50 years, large employers with 100 or more employees, and federal contractors with 50 or more employees, must submit annual Employer Information Reports (EEO-1) to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which identifies the number of employees working for the company by job category based on race, sex and ethnicity.

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