On January 21, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law three bills that increase the potential pitfalls for businesses that rely on independent contractors. One new law adds to the penalties for misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Another new law imposes liability on businesses ─ including potential liability on individual managers ─ that use staffing companies that misclassify workers. The third new law adopts new posting requirements and anti-retaliation provisions.
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.
The Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law include exemptions from overtime and minimum wage requirements for employees holding certain executive and administrative positions. In order to qualify for the executive or administrative exemption, an employee must, among other things, earn at least the minimum threshold salary. Under federal law, the current minimum threshold salary is $455 per week ($23,660 per year). However, the minimum threshold salary is higher under New York law and, as of December 31, 2018, is scheduled to rise even higher.
The new minimum thresholds vary depending on the size of the employer and the employee’s work location, as set forth below.
The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (NJPSLA) takes effect on October 29, 2018. For information about the law’s provisions, please see our prior blog. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) also released an FAQ regarding the new law, as well as proposed regulations in connection with the law and the required notice that employers must post in the workplace and provide to all New Jersey employees.
The NJDOL released the notice on October 3, 2018. Employers can find a copy of the notice on the NJDOL’s website. A New Jersey employer is required to post the notice in a conspicuous place that is accessible to all employees in each of the employer’s locations. Employers must also (1) provide all employees with the notice by November 29, 2018; (2) provide all subsequently hired employees with the notice at the time of hiring; and (3) provide every employee with the notice upon his or her first request. Employers do not have to obtain signed acknowledgments from employees indicating that they have received the notice, but employers may wish to do so to avoid disputes over whether they have satisfied this requirement.
In May 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy made good on a campaign promise when he signed into law the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (the “Act”). New Jersey is one of ten states that require employers to provide paid sick leave, joining Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Before the state passed the Act, more than a dozen New Jersey municipalities had enacted their own paid sick leave laws, creating confusion for employers conducting business throughout New Jersey. The Act now preempts these local laws and bars municipalities from passing their own paid sick leave laws. The preemption aspect of the Act is welcome news for employers because they will only have to comply with the Act, rather than a patchwork of local laws. Here are some important components of the Act that employers should be aware of before its effective date on October 29.
On May 30, 2017, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation regulating employee schedules in the retail industry. The new “predictable scheduling” law, which is set to take effect on November 26, 2017, prohibits “on-call” shifts and otherwise limits employer flexibility in creating work schedules.
Employers Covered By the Law
The law applies to any “retail employer,” which is defined as an employer: (1) with at least 20 employees (including fulltime, part-time and temporary employees); and (2) that is primarily engaged in selling “consumer goods” at a store or stores in New York City. The law defines “consumer goods” as “products that are primarily for personal, household, or family purposes, including but not limited to appliances, clothing, electronics, groceries, and household items.”
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