Employment & Labor

On November 2, 2023, the New York City Council passed a bill[1] requiring the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (“DCWP”), in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (“MOIA”), the New York City Commission on Human Rights (“NYCCHR”), and community and labor organizations, to create and publish a workers’ bill of rights.
Continue Reading New York City Employers Must Display Workers’ Bill of Rights Poster Beginning July 1, 2024

On March 8, 2024, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas dealt a serious blow to the National Labor Relations Board’s (the “Board”) efforts to further increase the reach of the National Labor Relations Act (“the NLRA”). Judge J. Campbell Barker struck down a final rule issued by the Board that would have drastically broadened the standard the Board applies to determine when employers are joint-employers for the purposes of federal labor law. The blow was delivered three days before the rule was set to take effect on March 11, 2024 following a 14-day
Continue Reading Federal Judge’s Decision Deals Serious Blow to NLRB’s Joint Employer Rule and Continued Efforts to Expand Who Constitutes an Employer Under the NLRA

In Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, the case’s second appearance before the California Supreme Court in two years, the Supreme Court confirmed that an employer does not incur civil penalties for failing to report unpaid wages, or any other required information on a wage statement, if the employer reasonably believed that it was providing a complete accurate wage statement.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Confirms the “Knowing and Intentional” Standard of California’s Wage Statement Law Requires a “Knowing and Intentional” Violation

On April 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published its Final Rule clarifying the rights of employees to designate a non-employee representative to be present during workplace inspections. Notably, the designated non-employee representative may “accompany” the OSHA investigator during the physical walkaround portion of the inspection but may not “participate” in the inspection. The Final Rule will become effective May 31, 2024.
Continue Reading OSHA Issues Final Rule Clarifying an Employee’s Ability to Have a Non-Employee Representative Present During Inspection

Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently signed Senate Bill 5935 into law, amending and expanding Washington’s statute restricting the enforceability of noncompetition covenants (Revised Code of Washington 49.2). The amended statute, effective June 6, 2024 and enacted to “facilitat[e] workforce mobility and protect[] employees and independent contractors,” follows a growing trend among states restricting the enforceability of noncompetition covenants and creates additional considerations for employers entering into non-compete agreements with Washington-based employees.
Continue Reading Washington’s Amended Non-Compete Law Creates New Considerations for Employers

On May 14, 2024, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted a petition for interim injunctive relief under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) that was filed by the Regional Director for Region One. Among other things, the court’s order required I.N.S.A, a cannabis company (the “Employer”) to: 1) immediately recognize and bargain collectively with United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 1445 (the “Union”) as the collective bargaining representative of its employees even though a majority of workers voted against unionizing; and 2) rehire two pro-union employees who were terminated during the
Continue Reading U.S. District Court Grants 10(j) Injunctive Relief and Requires Employer to Bargain With Union That Lost Secret Ballot Election

On May 16, 2024, the United States Supreme Court resolved a circuit split regarding whether Section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) provides trial courts the discretion to dismiss a lawsuit when all claims are subject to arbitration. In Smith v. Spizzirri, a unanimous Court ruled trial courts do not have discretion to dismiss a lawsuit that involves an arbitrable dispute, and must instead stay the proceedings.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules Trial Courts Must Stay, Not Dismiss, Lawsuits During Arbitration

On May 10, 2024, the Ninth Circuit decided Yuriria Diaz v. Macy’s West Stores, after the employer appealed the district court’s decision ordering arbitration of both an employee’s individual and non-individual claims under the California Private Attorney Generals Act (PAGA). The Ninth Circuit held that even though the arbitration agreement made no mention of PAGA, an employee’s individual PAGA claim was still subject to arbitration because the parties’ intended to arbitrate all employment disputes between them. However the non-individual PAGA claims were not arbitrable, because the parties did not consent to arbitration of those claims.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rules That Only Individual PAGA Claims Can Be Compelled to Arbitration

On May 8, 2024, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) issued a decision reversing a 2021 decision the Board previously vacated after former Board Member William Emanuel, who participated in the ruling, was found to have broken ethics rules by failing to recuse himself from the case. In the decision, the Board held that George Washington University Hospital (“GW Hospital”) violated the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) by unilaterally withdrawing its recognition of a union and refusing to bargain in good faith. See The George Washington Univ. Hosp., L.P., 373 NLRB No. 55 (2024).
Continue Reading NLRB Finds GW Hospital Failed to Bargain in Good Faith in Reversal of Vacated Decision

On April 26, 2024, Ctrl Alt Destroy, Inc. (“CAD”), a California Corporation and cannabis licensee filed a lawsuit against Nicole Elliott in her official capacity as Director of the State of California’s Department of Cannabis Control (“DCC”) and Rob Bonta in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of California, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) is unconstitutional under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution and is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).
Continue Reading Cannabis Operator Challenges California State Statute and Regulations Requiring Labor Peace Agreements

Federal law establishes minimum wage and overtime requirements for non-exempt employees. These rules do not apply to individuals who qualify under the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”). Individuals only qualify as exempt if they meet specified requirements that include a salary level test, among other rules.
Continue Reading New DOL Exemption Rule Requires Two-Step Salary Increases Under FLSA for Exempt Employees

Effective as of March 20, 2024, New York City law permits “any person” to initiate a private right of action for violations of the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (“ESSTA”). The new law amends Section 20-924 of the New York City Administrative Code and allows employees to file a lawsuit alleging a violation of ESSTA within two years of the date the employee knew or should have known about the alleged violation.
Continue Reading NYC Permits Private Right of Action for Earned Safe and Sick Time Violations

Through Board decisions, rule making, and NLRB General Counsel’s (“GC”) memoranda, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “the Board”) continues to expand the potential penalties for employers found to have committed unfair labor practices (“ULP”). The shift toward an employee-friendly enforcement scheme has continued with GC Jennifer Abruzzo’s latest memorandum, issued on April 8, 2024, wherein the GC stated her desire to expand the availability of remedies for violations of labor law to even those employees who did not file, or are not identified in, ULP charges. 
Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Issues New Memo Further Expanding Penalties for Unfair Labor Practice Violations

On April 17, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a decades-old circuit split regarding what amount of harm a plaintiff must demonstrate to bring an employment discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”). In Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, a unified Court ruled that a plaintiff need only show “some”—and not “significant”—harm from an employment decision to plead and prove employment discrimination under Title VII. Before Muldrow, a number of appellate courts dismissed transfer-based Title VII claims unless the plaintiff could show that the transfer resulted in “significant” harm. The Supreme Court rejected that standard
Continue Reading Supreme Court Eases Burden for Title VII Plaintiffs Challenging Transfer Decisions

In 2022, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Time to Care Act of 2022 (the “Act”), setting up a paid family and medical leave program for Maryland employees. Through Family and Medical Leave Insurance (“FAMLI”), eligible Maryland employees may receive up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for the various reasons detailed below. FAMLI will be funded by both employer and employee contributions. Though eligible employees are not able to draw from the fund until January 1, 2026, required contributions are currently scheduled to begin on October 1, 2024. Therefore, Maryland employers should begin planning for implementation
Continue Reading Maryland Paid Family Leave Employer Contributions Begin This Year – What Employers Need to Know and Expect