September 2017 Employment Law Update



How Long Has It Been Since You Conducted Discrimination And Harassment Training?

Many employers, large and small, do not conduct discrimination and harassment training on a regular basis (or at all.) The reasons are varied (e.g., too busy, loss of employee work time, cost, never been sued/never received an internal complaint of harassment or discrimination, etc.) The failure to conduct such training can be a costly mistake. Discrimination and harassment training offers many benefits to employers such as placing employees on notice of what is appropriate workplace behavior. It also helps ensure that your management personnel on the frontline know how to handle the many varied workplace scenarios that can result in a claim if not handled properly. Probably most important however is the fact that such training offers significant defenses to the employer should a lawsuit or a regulatory investigation arise. Conversely, the lack of such training will be used against the employer in any such action. It is recommended that employers hold these trainings annually and that they document such training.


New York City To Prohibit Discrimination Against Veterans And Service Members

On November 17, 2017, an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) will take place that creates a new protected class: veterans and military service members. This category will include everything from the United States Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines to the National Guard and the “organized militia of the State of New York or any other state.” Notably, these groups already have protections under certain federal and state laws (e.g., the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, the New York State Human Rights Law and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.)

Obama Era Attempts To Expand Overtime Regulations Comes To An End

As reported in our prior Employment Law Updates, since August 31, 2016 an injunction has been in place barring implementation of the Obama era regulations that sought to more than double the minimum salary that must be paid for an employee to be deemed exempt from overtime (i.e., from $455 to $913 per week.) Under Former President Obama, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) filed an appeal seeking to overturn that injunction; however, under the Trump administration the DOL requested the appeal be withdrawn and on September 6, 2017 the appellate court granted that request. The dismissal of the appeal effectively renders the Obama era regulations unenforceable. Although the DOL may still modify the overtime regulations, given the pro-business posture of the Trump administration, any such modifications are likely to be much less expansive than what was sought by the Obama administration.