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ten most recent state employment law articles Ten Most Recent State Law Articles

New York State Supreme Court Finds 24-Hour Home Care Attendants Must be Paid for Sleep and Meal Periods

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 26, 2015
The New York State Department of Labor ("NY DOL") has consistently enforced the New York Labor Law ("NYLL") as permitting third-party employers of 24-hour home care attendants to pay their employees for 13 hours of a 24-hour shift, provided the employee is afforded eight hours of sleep, five of which are uninterrupted, and three uninterrupted hours for meals.1 A recent decision by the New York State Supreme Court (the highest trial-level court for civil cases in the New York state court system) has rejected the NY DOL's interpretation of the NYLL and refused to find binding a New York federal court decision that relied on a 2010 NY DOL Opinion Letter addressing wage practices for home care attendants.2 Instead, in Andryeyeva v. New York Home Attendant Agency, the New York state court found that sleep and meal periods must not be excluded from the hourly wages of a home attendant who does not "reside" in the home of his or her client, and certified a class action of over 1,000 home care attendants who worked 24-hour shifts.3 There are additional cases raising these same issues pending in the New York state court, including at least one other filed by the same plaintiff's firm.4 Therefore, home care agencies operating in New York are at risk of copy-cat litigation and should be diligent with their pay practices.

NY Ethics Opinion Provides Guidance for LinkedIn Users

Goldberg Segalla LLP • March 26, 2015
LinkedIn is perhaps the go to social media site for professionals seeking to promote their achievements and build their brand. LinkedIn has carved a niche within the social media landscape by integrating networking capabilities with the specific needs of professionals hoping to build relationships. Of course, the site also allows users to “endorse” a connection for certain practice areas or to write recommendations as to the user’s skill-set. It is this component of the site that has generated professional ethics issues and opinions. Moreover, the distinction between permissible networking and improper advertising is not always well defined. The NY County Lawyers Association Professional Ethics Committee recently published a formal ethics opinion that provides guidance to attorneys using sites such as LinkedIn.

Attorney General Madigan Finds "Right to Work Zones" Preempted by Federal Law

Franczek Radelet P.C • March 26, 2015
Last Friday, Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued an opinion finding that Illinois counties, municipalities, and other local governments cannot pass local “right to work” ordinances because they are preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). State Senator Gary Forby, Chair of the Senate Labor Committee, and State Representative Jay Hoffman, Chair of the House Labor & Commerce Committee, requested the opinion. The Attorney General found that the NLRA only permits statewide right to work legislation rather than the “empowerment zones” proposed by Governor Rauner, which would allow local governments to enact right to work ordinances within their geographic boundaries.

Tennessee Legislature Approves New Employment Protections for Handgun Owners

FordHarrison LLP • March 26, 2015
Executive summary: On March 23, 2015, members in both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to pass new employment protections for handgun owners. The bill creates a private right of action for any employee who is terminated solely for storing a firearm or ammunition in the employee's vehicle while parked in the employer's parking lot. This legislation, which now awaits the Governor's signature, represents yet another outgrowth of the controversial "Guns in Trunks" legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2013.

How to Comply with D.C. Wage Theft Amendment Act

Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 24, 2015
The D.C. Wage Amendment Act’s broad changes to the District of Columbia’s wage and hour laws greatly increases employer obligations, potential penalties, and liability, while creating a cumbersome administrative hearing process in order vindicate their rights.

PAYING FOR ON-CALL AND SLEEP TIME

Shaw Valenza LLP • March 23, 2015
When non-exempt employees are performing their “regular” duties, employers typically understand their responsibility to pay for the time. But in some circumstances, it is unclear whether an employee’s time is compensable. Recently, in Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc., the California Supreme Court addressed two such situations: on-call time and sleep time.

New FLSA Overtime Exemption Regulations Still Under Consideration By Department of Labor

Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • March 23, 2015
Earlier this week, Secretary of Labor Perez announced that her agency is still working hard on revising the regulations governing the existing white collar overtime exemptions. These regulations were originally expected to be published in early 2015. However, that did not happen. Secretary Perez now expects that the regulations will be finalized and published this spring.

Ex Parte Restaining Order Issued on Behalf of Bovine-Serum Maker Against Former Employee Using Trade Secrets in Competing Business

Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 23, 2015
The District of Colorado has granted an employer’s ex parte motion for a temporary restraining order against its former employee and has barred the employee from using trade secrets and proprietary information in his competing business. Atlas Biologicals, Inc. v Kutrubes, et al, No 15-cv-00355-CMA-MEH (D. Colo. March 3, 2015). The TRO was extended due to scheduling issues on March 12, 2015.

Missouri Federal Court Reminds Employers that Non-Compete Agreements are not Automatically Assignable

Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 23, 2015
The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri has declined to enforce two employment agreements containing non-competition covenants because the employees who signed them had not contemporaneously assented to their assignment when their employer sold its assets to another company. Symphony Diagnostic Services No. 1, Inc. d/b/a MobileXUSA v. Greenbaum, No. 13-4196 (W.D. Mo. March 16, 2015). This case involved application of Missouri law pertaining to the assignability of non-competition agreements.

The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico Clarifies Employer Obligations to Eradicate Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 23, 2015
The Puerto Rico Supreme Court recently held that, in fulfilling their obligation to prevent, prohibit and eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace, employers may adopt rules and regulations that go beyond the requirements of Law No. 17 of April 22, 1988 (“Law 17”), which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. In doing so, the Supreme Court clarified that an employer is not required to establish a prima facie case of sexual harassment under Law 17 to be able to terminate an employee for violating its sexual harassment policy.