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

Amendments to New York's Wage Theft Prevention Act: A Double-Edged Sword for Employers

FordHarrison LLP • January 23, 2015
Executive Summary: On December 29, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that amends the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act (the "Act"). While the amendments relieve New York employers from some administrative burdens, that is where the good news ends for employers.

New York State Eliminates Annual Wage Notice

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP • January 23, 2015
On Dec. 29, 2014, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that amends the New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act (the “Wage Theft Act”) in various aspects, including eliminating the annual wage notices that employers were previously required to provide to employees in January each year. Employers must still provide employees with the wage theft notice at the time of hire and when information in the notice changes. Although the amendments will not go into effect until Feb. 27, 2015, the New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”) has announced it will not be enforcing the annual notice requirement for 2015. Accordingly, employers will not be required to distribute annual wage notices to employees this year.

California Supreme Court Decision Barring Waiver of Representative Claims is Left Intact by U.S. Supreme Court

Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 23, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review the California Supreme Court’s decision that representative claims under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) cannot be waived in employment arbitration agreements. Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (Cal. 2014), cert. denied, No. 14-341 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2015).

Massachusetts Employers Now Required to Grant Parental Leave to Men and Women (PDF)

Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP • January 23, 2015
Massachusetts has revised the state’s maternity leave law, giving men and women the same rights to take 8 weeks of parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child. The amended law, An Act Relative to Parental Leave, expands the scope of the Massachusetts maternity leave law, M.G.L. c. 149, Sec. 105D, and changes language in the state’s anti-discrimination law, M.G.L. c. 151B sec. 4(11A), making both laws gender neutral. Governor Deval Patrick signed the new law the day before he left office. The law will take effect on April 7, 2015, 90 days after its enactment.

Employer Violated Wisconsin FMLA When it Terminated Unauthorized Worker who Took Medical Leave

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • January 22, 2015
A Wisconsin court of appeals was not swayed by a recent argument that an employer did not violate the Wisconsin FMLA when the employer terminated an employee returning from medical leave for lacking work authorization. In Burlington Graphic Systems, Inc. v. Department of Workforce Development, Appeal No. 2014AP762, an undocumented employee, Karen Alvarez, of Burlington Graphic Systems took one week of leave after surgery. When Alvarez returned to work, the company terminated her employment for unexcused absences. The employee then filed a complaint against the company with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The Department found probable cause that the Wisconsin FMLA had been violated and set a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The company rehired the employee prior to the hearing, and required her to complete a Form I-9 as a new hire. Alvarez could not produce documents proving she was authorized to work so Burlington, as a result the company terminated her employment.

California Legislative Update for 2015 – Notable Changes

Vedder Price • January 22, 2015
As in recent years, California remained a hotbed of legislative action in the labor and employment field. The legislature passed several new laws and amended many others in significant ways. With changes taking effect on January 1, 2015, unless otherwise stated below, employers are encouraged to review their policies and practices to ensure compliance. Below is a summary of many of the most notable changes coming in 2015:

California High Court Rules Sleep Time is Compensable Hours Worked

Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 21, 2015
Holding that “hours worked” under California Labor Code and Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) Wage Order No. 4-2001 (“Wage Order 4”) include all time spent at the employer’s workplace and under the employer’s control, such as sleep time, the California Supreme Court has ruled that security guards were entitled to compensation for all on-call time, including sleep time. Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc. et al., No. S212704 (Cal. Jan. 8, 2015). Significantly, the Court refused to incorporate into Wage Order 4 the federal regulation allowing exclusion of sleep time from hours worked and disapproved prior California case law applying the federal regulation to employees working 24-hour shifts.

New Jersey High Court Endorses Worker-Friendly Test for Employment-Status Disputes under State Wage Laws

Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 21, 2015
The New Jersey Supreme Court has held “that the ‘ABC’ test derived from the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Act, N.J.S.A. 43:21-19(i)(6), governs whether [an individual] is an employee or independent contractor for purposes of resolving a wage-payment or wage-and-hour claim.” Hargrove v. Sleepy’s, LLC, No. A-70-12 (Jan. 14, 2015).

DC's Amended Wage Theft Prevention Act Expands Employer Penalties and Imposes New Notice Requirements

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • January 21, 2015
The District of Columbia is set to implement the Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act of 2014 (the "Act"), a measure broad in scope that amends several existing D.C. laws. Notably, the Act amends D.C.'s wage payment and collection laws, minimum wage law, and the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008. The Act enhances remedies, fines, and administrative penalties when an employer fails to pay earned wages, and includes new anti-retaliation provisions and a written notice requirement that will affect all D.C. employers. According to the D.C. Council's web site, the Act is slated to go into effect on February 26, 2015, when a 30-day period provided to permit congressional review of the law will expire.

New Year’s Resolutions for the California HR Manager

Ogletree Deakins • January 19, 2015
So what’s it going to be for 2015? Get up and run three miles every morning? Finally pay off those credit cards? Learn to speak French? Before you finish the list of New Year’s resolutions, consider adding a few on the human resources front. Below are a few recommendations for HR leaders—the payoff will be much better than losing 10 pounds (again). Pick a few and knock them off early in the year, and call it a good start.