Robert Bernstein

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2019 Employment Law Snapshot: New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

In 2019, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania each enacted substantial legislation affecting companies that employ individuals in those states. This GT Alert provides a summary of the most significant of these legislative changes and will help employers stay abreast of the changes relevant to their businesses. Please note that the laws described extend protections to … Continue Reading

Attention New York Employers: When It Comes to Workplace Harassment, Times Are Changing

On August 12, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed new legislation amending the New York State Human Rights Law (the “NYSHRL”), changing the State law’s previous adherence to certain fundamental principles of federal law concerning employment harassment generally, including the standard for determining employer liability for “hostile work environment” discrimination claims and the availability … Continue Reading

Recapping the Many Legal Developments Affecting Private Employers in New York and New Jersey, So Far, in 2019

There have been many significant developments in the first half of 2019 impacting private employers in New York and New Jersey. Federal, state, and local legislatures and agencies have been particularly busy in the employment arena, promulgating sweeping laws and regulations affecting a broad range of well-entrenched employment practices. For instance, New Jersey adopted prohibitions … Continue Reading

Recapping the Many Legislative Developments Affecting Private Employers in New York and New Jersey, So Far, in 2018

There have been many significant legislative developments over the past year which have and will affect private employers in New York and New Jersey. Federal, state, and local legislatures have been busy in the employment arena, promulgating rules and regulations affecting a broad range of well-entrenched employment practices. For instance, in New Jersey, pending legislation … Continue Reading

New Jersey Adopts State-Wide Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

Earlier this month, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a much-anticipated state-wide paid sick leave law.  The law, which will go into effect Oct. 29, 2018, requires all New Jersey employers – regardless of size – to provide paid sick leave to their employees, whether full- or part-time.  Notably, while dubbed the “paid sick leave … Continue Reading

New Jersey Legislation Raises the Stakes in Unequal Pay Claims

Last week, the New Jersey Legislature passed a high profile bill proposing sweeping amendments to New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD). The most noteworthy amendments are designed to broaden LAD’s protections against alleged discriminatory pay practices. If Governor Murphy signs the bill into law, as is almost certain, New Jersey’s equal pay law will be … Continue Reading

GT’s Labor & Employment Law Update 2017

The past year saw many significant developments in the area of labor and employment law at all levels of government. Simply by way of example, new legislation imposed additional obligations on employers that operate in New Jersey and New York; federal Courts of Appeals “clarified” standards applicable to workplace discrimination claims; and under the Trump … Continue Reading

Court Invalidates DOL Overtime Rule, Holds Increased Salary Test is Contrary to Congressional Intent and Exceeds DOL Authority

On Nov. 22, 2016, a Texas federal court stayed implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule amendment which would have roughly doubled the minimum salary threshold for many employees to be considered exempt from federal overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  On Aug. 31, 2017, the same court declared that … Continue Reading

Third Circuit ‘Clarifies’ that a Single Racial Slur May be Sufficiently ‘Severe’ to Create a Hostile Work Environment

Characterizing its own precedent as “inconsistent” and “confusing,” the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, in a published opinion earlier this month, undertook to “clarify” the “correct standard” for establishing  a hostile work environment claim under federal anti-discrimination law (in particular, Title VII). Castleberry v. STI Group, No. 16-3131. To state such a claim, plaintiffs must … Continue Reading

New York City to Prohibit Employer Inquiries into Salary History

On May 4, 2017, New York City amended its Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to join the growing number of municipalities that prohibit employers from inquiring about applicants’ wage history. Ostensibly designed to “help break the cycle of gender pay inequity[,]” this new restriction may open employers to yet another theory the plaintiffs’ bar can seek … Continue Reading

Employer’s Honest Belief Sufficient to Defeat FMLA Retaliation Claim

In a welcome decision to employers, the Third Circuit decided last week, for the first time, that an employer’s mere “honest belief” that an employee misused FMLA leave is sufficient to defeat a retaliation claim. As an employee claiming retaliation for using protected FMLA leave must prove that the very exercise of that right was a … Continue Reading

Court Stays DOL Overtime Rule, Holds Increased Salary Test Impermissibly ‘Supplants’ Duties Tests

The proposed overtime rules will not go into effect on Dec. 1. In a closely-watched case brought by 21 states (and joined by numerous business organizations) challenging the Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule amendment which would have roughly doubled the minimum salary threshold for many employees to be considered exempt from federal overtime requirements (set … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Espouses Fact-Sensitive Inquiries in Considering Joint Employer Liability and Compensation for Meal Periods: What Employers Can Do to Brighten the Lines

In a pair of published opinions, raising novel employment issues in this Circuit, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the test for determining whether a “temporary” worker is an “employee” eligible to assert Title VII claims against the company which contracts their services, and the test for determining whether time spent on meal breaks … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Rejects Telecommuting Demand from Employee

In an important “win” for employers that has potentially widespread implications, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, reinstated summary judgment dismissing claims asserted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that Ford Motor Company failed to accommodate a former employee’s request under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to telecommute up to … Continue Reading

New York City Extends Human Rights Law to Pregnant Women with ‘Pregnant Workers Fairness Act’

With Zachary N. Klein and Michael J. Slocum. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, scheduled to go into effect on January 29, 2014, requires employers in New York City to provide their pregnant employees with “reasonable accommodations” for their pregnancies or related medical conditions. Employers in the City of New York should prepare by considering pregnancy‐related conditions … Continue Reading

New Jersey Federal Court Cautions Employers When Responding to Even Routine Demand Letters

Though it has long been a common practice for in-house counsel to respond to routine (and not so routine) demand letters, a recent New Jersey District Court decision should cause in-house counsel serious concern when doing so in the future. In Bourhill v. Sprint Nextel Corp., the Court allowed into evidence a portion of a letter written by an in-house attorney, prior to the action’s commencement, explaining why counsel’s position was factually meritless, but offering to entertain counsel’s invitation to resolve the matter so as to avoid litigation (the Court opinion is attached for your convenience). And this decision affects in-house counsel’s exchanges not only in the employment context, but also extends to all litigation.… Continue Reading

After Nearly 25 Years, New Jersey Appellate Court Provides ‘Sobering’ Guidance to Employers Respecting Workplace Alcoholism

On October 26, New Jersey’s Appellate Division held in A.D.P. v. ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Co. that a private-sector, non-union employer’s blanket policy requiring any employee returning from an alcohol rehabilitation program to submit to random alcohol testing, applicable only to those identified as being “alcoholic” and divorced from any individualized assessment of the employee’s performance, was facially discriminatory under the Law Against Discrimination (LAD) — a conclusion that would likely be the same under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). … Continue Reading
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