LIEB BLOG

How current events impact business & real estate

Showing posts with label employer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label employer. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Employers Required to Provide Employees Notice of Electronical Monitoring Beginning May 7, 2022


Starting May 7, 2022, if you wish to electronically monitor your employees, you will need to provide statutory notice first.


On November 8, 2021, Governor Hochul signed Bill A430 into law, which amends Section 52-c to the Civil Rights Law, and starting on May 7, 2022, employers with a place of business in New York who monitor or otherwise tap telephone calls, e-mails, or internet access of an employee by any electronic device or system, must give prior written notice upon hiring to all employees. Additionally, each employer must also post the notice of electronic monitoring in a visible place which is readily available for viewing by its employees.

 

Any employer found to be in violation of this Bill will be subject to a maximum penalty of $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second offense, and $3,000 for the third and each subsequent offense.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Court Rules Short Term Injuries Now Qualify As Disabilities Under ADA

Many more disability lawsuits are anticipated after the 2nd Circuit ruled that temporary injuries qualify as disabilities under ADA. 


An injury that only lasts 19 days can constitute a qualifying disability for purposes of a failure-to-accommodate claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Hamilton v. Westchester Cnty


For background, disabled individuals have a legal right to demand a reasonable accommodation from rules, policies, and procedures so that they can have equal access to public services, enjoyment of property, and opportunities at work. 


When disabled individuals are denied rightfully requested accommodations, lawsuits happen for big $$. 


When disabled individuals aren't provided with a forum to negotiate an accommodation, known as the interactive process, lawsuits happen for big $$. 


When disabled individuals aren't even provided with an opportunity to request an accommodation in the first place (such as by a form or notice), lawsuits happen for big $$. 


Simply, disability discrimination law is a really big deal, with big numbers at stake, to employers and property owners / managers. In fact, 26% of US adults have some sort of disability according to the CDC. As a result, every employer and property owner / manager must understand this new change in the law. 


Before this case, it was unclear in the Second Circuit, which controls NY, CT, & VT, whether an individual with a short-term disability from an injury could qualify for an accommodation under the law. 


Now, we know that they qualify. 


While the case before the Circuit Court was about an inmate at the Westchester County Jail, who claimed a denial of an opportunity to participate in or benefit from services, programs, or activities, under Title II of the ADA, the takeaway is that temporary disabilities can trigger the protections of the ADA under all three of its Titles, including:

  • Title I - Employment & Hiring
  • Title II - Public Services, Programs, & Activities
  • Title III - Public Accommodations (i.e., commercial property & websites) 


It is clear that the Circuit Court intended all three Titles to apply to temporary disabilities because it expressly based its decision on the 2008 ADA Amendments Act, which broadened the definition of "disability" under the ADA to include temporary or Transitory injuries. In so reasoning, the Circuit Court pointed to 28 CFR 25.108(d)(ix) (i.e., the regulations to the ADA) to find that a "'disability' shorter than six months in duration now can be actionable under the ADA." 


Now, all employers, property owners, brokers, property managers, and governmental officials in NY, CT, & VT better adjust their policies and afford rights to those disabled from injuries (even really short-term injuries) or they are going to get sued?


Have you ever been denied your rights to have policies adjusted to enable you to have the full enjoyment of life, which was otherwise problematic because of your disability?

Shouldn't disabled people be given every benefit to fully enjoy life?

This is good law.




Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Are Your Staff Employees or Independent Contractors? A New Regulation Answers The Question

During the last two weeks of his Presidency, Trump's Department of Labor just revised the test for whether an individual is an independent contractor or employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 


This is significant because employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime whereas independent contractors are not. 


If an employer misclassifies a staff member as an independent contractor when such staff member should be classified an employee, it can result in a devastating blow to the employer who will be exposed to statutory penalties, back pay, attorneys' fees and more. 


Now, Trump's government is using the "economic reality" test to determine employee status. 


According to the government, "the ultimate inquiry is whether, as a matter of economic reality, the worker is dependent on a particular individual, business, or organization for work (and is thus and employee) or is in business for him- or herself (and is thus an an independent contractor)." 


Under this test, the Department of Labor or a Court hearing the case will look to five distinct factors to answer the test. However, two of those factors now have more probative value in answering the question than the rest. These two key factors are:

  1. The nature and degree of the worker's control over the work; and
  2. The worker's opportunity for profit or loss. 

The other factors, of less importance, are:
  1. The amount of skill required for the work;
  2. The degree of permanence of the working relationship between the individual and the potential employer; and 
  3. Whether the work is a part of an integrated unit of production.
Regardless, employers better take note of this change and analyze their staff's true work to ascertain if they are classified properly. If this is too much, you better hire a consultant to do the job NOW.
 

Here's a question

While the government argued in support of this new test by pointing to the need for clarity for business, is this the time to tax companies with new rules in the middle of a pandemic where small businesses are closing every day? 

More so, with a change in the Presidency less than two weeks away, will Biden just change this back next month? 

This new regulation isn't effective until March 8, 2021, so Biden could theoretically undo it before it even takes off. 

Should he? 



Tuesday, March 24, 2020

What Happens When You Ignore the Essential Services Executive Order

Beyond injuring others and being a terrible person, have you looked-up the exposure for violating Executive Order 202.8.

To remind you, 202.8 is what provides, in pertinent part, that "[e]ach employer shall reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 100% no later than March 22 at 8 p.m."

As to exposure for violating 202.8, it provides that "[a]ny business violating the above order shall be subject to enforcement as if this were a violation of an order pursuant to section 12 of the Public Health Law." Then, section 12 of the Public Health Law provides for "a civil penalty of not to exceed two thousand dollars for every such violation" for the first violation and a penalty "not to exceed five thousand dollars for a subsequent violation." However, if your violation "results in serious physical harm to any patient or patients, the penalty is "not to exceed ten thousand dollars."

So, if you infect someone, you are getting charged with a $10K penalty per violation.

Oh, by the way, the State can also get an injunction against your continued violations and potentially shut down your business, remote or otherwise, with that injunction.

Don't be crazy and ignore the order. Instead, if you believe you are essential, apply for a designation here.






Monday, September 30, 2019

NYC: Using the Word "Alien" Could Result In $250,000 Fine

More discrimination lawsuits are on the horizon in NYC based upon the City's Commission of Human Rights new enforcement guidelines concerning immigration status and national origin.

Landlords, merchants, and employers now face up to $250,000 in fines for using terms and phrases like "illegal alien", "alien", and "speak english" when used in the context meant to demean, humiliate, or offend.

In their press release, the NYC Commission of Human Rights provided hypothetical examples of discriminatory behavior, including:
  • Harassing a restaurant patron because of their accent;
  • Refusing repairs on a unit occupied by an immigrant family and threatening to call ICE if they complain;
  • Paying a lower wage or withholding wages to workers because of their immigration status; and
  • Harassing a store customer by telling them to stop speaking their language and demanding they speak English.

*ATTENTION LANDLORDS AND EMPLOYERS* - your teams must be trained in the different forms of discrimination and harassment to avoid fines, lawsuits, and bad publicity.



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Have you been the victim of employment discrimination?

Attention Employees - Have you faced inferior terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of your age, race, creed, color, national original, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, or because you have opposed discrimination at work?

Did you know that you only need to prove that this discrimination rises above what a reasonable victim of discrimination with the same protected characteristic would consider petty slights or trivial inconveniences to win your claim?

Did you know that you can recover lost wages?
Are you aware that you can be reinstated into your job?
Better yet, did you know that your employer could be required to pay you punitive damages (punishment)?

Guess what? Courts have been directed to award you reasonable attorney's fees if you win. This means that your employer's exposure goes up the entire time that they are defending the claim - it's a huge motivation for your employer to settle with you quickly.

Yesterday, 8/12/19, you were given a voice by the Governor - it's time for you to use that voice and speak up to end discrimination in the workplace.