The New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act imposes severe penalties on employers who do not comply.
In the past, section 195 of the New York Labor Law required employers to notify new employees of their pay rate overtime rate and payday. The new act greatly expands that requirement. It also requires that employees be given written notice of any change in terms of wages at least seven days in advance. In addition, it increases the damages for unpaid wages from 25% to 100% and imposes fines of up to $20,000 on employers for wage violations. Apr
Starting on April 9, 2011, New York employers will be required to provide notices to current employees each year. Even more restrictive, the state requires that the notices be in English and in any language that the employee designates as his or her primary language. Apparently, that means if an employee claims Navaho or Klingon is his primary language, the employer must furnish a copy in Navaho or Klingon.
Those notices must include:
· Whether the employee’s wages are based on the hour, week, shift, day, commission, piece rate or salary basis – or another basis.
· The employee’s (more…)
The Maryland Healthy Retail Employee Act is the state’s first law requiring meal and rest breaks for workers in certain occupations. The law went into effect on March 1, 2011 and covers retail stores with 50 or more workers. It does not cover restaurants or wholesale dealers. The law also excludes mail-order or Internet sales businesses when more than 50% of sales occur without the customer physically present in the store.
The law also requires shorter 15-minute breaks under some conditions. A Maryland retail employee who works a shift of 4 to 6 hours is entitled to a non-working break of at least 15 minutes, but is not entitled to a 30-minute break.
An employee who works 8 or more hours must be given the 30-minute break plus a non-working break of 15 minutes for every four additional consecutive hours. For example, an employee who works 16 consecutive hours must be given the 30-minute break, plus two 15-minute non-working breaks.
Under the federal FLSA, employees are entitled to payment for any break that is less than 20 minutes, so the 15-minute breaks must be paid.
Corporate employees or office employees who do not work on the sales floor are not included in the total number of employees. A company that had 49 sales clerks and one office manager would not be covered by the law. However, stores that have several locations must count all the employees in the state to determine if they have 50 retail employees.
The new break law is enforced by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation or DLLR, with fines starting at $300 per employee.
There are two exceptions under the new Maryland break law: (more…)
With the economy gradually improving, many employers are thinking about rehiring laid-off workers. Having clear rehire guidelines is critical to avoiding lawsuits for discrimination and wrongful termination. A positive, well-documented rehire process can also foster employee loyalty and increase employee morale.
In February 2011, businesses created an additional 192,000 jobs. Leaders in the employment increase were factories, business services, education, professional services and health care. Jobs were lost in the retail industry, and in state and local governments.
An employer who will rehire workers needs to have a clear, objective selection method in place. The employer should assume that she will have to explain the rehire criteria to a judge or the EEOC to defend herself against a charge of discrimination.
A collective bargaining agreement may specify which employees will be rehired. In the absence of such an agreement, the employer must make fair decisions according to attorney Wayne Pinkstone with Fisher & Philips of Philadelphia.
Many employees assume that workers will be recalled based on seniority, (more…)
The EEOC reports that 2011 is on track to exceed the record number of retaliation lawsuits set in 2010. Last year, the EEOC collected more money than ever before from employers charged with retaliation after a complaint was filed.
In a recent ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that employee Eric Thompson was protected from retaliation by his employer, even when the complaint was filed by his fiancée. Thompson, an engineer, was fired from North American Stainless LP three weeks after his fiancée filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC.
Initially, the 6th Circuit Court of Appealsdetermined that Thompson had no protection under Title VII because he was not the person who filed the complaint. Thompson had a workplace romance with coworker Miriam Regalado. Their engagement was well known within the company before Regalado filed the discrimination complaint with the EEOC.
In a rare unanimous decision, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s ruling. The justices found that earlier court rulings set a very broad definition of retaliation as “any action that would discourage a reasonable person from filing a complaint.” Penalizing a spouse, family member or other third party would fall into that category, according to the court. Read about the ruling here.
Updated federal labor law posters for 2011 such as the federal minimum wage poster, the “Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law” poster and the worker safety poster affect employers in other states as well.
Employers across the nation can be fined for not prominently displaying required labor law posters in the workplace, where all employees can see them. Employees who fail to do so can be subject to fines and penalties.
One of the best ways for busy employers and HR professionals to remain in compliance with employment poster requirements is to subscribe to a reputable labor law poster service. The poster service will deliver durable, high-quality laminated posters each time a federal or state poster is updated.
Other poster updates are specific to the state of California, including updated versions of the California minimum wage poster, the employee polygraph poster and “Your Rights under USERRA (Veterans Benefits).”
In addition, some California employers are required to display additional posters in 2011. Employers who (more…)