As we communicated in our previous advisory, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued new Disability Claims Procedures rules. The original effective date of these rules was extended with the result that the new rules are now effective April 1, 2018.

The new rules are not limited to disability plans. They also apply

Last week the EEOC released its annual report breaking down charges received during the fiscal year. In fiscal year 2017, the agency received 84,254 charges and took in $398 million between voluntary resolutions and litigation.

What’s striking is the number of retaliation charges – with 41,097 charges it is an overwhelming 48.8% of total charges

At the end of 2017, President Trump signed into law The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Act”) that includes significant changes in the employee benefits area, most of which became effective on January 1, 2018. The following is a brief description of some of the notable changes, and we expect additional guidance on many

Take action now to meet the new policy, training, and certification requirements.

Beginning January 1, 2018, Illinois lobbyists and their employers must comply with new sexual harassment compliance rules. Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law Public Act 100-0554 (the Act) to combat sexual harassment in the state legislature. The Act imposes sweeping new requirements on lobbyists even if they are the victims. Press reports detail a number of allegations involving legislators, including some made by lobbyists and activists. One allegation forced the Senate majority leader to step-down from his post. In addition, hundreds of women signed an open letter to bring attention to this pattern of abuse in the state capitol. It appears that discussion of sexual harassment will continue into 2018.

Before the Act, only the Legislative Inspector General could investigate allegations of legislators’ sexual misconduct. That position, however, has been vacant since 2014. Notably, more than two dozen allegations sat uninvestigated on an empty desk. Now, state law authorizes the Secretary of State Inspector General to investigate allegations and the State Executive Ethics Commission to enforce the rules. The legislature, in policing itself, requires lobbyist employers to follow much the same requirements as state agencies in combatting sexual harassment.

Kelley Drye has followed this issue closely and is advising clients on proactive steps they can take to prevent sexual harassment. Stopping the “Harveys in our midst” before they can harm our colleagues or our businesses is more important than ever before. Relying on a generic HR sexual harassment policy is not enough. Employers—not just their registered lobbyists—face new requirements with only weeks to comply.
Continue Reading New Sexual Harassment Requirements for Illinois Lobbyists

The recent Equifax breach data and public missteps in handling the breach has companies revisiting their cybersecurity measures and refreshing their breach response plans.  Although not every company has consumer data likely to be targeted by hackers, employment files may be compromised, such as when breaches of U.S. government databases exposed the personally identifiable information

Happy Halloween New York City Employers!

Just in time to scare even large employers, beginning October 31, 2017, it will be against the law for employers in New York City to ask about, rely on, or verify a job applicant’s salary history during the hiring process. As discussed in detail in our prior posts, this new legislation also permits disgruntled applicants to pursue claims against an employer for violations of the law either with the New York City Commission on Human Rights or directly in court.

With only a few weeks left before the law goes into effect, employers in New York City should take care in reviewing their hiring policies and practices to ensure compliance with the law.

The New Law

First, this law applies to all employers, regardless of size, in New York City.

The new law prohibits employers from:

(1) “Inquiring about” an applicant’s salary history throughout the entire employment process; and/or

(2) “Relying” on the salary history of a job applicant, when determining an applicant’s salary amount at any stage in the employment process, including when negotiating a contract.

The law defines “salary history” broadly to encompass not just wages but also benefits and any other form of compensation.

It also bans employers from searching publicly available records to obtain an applicant’s salary history.

There are limited exceptions to the ban:

  • First, an employer may consider an employee’s salary history if the applicant voluntarily disclosed his or her salary history “without prompting.
  • Second, an employer may discuss salary, benefits and other compensation expectations with the employee as long as the employer does not inquire about salary history.
  • Third, the definition of “salary history” does not include any “objective measure” of the applicant’s productivity, such as revenue, sales, or other production reports.


Continue Reading The Salary Scare – The City’s Salary Ban Law Takes Effect

It is a fact: employees leave.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before age forty.[1]  Because employee transitions are inevitable, businesses must prepare to secure their data when an employee exits the company.  Otherwise employers risk having their information (e.g., customer lists and related information, research and development, and strategic business development) stolen.  Stolen information can lead to the loss of competitive advantage, embarrassment and devaluation of image and goodwill, reduced profitability, and loss of core business technology.  These types of damages are difficult to ascertain in monetary terms.

Data is protected by (1) common law, (2) statutory law (e.g., Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Economic Espionage Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and state criminal codes), and (3) contractual agreements (e.g., non-compete, non-solicitation of clients).  While the law protects your data, a lawsuit to enforce such protection can be costly and time consuming with uncertain outcomes.  Thus, preemptive planning is the best defense.


Continue Reading Your Employee is Leaving…. How Do You Safeguard Your Company’s IP?

iStock_000058987054SmallAs more states legalize medical marijuana and consider legalization of “recreational” marijuana, many employers have wrestled with the question of whether they can still maintain a drug free workplace or must allow employees to use marijuana at work.  The Colorado Supreme Court just provided the common sense answer we’ve been waiting for:  YES,  employers can

In a blow to New York employers who wish to enforce restrictive covenants under other state law, the New York Court of Appeals recently held that the Florida choice of law provision in an employment agreement was unenforceable.  Brown & Brown, Inc. v. Johnson, No. CA 13-00340, 2015 WL 3616181 (N.Y. Ct. App., June