Keeping Up With New Jersey Employment Law Developments

It was a busy January 2020 in Trenton, with the state enacting several new employment laws, with more apparently on the way. This is in addition to the slew of new laws adopted in 2019 impacting New Jersey employers. Here’s a summary of recent employment law developments in New Jersey just one month into 2020, a look at what may be on the way, and a recap of 2019’s changes.

The Who, What, and When on Illinois’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Now a little more than one month into the new year, Illinois employers are under pressure to comply with several new laws increasing protections against discrimination and harassment. Among them, amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act require employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training before December 31, 2020, and each calendar year after that. New guidance published January 31, 2020, by the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) clarifies key aspects of the new law.

NLRB Restores Employers’ Right to Restrict Employees’ Personal Use of Company Email and Other IT Resources

In Caesars Entertainment d/b/a Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Case 28-CA-060841 (December 16, 2019), the National Labor Relations Board ruled that employees do not have a statutory right under the National Labor Relations Act to use their employer’s email system or other information technology (IT) resources for Section 7 purposes, such as union organizing.

Common Neutrality Agreement Provisions Between Union and Hotel May Violate the NLRA

On November 20, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel granted an appeal filed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF) on behalf of a hotel housekeeper in Seattle finding that a neutrality agreement arguably violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the hotel’s recognition of the union pursuant to that agreement was unlawful.

Is Next-Day Pay the Next Big Thing?

Among the hardest-to-find workers in America today are restaurant and retail workers. The current labor market is the tightest in 49 years, and for the past year, there have been roughly a million more open positions in the United States than people looking for work. The hospitality sector always has faced recruitment challenges, but the recently shrinking applicant pool has forced employers to look for creative ways to lure workers to jobs in the food service and retail industries.

California Court of Appeal Identifies Triggers for Reporting Time Pay Obligation

In a ruling that will have a significant impact on the retail and restaurant industries, among others in California, the California Court of Appeal ruled that a retail employer’s call-in scheduling policy—in which employees were required to call the employer in advance of a shift to find out if they needed to show up for

Readying Your Workplace for the Summer and Start of Hurricane Season: Rising Minimum Wage and Other Considerations for Employers in the U.S. Virgin Islands

With just weeks left before the start of summer, employers in the U.S. Virgin Islands may wish to ensure that they are in compliance with applicable laws governing wage payments. Effective June 1, 2018, the Virgin Islands minimum wage will increase from $9.50 per hour to $10.50 per hour.

Congress and the DOL Wade Into the Tip Pool, Reverse Obama-Era Regulations

Restaurant owners have been anxiously awaiting the Department of Labor’s (DOL) guidance regarding proper participation and operation of tip pools after the passage of the March 23, 2018, Consolidated Appropriations Act, which contained a little notice amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Tip pooling regulations have undergone a series of reversals recently as the DOL has worked to find a one-size-fits-all regulation to apply to varying restaurant concepts.

Cal/OSHA Approves Long-Awaited Housekeeper Injury Prevention Regulations

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has created new rules intended to protect hotel housekeepers. These new rules are contained in the newly-created Section 3345 in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations and are intended to decrease the risk of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders to housekeepers in hotels and other lodging establishments.

Preventing Harassment Claims in the Restaurant Industry

With so many stories in the news of very high-level, high-profile men being accused of sexual harassment, many employers are rightfully concerned about whether they may be at risk of similar claims. While these stories have crossed various industries, restaurant employers may be at a higher risk than others for these types of claims. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 37 percent of all sexual harassment charges filed with the agency were filed by employees in the restaurant industry—and there is some evidence that such harassment claims are underreported.

DOL’s Tip of the Hat to Back-of-the-House Employees: New NPRM to Rescind 2011 Regs

In response to significant pressure from the hospitality industry—specifically, the restaurant industry—as well as increasing litigation and changes to reduce or eliminate the use of tip credits at the state level, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the December 5, 2017, edition of the Federal Register, in which it proposes to rescind its 2011 regulations concerning tip pooling.

New York State’s Minimum Wage and Tip Credits Will Increase Effective December 31, 2017

As we have previously reported, New York State’s Minimum Wage Orders set forth a schedule that provides for the automatic annual increase of, among other things, the salary basis thresholds for overtime exempt employees, the minimum wage applicable to all New York employers, and the permitted tip credits and uniform maintenance pay for New York hospitality employers.

Serial Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Commences Latest Round of Hotel Litigation: How Can Hotels Protect Themselves?

Just as one flood of lawsuits against Arizona businesses finally dries up, another downpour begins. Peter Strojnik of Phoenix, the same attorney who filed more than 1,100 lawsuits that drew the attention of the Arizona attorney general, has filed approximately 60 new lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against motels and places of lodging in the last three months in federal court in Arizona.

NYC Proposes Rules Implementing Fair Workweek Law: Spelling More Concerns for Retail and Fast Food Employers

As we previously reported, New York City retail and fast food employers must prepare for the Fair Workweek Law set to go into effect on November 26, 2017. On October 16, 2017 the Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Labor Policy and Standards (DCA) published much anticipated proposed rules to implement the Fair Workweek Law and provide needed guidance to covered employers.

The Not-So-Secret Recipe: How Restaurants Can Protect Their Trade Secrets

Restaurant fortunes are often attributable to just one or two signature dishes, and recipe ownership dilemmas can arise in restaurants of all sizes. Recent examples include a joint venture gone awry, resulting in a war over the ownership of a salted caramel brownie recipe; the “Taco Bible” that a former employee allegedly stole and used at another taco restaurant nearby; and a well-known Australian chef demanding that his former employer cease serving the signature dish he created when he worked there.

The Triumphant Return of Tip Pooling: DOL Announces Repeal of 2011 Regs

In a welcome sea change for the hospitality industry, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced on July 20, 2017 that it would repeal the Obama administration’s 2011 regulations that severely curtailed tip pooling. The DOL further announced that, as it works to finalize the repeal, its investigators are barred from enforcing the Obama-era rule.