On December 16, 2013, the Senate introduced another bill (S3115), the “Healthy Workplace Act,” seeking to prevent workplace bullying, abuse, and harassment. The bill would prohibit any conduct in the workplace that a reasonable person would find hostile, including derogatory remarks, humiliation, insults, conduct undermining an employee’s work performance, etc. If passed, it would become an unlawful employment practice for an employer to subject or permit an employee to be subjected to an abusive work environment, or to retaliate against an employee for asserting protections under the act. The legislation would provide a right to a civil cause of action affording full tort damages, equitable relief, attorneys’ fees and costs, and in some circumstances, punitive damages. However, an employer would be able to assert an affirmative defense to certain co-worker abuse if the employer promulgated an effective policy to prohibit and deter the abusive conduct and the employee failed to take advantage of appropriate preventative or corrective opportunities provided by the employer. Prior versions of this bill were unsuccessfully introduced in 2008 and 2012.
With the Obama administration unable to get labor and employment law changes through a gridlocked Congress, one of its significant accomplishments and lasting legacies may be its remarkable record of reshaping federal regulatory agencies and the federal judiciary. Senate Confirmations of Nominees to Federal Agencies Except for the independent regulatory agencies where…..
New Jersey Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Would Limit Debt Collectors’ Ability to Contact Debtors at Work
On June 16, 2009, legislation to control debt collection practices (A2493) was introduced. The bill places limits on the rights of debt collectors to communicate with debtors at their places of employment. Specifically, the bill provides that a debt collector may send a single letter to the debtor at the debtor’s place of employment if the debt collector has been unable to locate the debtor at his or her residence.
The New York attorney general’s August 3, 2021, report regarding the sexual harassment allegations brought against former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, “Report of Investigation Into Allegations of Sexual Harassment by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo,” contains extraordinary detail to support the conclusion that Cuomo “sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees.” Beyond noting the political consequences of the investigation, employers in New York and elsewhere may wish to consider utilizing these recent developments as an opportunity to reassess their workplace practices to minimize the likelihood of events occurring similar to those described in the report. Among the many potential action items and considerations, below are tips on training, education, and communication that employers may wish to explore as a result of the Cuomo report.