Employment & Labor

The New York State legislature is currently considering passage of the Medical Aid in Dying Act (Assembly Bill 4321-A) which is an extremely important piece of legislation which will benefit many New Yorkers and their families, but they are unaware of it. This legislation was initially introduced by Assembly member Amy Pauling, and currently has multiple sponsors. The proposed law is modeled on the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.  First introduced for consideration in 1995, the right to die with dignity law has endured because it remains necessary and well supported. An April 2018 Quinnipiac University poll demonstrates that…
Employers in New Jersey can now mandate that employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to the workplace, with some exceptions. The state provided this new information in a “recent guidance that lays out a legal road map for businesses that want to adopt a mandatory vaccination policy,” according to a Law360 article. Exemptions from vaccination are required only for employees who are unable to receive the vaccine due to religious reasons, a disability, or health concerns, such as pregnancy or breastfeeding. In these instances, employers are required to provide such employees with a reasonable accommodation unless it presents an…
March 24, 2021 was Equal Pay Day in the U.S. The White House issued “A Proclamation on National Equal Pay Day, 2021” in which the Biden-Harris Administration drew attention to the fact that in 2019, women working full-time were on average paid just $0.82 for every dollar paid to male employees. The pay disparities are even greater for women of color, with Black, Native American and Hispanic women, earning 63% , 60% and 55%, respectively, of the wages made by white men. Pay disparities are entrenched and have far-reaching consequences. As detailed by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in…
Ever since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were moved to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, athletes and fans alike have eagerly awaited the start of the competition. However, LGBT workers in Japan are calling for a new law to be enacted before the Olympic Games commence this summer. Activists say that this LGBT equality law needs to be passed so that Japan, as the Olympic host country, will comply with the Olympic Charter, which bans sexual orientation discrimination and sex discrimination. Last month, activists submitted a petition for the equality law with 106,000 signatures to the Liberal Democratic Party
Last month marks a year since the Covid-19 pandemic fully emerged in the United States. Throughout the course of the last year, significant change has taken place at the state, national, and global levels in efforts to combat the extremity of the virus. As a result, progress has occurred in many sectors, including the transition of schools and jobs to virtual platforms, the implementation of social distancing guidelines and rigid cleaning requirements in businesses, and the mass distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. The first deliveries of the vaccine began in December, and since then, over 15% of the U.S.…
One of the novel claims in 401(k) and 403(b) plan litigation has been that vendors violate ERISA when they use participant data to cross sell other products and services to plan participants.  These can include products such as annuities, life insurance, brokerage accounts and wealth management services. A closely watched case was filed in Texas against Shell Oil Company and a number of Fidelity entities-all referred to as Fidelity here- alleging that Fidelity, the plan’s recordkeeper, engaged in a prohibited transaction by profiting from the use of participant data through its cross selling practices.  A ruling for plaintiffs would have…
Last week, the New York legislature reached a deal that, if approved, will legalize recreational marijuana use for adults 21 years of age and older. According to a New York Times article, this deal is “paving the way for a potential $4.2 billion industry that could create tens of thousands of jobs and become one of the largest markets in the country.” The bill could be passed as soon as this week. The deal allows for marijuana to be delivered at home and will also result in the creation of “consumption sites” throughout the state. Additionally, individuals will now be…
For the past several months, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been investigating reports of systemic racial bias in hiring and promotions at Facebook. When the EEOC labels a probe as “systemic,” it means that the agency believes that the company’s actions and/or policies may be contributing to widespread discrimination, rather than a few isolated incidents. As a recent Reuters article explains, “agency officials designate a few cases ‘systemic,’ enabling investigators to rope in specialists to analyze company data and potentially bring a broader lawsuit representing entire classes of workers.” These additional resources are usually allocated to systemic…
A former analyst for BlackRock, Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, has alleged discrimination in the workplace. Essma Bengabsia was one of the few hijab-wearing women on the New York trading floor. She now alleges workplace harassment on the basis of her religion, race, and sex. When she first started at BlackRock, Bengabsia described that she “was thrilled to break a glass ceiling and chart into new frontiers on behalf of marginalized and underrepresented communities.” However, she claims this excitement did not last for long after she began to experience discrimination in the workplace.  Analyst Claims Islamophobia on Wall…
Last month, Bonnie Jacobson, a waitress at Red Hook Tavernin Brooklyn, New York, was fired for refusing to take the Covid-19 vaccine. In an interview with NBC News, Jacobson shared her hesitations in receiving the vaccine, including inadequate research about “the vaccine, fertility, and pregnancy.” She also stated she was not permanently against getting the vaccine but rather, preferred to wait for more conclusive research on the vaccine’s effects on fertility. According to an article published on 1010 Wins, Jacobson sent an email to management expressing her concerns about the vaccine, including her and her husband’s plans to…
Last month, the governor of New Jersey passed A21, the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act” (NJCREAMMA). According to a JD Supra article, this act is “enabling legislation for the amendment to the New Jersey Constitution making lawful the recreational use of marijuana in the state.” Our firm’s previous blog on the topic explains more about the interplay between state and local marijuana laws. Despite the passage of this new law, there are still regulations regarding the use and presence of marijuana in the workplace. For example, the law stipulates that employers can choose…