[With special thanks to our summer associate Lennox Mark for his contribution to this post.]

From coast to coast, state and local governments are debating and enacting legislation to broaden workplace protections for employee dress and grooming practices. And not surprisingly, employee complaints regarding employer grooming policies — that such policies contribute to discrimination by unduly burdening certain racial characteristics, religious beliefs or health conditions — are on the rise.

In February 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued a statement of legal enforcement guidance expanding the definition of prohibited race discrimination to include discrimination based on hairstyle. The Commission explained that workplace “grooming or appearance policies that ban, limit, or otherwise restrict natural hairstyles or hairstyles associated with Black people generally violate [local law].” By expressly including hairstyle as a protected characteristic, the Commission effectively created a new legal claim for Black employees who suffer adverse employment actions because their natural hairstyles fail to comport with previously accepted workplace rules.


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How to bridge the gap between HR and legal to avoid exposure in the US and beyond

Effective HR departments are imperative to the operation of any company and functions including benchmarking and non-solicitation agreements serve an important need. However, increased scrutiny from antitrust regulators means that companies and staff that agree not to poach

In a welcome decision for franchisors, and first of its kind in the Second Circuit, the Southern District of New York ruled that Domino’s Pizza Franchising LLC, the franchisor (Domino’s), did not exert enough control over its franchisee to warrant joint employer status. This determination means Domino’s will not have to face claims brought under

As we previously reported, New York State’s new sexual harassment prevention policy and training requirements take effect today, October 9, 2018.

After issuing draft documents in August, the State released final guidance clarifying the new requirements just last week, giving employers little time to get their ducks in a row before the October 9 deadline.


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With the modern workforce comes modern employment problems. Businesses and workers alike have embraced the “gig economy,” but employment laws were not designed for workforces dominated by independent contractors and freelancers. This disconnect leaves gig economy businesses open to significant liability where such workers should have been classified as employees under the law.


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New York state just released draft guidance and models for employers to comply with the state’s new sexual harassment prevention policy and training requirements, which go into effect on October 9, 2018. The state is encouraging comments from the public, employers and employees through September 12, 2018, which can be submitted through the state’s website.


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The legal landscape for employers – particularly those in New York – has evolved significantly over the last few months. On April 12, 2018, Governor Cuomo signed the FY 2019 Budget Bill, which includes significant measures targeting sexual harassment in the workplace, such as harassment prevention policy and training requirements. Not to be outdone, on May 9, 2018, Mayor de Blasio signed the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, a collection of bills that require anti-harassment training and increase worker protections against sexual harassment.


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Happy Mother’s Day! 

May 13 is Mother’s Day in the US, Australia and Canada. As such, it feels apropos to recognize the latest initiatives in the US and around the world aimed at increasing opportunities at work for working mothers (and caregivers more generally). Government-mandated maternity, paternity and parental leave and benefits, as well as

**UPDATE: Both the New York state and city training requirements have been signed into law. The state requirements go into effect on October 9, 2018, and the city requirements go into effect on April 1, 2019. **

In the last two weeks, New York state and city legislatures each passed groundbreaking legislation that would require most private employers to provide sexual harassment training to their workforces every year. No other US jurisdiction requires annual harassment training for all employees, making this legislation – if signed into law – the most expansive in the country. (California requires training for supervisors and managers only, see more HERE.)


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In the wake of the #metoo movement, several lawmakers proposed legislation to ban confidentiality provisions in workplace sexual harassment settlements.

Critics of confidentiality agreements say that they enable serial abusers and silence victims. But, some advocates question whether a ban could actually harm individuals. For instance, some victims may actually prefer confidentiality and the prospect of publicity may discourage them from coming forward. Further, the promise of confidentiality may lead to larger (and earlier) monetary settlements for victims.


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