On June 24, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its decision in University of Tex. Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar through which it confirmed the causation standards to be used in Title VII retaliation cases. The Court held that retaliation claims under Title VII must be proved according to “traditional principals of but-for causation, not the lessened causation test stated in §2000e-2(m). This ruling relieves the confusion for attorneys and litigants and gives employers a reason to let out a sigh of relief.
As long as an internship doesn’t consist of coffee-runs, internships usually provide valuable opportunities for developing skills, experience, and networking for young professionals. Still, there is a debate about whether this value can replace a paycheck — the latest story in this discussion being a Manhattan federal court ruling this week that a business which relies heavily on unpaid interns is obligated to pay them.
On March 29, 2013 Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that increases the New York state minimum wage rate starting on December 31, 2013. The minimum wage in New York will increase to $8.00 an hour on and after December 31, 2013, to $8.75 per hour on and after December 31, 2014 and $9.00 per hour on and after December 31, 2015.
We at Hill Wallack stand ready to assist you with any concerns that may arise as a result of this new legislation.
On March 21, 2013, the New Jersey General Assembly passed a bill (A2878) that prohibits employers from requiring or requesting that employees or job candidates disclose user names and passwords for their social media accounts. The Bill also prohibits employers from inquiring whether these individuals have personal social networking accounts. Any employer who retaliates or discriminates against an applicant or employee based on the refusal to provide access to a social media account or to disclose a user name or a password may face a private cause of action by the job candidate or employee and civil penalties of up to $1,000 for the first instance and up to $2,500 for each additional violation. An aggrieved employee could file suit against an employer for up to a year following the violation and recover attorneys’ fees and costs of suit.
Although the case this entry addresses comes to us from the U.S. District Court of South Dakota, it holds a valuable lesson for all employers – what an employer may consider an “informal” communication with its employees may well constitute a legally binding contract.