Fridays with Frank – Oct 11, 2019

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Happy Friday!

It’s been a busy week for everyone. In fact, for many of the attorneys and HR professionals I’ve spoken to, the last several weeks have been a blur. We’ve all been conducting countless Sexual Harassment Prevention Training sessions as employers scrambled to meet the Wednesday, October 9 deadline set by NY State. (If you didn’t make it, give me a call to discuss your options.) With that done, for the time being, I don’t know what I’ll do with all the extra time!

The gang’s all here!  Well, almost. The U.S. Supreme Court opened its 2019-2020 term on Monday, October 7, 2019, without Justice Clarence Thomas. In his opening comments, Chief Justice John Roberts said Justice Thomas was “indisposed” due to an illness. However, as Justice Ginsberg did during her absence from the Court last Term, Justice Thomas will listen to the recorded sessions and will participate in deciding the cases presented to the Court while he is absent.

The definition of “sex”  On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three LGBT workplace rights cases: Bostock v. Clayton County and Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. (consolidated) and EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. In Bostock and Zarda, the Court is asked to decide whether discrimination based on sexual orientation is included in Title VII’s ban on discrimination “because of sex.” Harris presents a similar question, whether gender identity is also included in Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination “because of sex.”

The deep end of the (tip) pool  Following up on its April 2019 bulletin, which clarified tip pooling under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal Department of Labor (DOL) announced its proposed rules on the issue. As James McBride, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins, explains, the DOL confirmed its interpretation that employers that do not take a tip credit are now permitted to include back-of-house employees in the tip pool. The comment period for the proposed rules, which are not final, is open until December 9, 2019.

Higher overtime threshold complicate benefits plans  Although the new federal overtime rule appears to have minimal impact on employers in NY State, it’s important to remember the State’s overtime threshold will increase December 31, 2019. It’s also important to understand the effect those changes may have on benefits plans. Benefits eligibility, premium sharing levels, matching contributions to retirement plans, and discrimination testing should all be evaluated before the end of the year.

There’s a fact sheet for that!  The federal Department of Labor (DOL) recently published USERRA Fact Sheet 1, which addresses several issues involving service members and their pension rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). Will there be a Fact Sheet 2? I’ll let you know.

Thanks for spending a small part of your day with me, and have a great weekend! 


Posted by Frank Cania, president of HR Compliance Experts LLC.

Please feel free to contact Frank at frank@hrcexperts.com, or 585-380-1566 with questions or for more information.


Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute a legal opinion, and is not legal advice. The facts of each situation should be considered and analyzed individually. Therefore, you should always consult with competent employment counsel regarding any issues discussed here.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Frank Cania and HR Compliance Experts LLC.

Fridays with Frank – Oct 4, 2019

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toy carsHappy Friday!

You’ve heard it (and maybe said it yourself) countless times this week: I Can’t believe it’s October already! Or, as my father, Sam Cania, would say, “before you know it, Christmas will be here and gone!” I didn’t understand the meaning of that statement back then, but it’s all too clear now that our children are grown and we have a grandson!

Speaking of our toddler grandson, Connor, he’s waiting patiently for me to play with his trucks. So, as much as I enjoy spending time with you, I have a play date!

Tic, tic, tic…time is running out!  The deadline for the Sexual Harassment Prevention Training required by NY State is next Wednesday, October 9, 2019! Still have employees that have not completed sexual harassment prevention training? HR Compliance Experts is offering an online, on-demand training program—at the special price of $25.00 per employee—for last-minute compliance. Email theexperts@hrcexperts.com for more information or to register your employees.

A flag on the play!  Rontez Miles, a NY Jets player, is suing the National Football League (NFL) for disability discrimination under applicable state and federal law. Miles has alopecia areata, a condition causing an optical sensitivity to light. To mitigate the effects of this condition, Miles played his entire career with an eye shield, in addition to his helmet and faceguard. That changed when, before a 2017 preseason game, an NFL official “demanded” he remove the shield or not play in the game. Playing without the shield, and unable to take appropriate defensive measures due to the bright sunlight, Miles suffered a broken orbital bone when he “took a thumb or finger directly to the eye.” Ouch!

Who’s the party pooper now?  A Manhattan medical office is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for religious discrimination. In December 2018, Pediatrics 2000 fired an administrative assistant after she requested not to attend a company party because it would violate her religious practices as a Jehovah’s Witness. According to the suit, the employer excused other employees from attending the party for “non-religious” reasons. How was she fired, you ask? A text from the owner that read, “this is your last day of employment. We can’t tolerate religious privileges from anyone.” 

If you can’t say something nice…  According to my mom, that phrase ends with, “…don’t say anything at all.” Somebody at Kickass Masterminds, an Austin, TX marketing company, didn’t learn that lesson. After Emily Clow applied for a “Kickass” internship, she was shocked to find a photo of herself in a swimsuit on the company’s Instagram story, along with, “PSA…do not share your social media with a potential employer if this is the kind of content on it. I am looking for a potential marketer–not a bikini model.” Did I forget to mention the company was founded and is primarily run by women? 

NY State strengthens protections for domestic violence victims  Although NY State Human Rights Laws (NYSHRL) currently bar workplace discrimination against domestic violence victims, Governor Cuomo recently signed legislation that will grant additional protections to these employees. According to an alert from Kramer Levin, effective November 18, 2019, the NYSHRL will identify prohibited discriminatory practices and require employers to provide specific accommodations to employees who identify as victims of domestic violence. 

Thanks for spending a small part of your day with me, and have a great weekend! 


Posted by Frank Cania, president of HR Compliance Experts LLC.

Please feel free to contact Frank at frank@hrcexperts.com, or 585-380-1566 with questions or for more information.


Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute a legal opinion, and is not legal advice. The facts of each situation should be considered and analyzed individually. Therefore, you should always consult with competent employment counsel regarding any issues discussed here.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Frank Cania and HR Compliance Experts LLC.