Fridays with Frank – Oct 11, 2019


US Supreme CourtHappy 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, 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.

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