Sexual Harassment Protest: Google Walkout

Thousands of Employees Worldwide Protest Google’s Handling of Sexual Harassment The Google Walkout on November 1, 2018 in protest of sexual harassment was a worldwide event. The largest gathering of protesters, numbering in the thousands, occurred in Silicon Valley, California where Google Headquarters is located. In addition, The New York Times reported that workers protested internationally in Singapore, Hyderabad, Berlin, Zurich, London, Chicago and Seattle, to name a few locations. New York also had a large number of protesters. An estimated 3,000 people gathered to protest in a city park. Since the #Metoo movement began a year ago, sexual harassment has topped the list in anti-discrimination movements. A number of states have passed stricter laws to prohibit sexual harassment, and New York has passed the most stringent sexual harassment training laws in the nation. What Was the Main Protest Focus in the Google Walkout? The New York Times published an article on Oct 25, 2018 about the resignation of the creator of Android software, Andy Rubin in 2014. At that time, he left Google with a $90 million exit package and no public disclosure of sexual misconduct. Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and Larry Page, co-founder of Google and the chief executive of the parent company, Alphabet issued apologies. According to a Wall Street Journal article on the walkout, Pichai stated that Google no longer makes payouts to employees who are dismissed due to sexual harassment. He also stated, “Moments like this show we didn’t always get it right. We are listening to employees, which is why today is important.” Another point of contention among the protesters was Google’s...

Employers: Do You Have Your Sexual Harassment Training in Place?

What Does the New Sexual Harassment Training Require? By now, hopefully many employers in New York have become aware of the new sexual harassment training laws that went into effect on October 9, 2018.  Under the new law, all New York employers, no matter how many employees you have, are required under State law to establish a sexual harassment training policy. New York State has published a tool kit that explains the guidelines employers must follow. Some employers already had established sexual harassment policies prior to the new law. Others may not have any sexual harassment policy in place. In either case, you must comply with the government’s new requirements. If you’re uncertain about whether your policy is compliant or not, it is wise to consult with an experienced employment defense attorney. The probability is high that most employers are missing parts of the new law in their policies. Sexual Harassment Training Tool Kit Guidelines A checklist for sexual harassment training must meet (or it can exceed) the following minimum training standards. Training must: “Be Interactive (see the model training guidance document for specific recommendations); Include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights; Include examples of unlawful sexual harassment; Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to targets of sexual harassment; Include information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints; and Include information addressing conduct by supervisors and additional responsibilities for supervisors.” It is common have questions about the new guidelines...

What Is the Payroll Audit Independent Determination Program?

Should You Participate in Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID)? The Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) may be a solution for some restaurant owners to deal with wage violations. Even so, it is always wise to get a legal opinion so you can make an informed decision that protects your interests. How Does PAID Work? The incentive that PAID offers is that employers can resolve potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the FLSA without resorting to litigation. A few qualifications to participate in the program are that the employer has not been sued during the previous five years and is also not currently party to a lawsuit brought against them for FLSA violations. The PAID program encourages employers to do self-audits. If they find overtime or minimum wage violations, they can report the violations themselves and work to correct their mistakes and pay the affected employees the back wages owed. The self-audits focus on identifying potential violations, the employees affected by them, the timeframe of the violations and the amount of back wages owed. Once you have conducted the audit, you must submit the information to the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and go through the compliance steps. The advantage of going through the steps and receiving WHD supervision and certification before paying back wages owed is that employees will have to waive their rights to pursue a private lawsuit. Challenges Restaurant Owners Face Paying a single employee back wages may not be the greatest threat that a restaurant owner faces. However, a collective lawsuit and paying many employees, plus penalties and other expenses can be daunting. Under the...

The Restaurant Industry and DOL Battle Over Tipped Wage Policy

Why Did the RLC Sue the DOL over Tipped Wages? On July 6, the Restaurant Law Center (RLC) sued the Department of Labor (DOL) over an enforcement policy that demanded tipped workers must receive full minimum wage under certain circumstances for non-tipped work. Workers spending 20 percent or more of their weekly hours doing tasks that were not tipped work had to receive full minimum wage for those hours. The RLC is the litigation department of the National Restaurant Association. It presented its case before a federal court in Texas, requesting that the court invalidate the policy. It claimed that under the Administrative Procedure Act, the policy was arbitrary and capricious. Tipped Wage Policy Details Tipped employees, such as bartenders and servers receive a minimum base of at least $2.13 per hour as long as their hourly pay plus tips is more than the full minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. If the employee’s tips plus $2.13 base do not total $7.25 per hour, the employer must make up the difference. Examples of side tasks that are not tipped functions include filling salt and pepper shakers, rolling silverware in napkins, stocking liquor, washing glasses and so on. Allegations Brought by the RLC According to a BNA article, the RLC alleges that the Obama Administration slipped a policy into the internal agency handbook without public notice or opportunity for dispute. Doing so was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The lawsuit requests the Court to set aside the provision and enjoin enforcement of the APA. The RLC argues that the policy is contrary to the Fair Labor Standards...

Paycheck Deductions: What Is Legal in New York?

Understanding NY Laws about Paycheck Deductions Laws vary from state to state regarding deducting for loans or legitimate business losses from an employee’s paycheck. New York has very strict labor laws regarding this, stricter than laws in many other states. In addition, current guidelines have changed from what they were in the past. Guidelines Regarding NY Paycheck Deductions New York State Labor Law provides guidelines that list what paycheck deductions are legal. After receiving notice of all terms and conditions of the payment/benefits and details about the manner in which the deductions will be made, employees must voluntarily authorize the deductions in writing. Authorized deductions include: Insurance premiums and prepaid legal plans Pension or health and welfare benefits Contributions to a bona fide charitable organization Purchases made at events sponsored by a bona fide charitable organization affiliated with the employer when 20 percent of the event’s profits are being contributed to a bona fide charitable organization U.S. bonds Dues or assessment to a labor organization Discounted parking or passes, tokens, fare cards, vouchers or items that enable mass transit for the employee Fitness center, health club, and/or gym membership dues Cafeteria and vending machine purchases made at the employer’s place of business and purchases at gift shops operated by the employer, where the employer is a hospital, college or university Pharmacy purchases made at the employer’s place of business Tuition, room, board and fees for pre-school, nursery, primary, secondary, and/or post-secondary educational institutions Day care, before-school and after-school care expenses Payments for housing provided at no more than market rates by non-profit hospitals or affiliates Similar payments for the...