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Class Action Risk for Hospitality and Retail Industries: Title III of the ADA and Gift Cards >
November 5, 2019
By: Fara A. Cohen and Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
Last week presented a new challenge for merchants and retailers as plaintiff's attorneys inundated the courts with a potential new theory of liability under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act involving gift cards. At least 33 class action lawsuits were filed in two U.S. District Courts in New York alleging certain merchants and retailers violate the ADA by discriminating against blind and visually impaired individuals when they sell gift cards without writing in braille. The businesses named in the suits include restaurants, coffee shops, auto parts stores, pet retailers, and national franchises.

Commonwealth Court Rejects Constitutional Challenge to the New IRE Provisions >
October 21, 2019
By: Karyn Dobroskey Rienzi and Patrick T. Cusick
In an October 11, 2019 Opinion in the matter of Pennsylvania AFL-CIO v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a three-judge panel of the Commonwealth Court unanimously denied the Petition for Review of the AFL-CIO, which alleged that the newly-enacted IRE provision, Section 306(a.3) of the Workers' Compensation Act, was unconstitutional, and sought an injunction with regard to the use of the new IRE provision.

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Overtime Rule >
September 24, 2019
By: Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor DOL issued its Final Overtime Rule which raises the minimum salary threshold for "executive," "administrative," and "professional," employees from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $684 per week ($35,568 per year) to qualify as exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The DOL estimates that the Final Rule, which will become effective on January 1, 2020, will extend overtime pay eligibility to 1.3 million workers. The salary threshold in the Final Rule is nearly identical to the $679 per week proposed earlier this year by the DOL.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds the City of Lancaster's Attempt to Regulate Public Utilities is Entirely Preempted By the Public Utility Code >
August 26, 2019
By: David B. MacGregor, James J. Kutz, and Garrett P. Lent
On August 20, 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a 7-0 opinion holding that all of the provisions contained in an ordinance enacted by the City of Lancaster are preempted by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code.

New Jersey Toughens Wage and Hour Laws >
August 16, 2019
By: Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
On August 6, 2019, Acting Governor Sheila Oliver signed into law Senate Bill 1790, which significantly increases penalties for employers that fail to pay wages to their employees and expands other provisions of New Jersey's wage and hour laws. All of the provisions of S1790 outlined below became effective immediately.

Food Allergy Lawsuits on the Menu >
August 8, 2019
By: Charles W. Spitz
As awareness surrounding food allergies has steadily increased over the past 10 years, restaurants and the food industry have seen a corresponding rise in food allergy related lawsuits. As dining guests with food allergies increasingly request food to accommodate their needs, the food service and hospitality industries face liability should they unknowingly serve a triggering ingredient or fail to label their food choices accurately and obviously. This heightened awareness also means that juries have a better understanding of food allergies - and may be more sympathetic to plaintiffs than ever before.

New Jersey Enacts Salary History Inquiry Ban >
July 31, 2019
By: Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
On July 25, 2019, New Jersey became the latest state to legislate whether and under what circumstances employers can use an applicant's salary history in the pre-employment process when Acting Governor Sheila Y. Oliver signed A1094 into law. New Jersey follows on the heels of the New York, Alabama, Colorado, Maine, and Washington state legislatures, all of which recently have enacted some form of salary history ban. New Jersey's law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

New Jersey Reforms its Medical Marijuana Program >
July 18, 2019
By: Elizabeth M. Hein and Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
On July 2, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law, enacting sweeping reforms to New Jersey's Medical Marijuana Program, which, until 2018, had only 15,000 patients. The law became effective upon signing.

SCOTUS Holds That Employer's Title VII Administrative Exhaustion Defense is Waived if Not Timely Raised >
June 4, 2019
By: Kate A. Kleba and
The Supreme Court's recent decision in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis serves as a reminder to employers and their attorneys of the importance of timely asserting all available legal defenses to a discrimination complaint at the earliest possible moment or risk losing those defenses forever. The employer in Davis learned that lesson the hard way.

PA Superior Court Decision a Reminder to Preserve Evidence and Evaluate Surveillance Policies >
April 12, 2019
By: Charles W. Spitz and Joel H. Feigenbaum
Companies of all industries and sizes routinely receive letters from attorneys alleging that a personal injury accident occurred on their property and that they should retain surveillance video footage of the incident and any related documents, such as incident reports and witness statements, for an impending claim. Sometimes the attorney request, typically called a "spoliation letter", contains specific instructions on what surveillance should be preserved.

Employee Nondisclosure Agreements Banned in New Jersey >
April 4, 2019
By:
New Jersey continues to enact employment laws at a rapid pace under the Murphy Administration. The latest is a ban on employee nondisclosure agreements, which Governor Murphy signed into law on March 18, 2019. The law takes effect immediately and applies to all employment contracts and agreements entered into, modified, or amended on or after March 18, 2019, making New Jersey the third state, after New York and California, to limit nondisclosure agreements.

U.S. Department of Labor Proposes New Overtime Rule >
March 12, 2019
By: Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
After much anticipation, on March 7, 2019 the U.S. Department of Labor issued its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) salary level for the executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer exempt employees from $455 to $679 per week. The DOL estimates that under the Proposed Rule, in 2020 1.1 million additional employees in the U.S. may become eligible to earn overtime compensation.

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