Archives: New York State

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Second Circuit Affirms: Business Not Obligated to Pay $350,000 “Performance” Bonus to Prospective Employee Who Never Worked A Day

Last year, a Manhattan federal district judge reviewed a decision of a federal bankruptcy court and held that Lehman Brothers was not required to pay a $350,000 performance bonus referenced in the offer letter of a prospective employee who never provided services. In doing so, the Court observed that the Firm terminated the contractual relationship … Continue Reading

NYSDOL Issues Guidance on Fast Food Wage Order and Increased State Cash Minimum Wage For Hospitality Workers

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) recently posted answers to Frequently Asked Questions related to the new Fast Food Wage Order and increased state minimum wage for hospitality workers, both of which take effect on December 31, 2015.  As previously covered here, the state minimum wage in New York will increase to $9.00 … Continue Reading

New York City Enacts Municipal Office of Labor Standards; Office’s Initial Mandate Is To Enforce NYC Earned Sick Time Act

On November 30, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio signed a bill establishing an “Office of Labor Standards,” to be headed by a Director appointed by the Mayor. The Office, once established, is tasked with “study[ing] and mak[ing] recommendations for worker education, safety and protection, educat[ing] employers on labor laws, creat[ing] public education … Continue Reading

New York Industrial Board of Appeals Upholds Fast Food Wage Order

In an eight-page decision dated today, New York’s Industrial Board of Appeals (the “IBA,” an arm of the state Department of Labor) upheld the Commissioner of Labor’s Fast Food Wage Order.  In so doing, the IBA rejected challenges to the Order from the National Restaurant Association based on: 1) the composition of the Fast Food … Continue Reading

Industrial Board of Appeals Hears Arguments Regarding New York Fast Food Wage Order

Last week, the New York Industrial Board of Appeals (an arm of the New York Department of Labor) heard oral argument on the National Restaurant Association’s petition to invalidate the Department of Labor’s recent Fast Food Wage Order. If implemented, the Wage Order, which is scheduled to take effect on December 31, 2015, would increase … Continue Reading

Prominent NY Restaurateur Eliminates Tipping

As New York’s hospitality industry prepares for a reduced tip credit and a fast food minimum wage, one New York restaurateur has announced its intention to eliminate tipping and thus, by extension, use of the tip credit: New York City’s Danny Meyer.  This lengthy Eater feature discusses Meyer’s audacious new Hospitality Included program, noting the … Continue Reading

New York Federal Court Finds Business Properly Classified Translators As Independent Contractors

This month, two New York federal judges reviewing a claim of misclassification rejected a claim for overtime compensation, agreeing that a business properly classified two translators as independent contractors rather than as “employees” under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law. See Mateo v. Universal Language Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS … Continue Reading

NY Commissioner of Labor Adopts Fast Food Wage Board Report

Today, Acting Commissioner of Labor Mario Musolino adopted the Fast Food Wage Board’s July recommendations, in an Order available here.  The Order takes effect within thirty days of its publication in ten New York newspapers.  Employers covered – or arguably covered – by the definition of “Fast Food Establishment” contained in the Wage Board’s recommendations … Continue Reading

The Confusing Array of Wage Hour Developments Impacting New York State Employers’ Wage and Hour Compliance

In prior posts, we have summarized the New York State Department of Labor’s most recent rulemaking processes, comprised of two separate wage boards. The first, in 2014, addressed the hospitality industry as a whole, while more recently, in 2015, another highly publicized wage board addressed the subset of that industry deemed “fast food.” Employers should … Continue Reading

New York’s Fast Food Wage Board Confirms: $15/Hour

In a televised meeting this afternoon, New York’s recently-convened Fast Food Wage Board confirmed industry employers’ fears and announced its unanimous recommendation that the wage for “fast food employees” in “fast food establishments” be increased to $15/hour by December 31, 2018 in New York City and by July 1, 2021 in the rest of New … Continue Reading

Manhattan Federal Court: Financial Firm Retained Discretion to Award or Not Award Bonus

As we recently noted in our discussion of Massachusetts law, incentive compensation has the potential to become “wages” protected by state labor law once it is “earned.” However, when an employer conveys to the employee that it retains discretion to award or not award incentive compensation in any specific amount, such potential incentive compensation (whether … Continue Reading

New York Introduces Regulations Concerning Use of Payroll Debit Cards

Like many states before it, New York today published new proposed regulations to provide “clarification and specification as to the permissible methods of payment [in New York], including [the use of] payroll debit cards.”  The proposed regulations require voluntary consent from employees paid pursuant to such a program, and set minimum program requirements for feeless … Continue Reading

New York “Fast Food Wage Board” Formally Convened

Responding to the Governor’s directive, Acting State Labor Commission Mario J. Musolino has empaneled a Wage Board to recommend a minimum wage increase for the fast food industry. Commissioner Musolino issued a determination regarding the inadequacy of the current minimum wage which states, “I am of the opinion that a substantial number of fast food … Continue Reading

Governor Cuomo Announces Wage Board to Review “Fast-Food Industry” Minimum Wage

In an op/ed piece appearing in yesterday’s New York Times, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would direct the Commissioner of Labor to convene a new Wage Board “to examine the minimum wage in the fast-food industry” in New York state. The Commissioner’s announcement follows on the heels of a separate op/ed suggesting this … Continue Reading

NY Acting Commissioner of Labor Issues Wage Board Order Reducing New York Tip Credit to $1.50

In New York, the cash wage due to tipped workers will increase to $7.50 at the end of the year, following an Order from acting Commissioner of Labor Mario Musolino. Commissioner Musolino accepted this recommendation from the Wage Board convened by his predecessor. This order will reduce the tip credit to $1.50/hour off the minimum … Continue Reading

New York Wage Board Issues Recommendation Regarding Tip Credit

Completing its task assigned by former Commissioner of Labor Peter Rivera, the current New York Wage Board has issued its recommended findings to the Commissioner with respect to tip credit issues.  Most importantly for hospitality employers – an industry sector which includes many small, low-margin businesses – if approved by the Commissioner, the available tip … Continue Reading

Second New York Judge Agrees Time Spent In Mandated Alcohol Treatment Meetings Did Not Constitute “Work”

Joining a decision issued last fall by Southern District of New York Judge Andrew Carter, Judge Ronnie Abrams has also ruled that time spent by New York City employees in alcohol counseling required by their job did not constitute “work.”  Gibbs v. City of New York, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7960 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 23, 2015). … Continue Reading

NY Legislature, Governor Cuomo Reach Agreement On Repeal of Annual Wage Notice

Business advocacy groups advise that the New York Legislature and Governor Cuomo have reached agreement on the Legislature’s already-passed legislation repealing the Wage Theft Prevention Act’s annual notice requirement.  Indeed, the Legislature’s web site confirms that S.5885-B has been delivered to the Governor.  Business groups believe a “chapter amendment” will be forthcoming in January, modifying … Continue Reading

With WTPA Amendments In Limbo, New York Employers Must Prepare for Another Round of “Those (Annual) Notices”

Despite passage in June by both chambers of the New York State Legislature, legislation repealing the 2011 Wage Theft Prevention Act’s “annual wage notice” has yet to take effect.  In fact, as of this writing, Governor Cuomo has not been presented with the bill for signature.  Because the legislation only takes effect 60 days after … Continue Reading

NYS Commissioner of Labor Issues Official Wage Board Charge

On Monday, New York Commissioner of Labor Peter Rivera formally issued his Charge to the recently convened 2014 Wage Board.  The Charge, available here, asks the Board to answer the following question: What modifications, if any, should be made to the required cash wage rates and the allowable credits for tips, meals, and lodging, for … Continue Reading

Manhattan Restaurant Prevails On Wage-and-Hour Claims Following Trial

Demoralized by the attendant costs of litigation and a shifting compliance environment in numerous jurisdictions, many hospitality industry employers have resolved wage-and-hour lawsuits brought in New York City and elsewhere over the last number of years.  Bucking this trend, one such employer recently successfully defended its wage practices at trial.  Mendez v. Int’l Food House, … Continue Reading
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