June 02, 2023

Labor and Employment Newsletter

3 min

We Want to Hear from You

What legal issues are keeping you up at night?

We are continuing to monitor key trends and significant updates that affect employers across a wide variety of industries. We want to make sure we touch upon issues that are of concern to you. We invite you to take a moment and let us know what you would like to hear more about in this newsletter. Click below to email our team of attorneys.


Governor Hochul Signs Minimum Wage Hikes

On May 3, 2023, New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, signed the state budget legislation which will incrementally increase the state's minimum wage. The increases will maintain the state's tiered approach, whereby New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County will have a higher minimum wage than the rest of the state. Additionally, after incremental increases over the next three years, the minimum wage will be indexed to the consumer price index and will increase with inflation.

No Fun in the Summertime: Employer Obligations for Preventing Employee Heat Stress

As summer approaches, employers with employees potentially exposed to high temperatures should ensure that they have taken the necessary steps to protect their employees from heat-related illnesses. Employees who might be exposed to high temperatures include not only employees working outdoors, but also employees working in indoor environments with high temperatures, such as warehouses without air conditioning. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and its state counterparts, have recently devoted significant focus to heat stress guidance and enforcement of heat stress violations (i.e., citations with monetary penalties). In fact, a growing number of states have implemented specific, and sometimes detailed rules, governing employee occupational exposure to heat with which employers must comply.

Is Your Robot a Racist? EEOC Intensifies Scrutiny over Employers' AI

Whose idea was it to hire all these new folks anyway? Regardless, your HR Department is on the phone pleading for assistance—they are overrun with thousands of applications and résumés. Searching for a way to help, you come across the hottest solution on the market: artificial intelligence (AI). More specifically, you discover an AI screening tool that promises to automatically review job applications and identify the perfect candidates. Sold. As you roll out your new technology, all seems to be going according to plan—the application backlog has disappeared, and new hires are making their way into the office. As you look around, however, a pattern seems to emerge: most of your new employees are white. As a sinking feeling washes over you, two thoughts immediately come to mind: "Is my robot a racist?" and "Are we in trouble?" To the latter, the EEOC has recently provided an answer: "Yes."

NLRB Executing Its Gameplan to Treat Student Athletes as Employees

We previously reported on General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo's announcement of the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) gameplan to treat certain student athletes at private colleges and universities (together, "Academic Institutions") as employees protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Tip of the Month

Daniel HofferDan Hoffer: For employers in the media and creative space, the writers’ strike has triggered numerous concerns. Employers should be prepared to consider ways to manage the effects of the work stoppage, including, without limit, the use of furloughs, reductions in pay, and layoffs.

About the Labor and Employment Group

The national, 40-person Labor and Employment team at Venable provides guidance and support across the full spectrum of workplace dynamics – helping employers control costs, avoid disputes, and defend themselves when litigation arises. As co-editors of this newsletter, Michael Volpe and Doreen Martin invite you to share the content with your colleagues and reach out with any questions.