The presence of alcohol in offices has ebbed and flowed over time and largely depended on the type of business, from drink carts in advertising agencies à la Mad Men to keg refrigerators at startups. The once popular office perk may or may not be waning, but the number of companies addressing the issue and the attention those decisions are generating is certainly increasing.
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Employers who operate in New York State and City are likely aware of the new sexual harassment laws that are starting to take effect.  Many companies have already revised their sexual harassment policies to comply with the new laws, but now face the hurdle of complying with the sexual harassment training requirements under both the State and City laws.  While there is overlap between the State and City requirements, there are differences that employers should note.
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The opioid epidemic is causing employers to consider the best ways to ensure a safe workplace, but companies should be careful when addressing employees’ prescription drug use.  Recent court filings and settlements by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission illustrate the potential pitfalls employers face when attempting to implement a drug-free workplace.
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California was one of the leading states to tackle pay discrimination by banning inquiries into salary history.  California Labor Code Section 432.2, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, prohibits public and private employers from seeking or relying upon the salary history of applicants for employment.  But some of the law’s terms were undefined and some of the provisions were unclear, so after Section 432.2 went into effect, employers had questions about how to remain compliant with the law when hiring new employees. Acknowledging the need for clarity, Governor Jerry Brown signed an amendment into law on July 18, 2018.
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