On June 22, 2023, Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee signed legislation increasing the possible criminal penalty for an employer committing wage theft to that of a felony beginning January 1, 2024.
Faith Gets a Fair Shake: Supreme Court Bolsters Protections for Religious Accommodations in the Workplace
In a unanimous decision on June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court in Groff v. DeJoy, Postmaster General, No. 22-174, overturned lower court decisions and reiterated what it means for an employer to experience “undue hardship” when asked to provide religious accommodations.
On May 30, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a government agency vested with safeguarding employees’ rights, issued a crucial memorandum targeting a long-standing thorn in the side of workers: non-compete agreements. In this article, Sinapi Law unpacks what this memo means and why it could potentially alter the landscape for workers’ rights in the United States.
Game Changer in the Qualified Immunity Debate: Courts Have Been Applying the Wrong Text of the Civil Rights Act of 1871
There has been a recent game-changer in the qualified immunity debate. Scholarly research has recently revealed that the codification (the process of entering an existing law into a jurisdiction’s legal code/statute) of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 as found in 42 USC Sec. 1983 excluded a crucial clause in the Civil Rights Act of 1871 actually passed by Congress, specifically, that no existing law, statute, regulation, or prior customs was to be used to get around the rights and remedies created under the Act. The obvious intent and purpose of this clause was to cancel all common law immunities as a defense to claims under Section 1983—including qualified immunity.
Religious accommodation and exemptions have been in the news a lot recently, with both very good and very inaccurate information being thrown around. While there is a great deal of litigation and new legislation on the topic, we thought it may be helpful to share some of what we know. While the issue of religion and the law is vast, this piece focuses on one of our firm’s primary practice areas: accommodation in the workplace.
We recently learned that some employers are telling their workers that Rhode Island’s new pay equity law does not apply to them, and even that it does not affect wages at all. While we cannot know everyone’s precise situation, it struck us that it would be helpful for employees to have the essentials of the new law available to them. While the act does many things, the highlights for workers are summarized here.
DOCUMENT EVERYTHING: The Importance of Documenting Complaints, Interactions, and Events in Employment Discrimination and Retaliation Cases
Documentation is a crucial aspect in employment discrimination and retaliation cases. It helps to provide evidence of any discriminatory or retaliatory behavior, which can then be used to support a complaint or lawsuit. In many cases of discrimination or retaliation, it can be difficult to prove that it actually took place. This is where documentation comes in. Keeping a record of all interactions, events, and communications related to the discrimination or retaliation can be incredibly helpful in building a case. This includes notes of any incidents, copies of emails, and any relevant documents or recordings.
Employment Law Tip: Do Not Sign Severance Agreements Without First Contacting An Employment Law Attorney
With all the layoffs going on, here’s some friendly advice to employees. DO NOT BLINDLY SIGN A SEVERANCE AGREEMENT.
The terms are usually completely one-sided and require you to agree to, among others, 1) release/waive any claims/lawsuits you have against the employer (and any other entity or individual even remotely associated with the employer), 2) overbroad and one-sided confidentiality and non-disparagement, and 3) restrictive covenants (promise not to compete, etc.).
Attorneys Richard Sinapi and Danilo Borgas were recently featured in Providence Monthly and SO Rhode Island magazines’ financial planning guides with answers to common questions asked by employees regarding their workplace rights in Rhode Island.
The ACLU of Rhode Island today announced the settlement of a lawsuit over a Pawtucket ordinance banning the posting of political signs on residential property more than 30 days before an election. The lawsuit, filed last July by attorney Richard A. Sinapi, was filed on behalf of two candidates who were running in primaries for state legislative office in the city, Cherie Cruz (House District 58) and Jennifer Stewart (House District 59), and who both have since won their primary elections.