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Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP

Law office of Bonnie Lawston

Law Offices of William Cafaro

Cuomo Takes Over Governors Group as Virus Batters States

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The governor who in large measure has defined states’ up-and-down fight against the coronavirus, including occasional combat with the White House, is poised to widen his national spotlight.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo removes a mask as he holds a news conference in a Monday, June 15, 2020 file photo, in Tarrytown, N.Y. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo takes the reins of the group representing the nation’s governors, which has played a pivotal role in communicating with the Trump administration about state needs during the coronavirus pandemic. As head of the bipartisan National Governors Association, Cuomo will have to walk a fine line between his naturally combative style with the White House and a deferential approach favored by Republicans. Photo: Mark Lennihan, AP / Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reservedNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to take the reins of the National Governors Association on Wednesday during a meeting held virtually because of the disease.

The association represents governors in all 50 states and territories and has emerged from the political shadows since the pandemic erupted in the U.S. The chairman who is handing off to Cuomo, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, has pushed the group to put bipartisan pressure on the Trump administration to provide personal protective gear, ventilators, testing kits and budget help to the states. Read More

Cuomo already has brought some governors together to collaborate on issues such as travel restrictions and sent his staff to help other states with testing, tracing and protective gear. The third-term governor could use his new national platform to seek more uniformity among the states in how they are responding to the virus surge, perhaps influencing national policy.

“The common interest of these governors is not a partisan agenda,” said University of Illinois at Chicago political science professor Chris Mooney. “Cuomo as a smart person is not going to raise those issues because he knows they’ll fracture the coalition.”

Associated Press writers Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland, contributed to this report.

This article was reposted from Marina Villeneuve: Associated Press

Andrew Cuomo is the Governor of New York State

U.S. Supreme Court: Religious Institutions Can Discriminate Against Employees

U.S. Supreme Court: Religious Institutions Can Discriminate Against Employees

If you work for a religious institution, you may not have any protection against discrimination or harassment at work. Normally, federal laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and state laws like New Mexico’s Human Rights Act, forbid discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, and disability.  In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morressey-Berru, ___ S.Ct. ___, the United States Supreme Court held last week that religious institutions can discriminate against its lay school teachers without any legal consequence.  These groups have a right to decide matters of “church government” without government interference.  The Court interpreted employment decisions as the kind of “internal management decisions” that are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.  It also provided a new framework for looking at these claims that will make it harder for employees to bring any kind of discrimination or harassment claim against religious institution employers in the future.

In the past, courts would look at a series of factors to decide whether an employee fell under a “ministerial exception” or not. If the employee was a “minister,” then the courts would not intervene in a religious institution’s employment decisions, regardless of whether there was blatant discrimination or otherwise unlawful harassment.  In the Our Lady of Guadalupe School case, the Supreme Court made it clear that it will not apply any “rigid test” to determine whether or not someone is a “minister.”  Instead, the Court explained that future cases will allow an employer to present “all relevant circumstances” to determine whether or not the employee is sufficiently involved in the organizations’ ministry in a particular religion.

As Justices Sotomayor and Justice Ginsburg explained in their dissent, this decision will expose thousands of religious school teachers to discrimination and harassment without consequence.  For example, a woman can be forced to endure sexual harassment, a man may be harassed for contracting cancer, and a person who expresses their LGBTQ identity may be fired on the spot.

In Our Lady of Guadalupe School, both employees were elementary school teachers who were “lay” teachers, not formal ministers.  One sued her employer for age discrimination, and the other sued for disability discrimination. Because both of them had some duties that involved teaching religious education to their students, the Court decided that they qualified as “ministers” and could not sue their employers for discrimination.  It did not matter to the Court that these teachers mostly taught non-religious subjects, had no religious title or significant religious training.  Also, the Court didn’t question how the employer decided whether the teachers were important to their ministerial mission.  This could lead to the loss of protection for religious school janitorial staff, bus drivers and cafeteria workers if they are classified as “ministerial” employees as well.

Contact Deena Buchanan to schedule a consultation at (505)900-3559

Contact Deena Buchanan to schedule a consultation at (505)900-3559

The Buchanan Law Firm represents employees in discrimination and harassment cases and provides counsel to employers who have questions about legal compliance.  If you have questions about how this decision may affect you, call us at (505) 900-3559. New York City office: (212) 583-7400

LONG ISLAND TEEN DESPERATELY NEEDS A KIDNEY

Let’s get the word out for Madison, she needs a Kidney!

Madison needs a KidneyWe live in very troubling times where Covid-19 has taken control of our everyday lives. All we can do is be positive and know in the near future we will have a vaccine. In the meantime, although this blog is for attorneys, we also have compassion and a following that we need to desperately get the word out for a wonderful teenager that desperately needs a Kidney!

UPDATE: July 15, 2020: Madison still needs a kidney. If you saw another update that she received a transplant, that was true but tragically that kidney failed, and she is back on dialysis and needs a kidney. Please, please continue to share this and just maybe a miracle will happen.

My niece is Madison. One day a strong, healthy teenager; high school cheerleader, a life guard. Suddenly struck down with complete irreversible kidney failure. She needs a kidney. Now. I beg you to share this and be a link in a chain that we hope will lead to a miracle. A donor. Please help me make this go viral and maybe, just maybe, it will reach someone willing to be tested. There is no cost and it can be done anywhere. My name is Joan S. Arbiter and I am from Long Island, NY. Email me at MadisonsKidney@gmail.com. I will put you in touch with the transplant team. We post and share so many things on social media that really don’t matter. Please post and share something that does. This really is a matter of life and death. You could be the one that makes a difference. Please don’t break this miracle chain.

Blood type A or O needed. Email me at MadisonsKidney@gmail.com with any questions.

Let’s all look inside ourselves and our network of friends and see if we can help Madison Now!

Employers Beware: Breaking Wage Laws May Be On Your Own Dime

Court Rules Insurance Did Not Apply to Wage Claims

Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorney: Deena Buchanan

Breaking Wage LawsWhen employers are sued for breaking wage and hour laws, they face both the high costs of defending themselves in litigation, plus potentially crippling damages awards to the employees. Some employers believe that if they purchase Employment Practices Liability Insurance (“EPLI”) or other kinds of business liability insurance, that their insurance company will pick up the tab.  Not so, for a California employer who was recently sued in a class action lawsuit that alleged it didn’t pay its employees for not paying overtime, minimum wage, and for meals and rest breaks as required by California law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Read More

While this case does not govern in New Mexico, it provides a very important lesson to all employers.  While EPLI coverage is important and can provide both legal costs and payment of various employment claims, not all claims are covered. The language of each insurance policy is critical, and New Mexico courts will examine the policy language carefully to determine whether there is insurance coverage for a disputed claim.  Wage and hour claims are often excluded from these policies because they are so expensive.  The bottom line: employers should make sure they comply with all wage and hour laws, and if they do not, the risk may be on them.

Buchanan Law Firm represents employees and counsels employers on wage and hour matters.  If you have questions about your rights or obligations under wage and hour rules, call us at 505-900-3559.

Adapting Business Marketing to the Times

Remolding Your Business Based on Consumers’ Needs

Adapting Business Marketing to the Times

Adapting business marketing to fit the current pandemic situation has been on the minds of business owners all over the country. For decades, the businesses that have adapted have been the ones that survived. And by adapting, they’ve found a way to meet the public’s needs.

With many people still curtailing shopping ventures or exclusively shopping online, digital marketing has become a pivotal marketing channel for businesses. If you want to increase your revenue, let digital marketing help you do that.

What Are Some Ways for Adapting Business Marketing?

For one thing, consumers appreciate transparency. By transparency, we mean businesses should provide information about organizational changes they’ve made. All businesses have gone through changes during COVID-19. Examples include the following:

  • Days of operation
  • Business hours
  • Company policies on face coverings
  • Social distancing policies
  • Arrangements made to allow better social distancing
  • Actions being taken to keep areas sanitized

We live in uncertain times. Potential customers and clients value businesses that share information. When people search and find your business on their smart phone, be sure you make your operations information available. This is one way of adapting business marketing for your potential customers or clients.

User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful marketing tool. What is it? As the name suggests, it is information that consumers provide about your products or services. UGC may come in the form of customer reviews or comments about your brand on Facebook or some other social media platform. According to streetfight.com, 90% of customers or clients rely on user-generated content when making purchasing decisions. Reviews, videos and images with customers or clients advocating your product or service speak for themselves. They effectively promote your brand.

Google Review Attributes

To make reviewing a business easier for users, Google has added review attributes. Google asks, “What do you like about this place?” and provides a list of attributes. For example, positive attributes could include: professionalism, quality, responsiveness and value. The attributes also give reviewers ideas about what to say in the review, such as: “The company stays in touch and makes sure I’m happy with the service.” Google review attributes allow businesses to receive structured feedback that can help them improve their promotion.

Talk with Us About Your Marketing Goals

At Get Business Marketing, we’re always looking for ways to help our clients make their businesses more successful. As far as we’re concerned, there’s no better news than hearing our clients are getting a lot of business.

Step by Step Website Building

Step by Step Website Building

Boosting Your Business

Although many businesses have reopened, we’re still in uncharted territory while we cope and do business during the current pandemic. Now more so than ever before, people are plugged into the digital domain.

As of April 2020, statistics showed there were 4.57 billion Internet users worldwide, which is approximately 59 percent of the world’s population. Online traffic increased by 10.2 percent in June 2020 compared with January and Feb 2020. Online transactions jumped 32.9 percent (Statistics from statistic.com).

Even when shopping locally or finding a business to meet their needs, people search online. The importance of an online presence has never been as pressing as it is today.

Step by Step, Building your Website

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and that holds true for your website. Building websites is a step by step process, and our Get Business Marketing web development and marketing team can help you with building a site.

What are the steps involved?

Let’s keep it simple. No fancy technical jargon. We’ll explain the process to you in easy to follow terms. The following are the bare bones, basic steps involved with building a website:

  • Deciding the main purpose of your website [to drive business for your product or service, to create an online presence for developing your brand, to provide information (for example news about your industry or educational info) to offer entertainment, etc.]
  • Creating a web design to convey the right image. Read More

Talk with Us About Your Ideal Website

At Get Business Marketing, we make clients our priority and work hard to fulfill their marketing needs. Contact a NY web marketing specialist today.

Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) Leave

The United States Department of Labor’s Wage Hour Division: FFCRA

Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) Rules on Parental Leave Due to Summer Camp Closures

Parents now may be entitled to leave due to summer camp or summer enrichment program closures. The United States Department of Labor’s Wage Hour Division announced new guidance today for families who need to take leave under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) due to summer camp closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read the full guidance here for more information.

Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) due to summer camp closuresUnder the FFCRA leave, eligible parents may take up to two weeks of paid sick leave and up to twelve weeks of expanded family and medical leave (10 weeks of this may be paid).  This depends upon whether the employer is covered by the FFCRA.  Parents may qualify for this leave if they are unable to work or tele-work because their child’s school or childcare provider is closed.  The FFCRA also applies to summer camps and summer enrichment camps, but employees must provide the employer with some detailed information as to why this care is not available to them. Read More

Contact Deena Buchanan to schedule a consultation at (505)900-3559

Contact Deena Buchanan to schedule a consultation at (505)900-3559

In general, employees who request FFCRA leave must tell their employer they need the leave.  They need to give a statement as to why they need the leave, and why they are unable to work.  Additionally, the employee must give the name of their child, the name of the school or “place of care”, and a statement that there is no other suitable person available to care for the child.  See 29 C.F.R. Section 826.100(e). Read More

LGBTQ discrimination is now illegal under Title VII

 LGBTQ discrimination is now illegal under Title VII. The U. S. Supreme Court Supreme Court: federal law protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination

LGBTQ discrimination is now illegal under Title VII. The U. S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County today, confirming the law of the land. “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.” For many years, courts debated whether sexual orientation was protected under the sex discrimination rules.

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/17-1618_hfci.pdf

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/15/politics/supreme-court-lgbtq-employment-case/index.html

States like New Mexico had resolved this question on their own by specifically outlawing discrimination and harassment based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in state laws like the New Mexico Human Rights Act. While the EEOC had issued guidance in 2015 that sexual orientation discrimination was prohibited under the Civil Rights Act,  many federal courts refused to enforce the law that way because there was no guidance from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court resolved all doubts today when it held that this discrimination is illegal under federal law.  Employers must now treat all LGBTQ individuals equally in the workplace or risk federal lawsuits and EEOC enforcement.

Buchanan Law Firm can help you understand your rights and obligations under Title VII and state discrimination laws. Call us for an appointment today (505)900-3559.

Covid-19, Reopening NYC and Long Island

What to Expect?

Covid-19, Reopening NYC and Long IslandWith covid-19 decreasing, reopening NYC and Long Island is a welcome change for many. However, if China serves as an example, perhaps we can learn from their experience of reopening cities in heavily populated areas.

According to Streetsblog USA, when China reopened, the surge in traffic rapidly returned to pre covid-19 levels. Rush hour traffic resulted in congestion, and air quality deteriorated with an increasing number of cars hitting the road.

It is possible that New York City and other highly populated areas will experience similar traffic and pollution consequences.

Covid-19, Reopening NYC and Long Island: What It Means for Traffic

Less driving was a benefit during the pandemic. It brought about cleaner air quality and fewer traffic deaths. Ways to maintain safety while reopening could include:

  • Protective equipment for transit workers
  • Minimize crowding
  • Improved ventilation on buses
  • Reduced non-essential travel
  • Whenever possible replace vehicles with bikes, scooter and microbial modes of travel

If the economy can get back on its feet through alternative ways of working, it is to our advantage. Less driving saved lives, not only from the coronavirus contagion, but also from traffic accidents.

How Courts Are Reopening

NYC Courts as of June 8, entered into Phase I of the reopening. By June 10, judges were back in assigned courthouses. While court officers and clerks continued to work at courthouses throughout the pandemic, judges and a limited number of staff are just now back working onsite. Some actions will still be conducted virtually to deal with the high volume of legal traffic.

At this point, the entire State of New York court system is engaged in either Phase I or Phase II reopening. Planning is in place to monitor and determine the volume of traffic for each phase of reopening the courts. Wearing masks and social distancing is still required to keep everyone safe from covid-19 risks.

Have You Have Questions about Pursuing a Case During Covid-19?

Many people have questions about how COVID-19 could affect their personal injury case. At Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we continue to help to many clients and are glad to answer your questions.

Reopening Your Business During COVID-19?

How to Boost Business with Online Marketing

Internet Marketing during Covid-19Reopening a business during COVID-19 presents challenges for small and large businesses alike. Many businesses have lost revenue during this time. Owners want to reopen, and yet fears of the pandemic still linger. Therefore, for many business owners, taking a gradual approach seems like the best idea. While people are working out how to do business face-to-face, many have benefited by boosting their online presence. The trend of relying on digital communication has been increasing for years, but never has it been more important than during these uncertain times.

A Forbes magazine article discussed how businesses would be “more reliant than ever on their digital strategy…in many cases it will be the deciding factor whether they make it through the tough times ahead.”

Live conferences, trade shows, exhibitions and events are still on hold. Meanwhile, business owners who were used to doing business face-to-face have resorted to other alternatives.

Is Your Website Not Getting Traffic?

If your site isn’t getting traffic, our web experts can help. For websites to do well, it takes a combination of factors. You should have an attractive user-friendly website, effective SEO and use online marketing strategies. Fresh online content can help you place well with the search engines and build credibility with potential clients or customers. To engage viewers, you need to target the right audiences. And, your web content should have value and be organically written. It should also address the questions and problems online viewers are concerned about, in addition to offering workable solutions.

What about SEO? That’s where our SEO specialist comes in. You need to know what the latest search trends are. Our professionals can write articles incorporating the most frequently searched keywords to help viewers find your website.

Think about Improving Your Online Presence

For more than the past decade, clients have trusted Web Perseverance with their online marketing needs. We are glad to discuss how we can help you promote your business. Contact a NY Internet marketing specialist today.