Law Offices of William Cafaro

Law Offices of William Cafaro

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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


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 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 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, 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.