Employment & Business Litigation Pointers - Volume II, No. 1


Employment & Business Litigation Pointers

Volume II, No. 1
Thursday, April 15, 2021


As a public service, we are pleased to present this issue of Employment & Business Litigation Pointers, which aims to provide our clients and subscribers with timely information and practical, business-oriented solutions to the latest employment and general business litigation developments.  In some jurisdictions, newsletters such as this may be considered: Attorney Advertising.
If you know of others who may wish to subscribe to this free publication, please feel free to forward it. If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe, please do so at the bottom of this newsletter.


  A Note from Joseph S. Brown, Esq.

This edition of Employment & Business Litigation Pointers focuses on two issues that have been at the forefront of recent news stories in the Empire State.  Most significantly, New York just passed a law legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, which raises a number of important employment law questions discussed in my alert aptly titled “What the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Means for NY Employers.”  Governor Cuomo has also been at the center of an investigation involving sexual harassment allegations, which serve as a timely reminder from Ann Evanko about “Tips on Complying with New York’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Rules.” 

To round out the issue, we include a very informative article from Brian Mark in our Melville, NY office entitled “Common Law Indemnification – A Primer.”   Utilizing Common Law Indemnity as a Risk Transfer mechanism in Labor Law cases, Brian analyzes when Common Law Indemnity is available, to which entities it is available, and how best to either obtain or avoid indemnity depending on your position in the specific situation. He also addresses the interplay of Common Law Indemnity with Contractual Indemnity as a Risk Transfer strategy. 

Finally, this April, the firm was pleased to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day and Celebrate Diversity Month.  We kicked things off on April 2 with the Hurwitz & Fine team (and family and pets) wearing blue to support World Autism Awareness Day, which celebrates the countless ways that people with autism contribute to our families, communities, the nation and the world. The firm’s Diversity & Inclusion committee also organized a virtual presentation with Dr. Kathy Ralabate Doody, a professor of special education at Buffalo State, for the firm in recognition of April being both Autism Awareness and Celebrate Diversity month. Her presentation on “ASD – Disability and Diversity” aimed to bring acceptance, education and understanding.  Prior to introducing Dr. Doody, I briefly told the story of my 11-year-old son who has autism and how he has taught me to embrace differences and understand what makes someone special.  In my experience, taking the time and effort to understand what makes someone special is essential to interrupting one’s implicit biases and building an inclusive environment.   


What the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Means for NY Employers
By Joseph S. Brown, Esq.

On March 31, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed the “Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act” (“MRTA”) which legalized the recreational use of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21. The MRTA significantly impacts the ability of New York employers to maintain a drug-free workplace.  More specifically, the MRTA amends New York Law Labor Law Section 201-d, which protects employees’ right to engage in certain recreational activities outside of work.  This alert summarizes the changes to Section 201-d and discusses what steps employers should take to prepare themselves for compliance with the new legislation.

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Tips on Complying with New York's Sexual Harassment Prevention Rules
By Ann E. Evanko, Esq.

In recent weeks we have been confronted with various media articles replete with incidents of powerful men accused of sexual harassment, unacceptable sexual comments, and other sexual misconduct in the workplace. Such claims, whether substantiated or not, can cost employees their jobs and careers and it can cost employers unexpected defense costs and disruption of their business operations as they become embroiled in messy litigation.

This list of those accused and under investigation is lengthy but it is not just well-known individuals and high net-worth companies that are the subject of claims. It occurs in all sorts of businesses, large and small.  The claims can be against women as well although less prevalent.

But more than being the right thing to do, it is essential that you take the necessary steps to ensure that your company complies with the New York laws on preventing sexual harassment and by doing so, you significantly raise the odds that your employees and your business will not make the kind of unwanted headlines that others have faced.  These recent high-profile cases demonstrate that it is not enough to simply adopt a policy, provide one-time training, and then allow the policies to collect dust.  Sexual harassment prevention must be part of a well-planned compliance program.

Now is a good time to revisit your compliance program on sexual harassment prevention.

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Common Law Indemnification – A Primer 
By Brian F. Mark, Esq. of our Melville office

What is Common Law Indemnification and Who Can Assert it?

Indemnification, in general terms, is the right of one party to shift a loss to another and may be based upon an express contract or an implied obligation.  Bellevue S. Assoc. v. HRH Constr. Corp., 78 N.Y.2d 282 (1991).  Based on a separate duty owed the indemnitee by the indemnitor, common law indemnification, or implied indemnification, permits one who was compelled to pay for the wrong of another to recover from the wrongdoer the damages paid to the injured party.  D’Ambrosio v. City of New York, 55 N.Y.2d 454, 460 (1982); Curreri v. Heritage Prop. Inv. Trust, Inc., 48 A.D.3d 505, 507 (2d Dept. 2008).

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Joseph S. Brown, Esq.

Hurwitz & Fine's Labor & Employment team is here to
answer your questions:

Labor & Employment Law
Ann E. Evanko, Esq. ([email protected])
Andrea Schillaci, Esq. ([email protected])
Joseph S. Brown, Esq.
Amber E. Storr, Esq. ([email protected])
Katherine L. Wood, Esq.

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