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Blog Posts (322)
  • Marijuana is Legal Now in NYS – What are Employers to do?

    New York has long prohibited any adverse action against employees or potential employees based on their legal activities, including the use of legal consumable products while off-duty (NYS Labor Law Section 201-d). Marijuana, used in accordance with state law, is now in the lawful activity’s category as of March 31, 2021, akin to alcohol and tobacco. Thus, the mere use of marijuana by employees during off hours will generally be of no relevance whatsoever to employers. The symptoms of impairment are not defined in the laws and may be clarified by Department of Law regulations. Various exceptions to the lawful activity’s protection for off-duty marijuana use exist. First, federal law remains unchanged in its classification of marijuana as illegal; so, for example, the mandatory testing of truck drivers for drugs, including marijuana, and requirement that positive testers not be permitted to drive, remains unchanged. Second, employers may take disciplinary action against employees who manifest specific articulable symptoms of marijuana impairment that decrease or lessen the employees' ability to perform their job duties or would result in the employers violating their state and federal duties to provide workplaces free from recognized hazards. Employers are advised not to test for marijuana in pre-employment or random drug tests, as its use outside of work hours that does not result in impairment at work is a lawful activity. Moreover, having such knowledge may enable employees to make a lawful activities claim to avoid discipline on a separate legitimate ground. However, where there are specific articulable symptoms of impairment, a positive reasonable suspicion test would bolster the employer’s decision to discipline the employee. That discipline must be pursuant to an established workplace policy or substance abuse program. As always, if you have any questions regarding the issues discussed above, or if you have any other Labor & Employment Law concerns, please contact the Underberg & Kessler attorney who regularly handles your legal matters or Paul Keneally, the author of this piece, here or at (585) 258-2882.

  • COBRA Subsidy Provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

    Recently passed by Congress and signed by President Biden, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides employees who are involuntarily terminated, or whose hours are reduced voluntarily or involuntarily, with up to six months of subsidized COBRA coverage. Generally, employers will have to front the COBRA premium subsidy and will be reimbursed by the federal government through a refundable tax credit against the employer’s Medicare tax. The ARPA COBRA subsidy is available between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021, but may also apply to those whose employment ended as far back as November 1, 2019 as it applies to those whose initial COBRA period ends or would have ended if COBRA were elected/did not lapse during or after that six month period. The standard 18-month COBRA period for most people is not extended by this new law. Where the 18-month COBRA period ends before September 30, 2021 or starts after April 1, 2021, the subsidy will end up being less than six months. Excluded from the right to the subsidy are those terminated for gross misconduct as found by a judicial or administrative body, those who resign, those eligible for other group coverage, and those eligible for Medicare. Beyond the substance of the law, the trickiest part of the new subsidy requirement is the obligation employers will have to review their files and determine who among those terminated since November 1, 2019 may be eligible for the subsidy. Notice will need to be sent by May 30, 2021 regarding the benefit and the special enrollment period available. The federal Department of Labor (DOL) has been directed by the new law to provide model notices by April 11, 2021 for employer use and standard COBRA notices will also need to change. Employers are encouraged to consult with their accountants about the tax credit procedure and, lastly, be mindful of how the new subsidy will work with any existing COBRA funding they may do such as in severance plans or agreements or retirement programs. It is expected the DOL will issue guidance/regulations regarding the subsidy in the coming days. If you have any questions regarding the issues discussed above or if you have any other Labor & Employment Law concerns, please contact the Underberg & Kessler attorney who regularly handles your legal matters or Paul Keneally, the author of this piece, here or at (585) 258-2882.

  • Advisory on Ensuring Access to In-person Health Services During COVID-19

    This week, the New York State Department of Health released new guidance to local health departments, healthcare providers, and facilities confirming that in-person health services, including routine preventative care and follow-up examinations or treatments, should not be postponed. Starting on April 1, 2021, individuals seeking services may bring a companion with them to care appointments. Companions are required to follow provider protocols for temperature checks and symptom screenings and to wear appropriate face coverings as well as practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or other infection disease should notify providers before coming to the office or clinic. Providers should identify and contact patients who have missed routine preventative care or follow-up appointments in the last year and communicate with patients regarding plans to reduce transmission of COVID-19 among patients and healthcare personnel. If you have any questions regarding the issues discussed above or if you have any other Health Care Law concerns, please contact the Underberg & Kessler attorney who regularly handles your legal matters or David Tang, the author of this piece, here or at (585) 258-2845.

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  • LITIGATION ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Careers | Underberg & Kessler LLP

    LITIGATION ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT This Position Reports to Our Rochester, NY Law Office We are a growing mid-sized law firm, and we have an opening for an Administrative Assistant for its Litigation Department in Rochester, NY. Our Firm provides legal services for clients that include municipalities, businesses, national retailers, financial institutions, and individuals. We look to hire bright individuals who are team players with a strong work ethic, sound judgment, and who take ownership of their projects. Qualified candidates must possess exceptional attention to detail and accuracy, be able to work in a fast-paced environment and provide excellent client service. This high-energy, detail-oriented professional will have sharp organizational skills and be responsible for performing tasks to efficiently assist attorneys and paralegals, as well as provide back-up support, as needed, to other team members. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, assisting with final preparation of litigation documents (briefs, motion papers, etc.) for filing in court, assisting with document productions in response to subpoenas and discovery. The Firm is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Firm offers a collaborative and collegial environment, a competitive salary, and benefits package. To learn more about our Firm, please view additional pages on our website. Should you be unable to submit your application due to a disability, please contact Karen Marr, Operations Manager, at , to ask for an accommodation or an alternative application process. kmarr@underbergkessler.com Apply

  • MORTGAGE LENDING PARALEGAL Careers | Underberg & Kessler LLP

    MORTGAGE LENDING PARALEGAL This Position Reports to Our Rochester, NY Law Office We are a growing mid-sized law firm, and we are seeking a Paralegal for our Residential Real Estate Mortgage Lending Practice Group in Rochester, NY. Our ideal candidate must be detail-oriented with a minimum of three years of experience working on residential mortgage transactions with the demonstrated ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment. Working knowledge of residential document generation programs and/or title report preparation is a plus. We look to hire bright individuals who are motivated self-starters and team players with a strong work ethic, enthusiasm for providing excellent client service, and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment. Some firms look for employees who live and breathe the law. But at Underberg & Kessler, we look for people with a variety of interests and a rich knowledge base. We believe that well-rounded individuals are of greater benefit to our clients because they bring more depth and understanding to the job. In a familial, yet professional, atmosphere, our commitment to clients extends from the partnership, to the associates, to the support staff. The Firm is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Firm offers a collaborative and collegial environment, a competitive salary, and benefits package that includes, but is not limited to, medical, dental and vision plans, 401K, disability and life insurance, and paid vacation. To learn more about our Firm, please visit other pages of our website. If you are unable to submit your application due to a disability, please contact Karen Marr, Operations Manager, at to ask for an accommodation or an alternative application process. kmarr@underbergkessler.com Apply

  • RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY Careers | Underberg & Kessler LLP

    RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY This Position Reports to Our Rochester, NY Law Office We are a growing mid- sized law firm, and we have an opening for an Associate Attorney to join our Real Estate Practice Group in Rochester, NY. Qualified candidates must be admitted to practice in New York State and have two to four years of experience with residential real estate transactions, including mortgage lending. This position is responsible for ensuring legal compliance with a strong background managing non-attorney closing personnel required, familiarity with closing software, and the ability to work in an accurate, detail-oriented and highly productive manner. We look to hire bright individuals who are team players with a strong work ethic, excellent written and verbal communication skills, sound judgment, and who take ownership of their projects. The Firm is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We offer a collaborative and collegial environment, a competitive salary, and benefits package that includes, but is not limited to, medical, dental and vision plans, 401K, disability and life insurance, and paid vacation. To learn more about our Firm, please visit other pages of our website. If you are unable to submit your application due to a disability, please contact Karen Marr, Operations Manager, at to ask for an accommodation or an alternative application process. kmarr@underbergkessler.com Apply

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