New Requirements and Looming Deadlines in October 2019: What New York Employers Need to Know

As we previously reported this past summer, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed Senate Bill 6549, which amended Section 194 of the New York Labor Law to prohibit wage differentials based on any protected class. As we also reported, the State Senate and Assembly also passed an omnibus bill that overhauled New York’s antidiscrimination laws. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed these bills into law on July 10 and August 12, 2019, respectively. As a result, several new laws are slated to take effect in October 2019.

New York State Doubles Down on Data Privacy, Sets High Bar for “Reasonable Safety Standards”

On July 25, 2019, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law two bills aimed at increasing the obligations of entities handling computerized private data. The Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act (SHIELD Act) expands the requirements for notifying affected parties in the event of a data breach and sets forth a demanding list of security measures that must be implemented to “maintain reasonable safeguards” to protect private information.

California’s New Hairstyle Antidiscrimination Law May Signal the Beginning of a National Trend

Signaling a growing movement to align culturally inclusive practices with legal protections, California has become the first state to expressly ban discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture associated with a person’s race. On July 3, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsome signed into law Senate Bill No. 188, the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act (CROWN Act).

New York Poised to Enact Tougher Laws on Pay Equity and Salary History Inquiries

Continuing the trend of substantial and expansive legislative changes in employment law, the New York State Senate and Assembly have passed Senate Bill 5248A and Senate Bill 6549. The first bill, S5248A, will prohibit wage differentials based on any protected class and will take effect 90 days after being signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The second, S6549, will prohibit private sector employers from asking for wage or salary history as a requirement for a job interview, job application, job offer, or promotion and will take effect 180 days after being signed by Governor Cuomo. The governor is expected to sign the bills into law.

Substantial Changes Coming to New York Employment Discrimination Laws

On the last day of the 2019–2020 legislative session, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed an omnibus bill. This legislation, once effective, will overhaul New York’s antidiscrimination laws and uproot precedent that employers have relied upon for decades in defending harassment claims.

New York’s Highest Court Upholds 13-Hour Rule for Payment of Live-in Home Health Aides

In two recent companion cases, Andryeyeva v. New York Health Care, Inc. and Moreno v. Future Care Health Services, Inc., the New York Court of Appeals upheld the New York State Department of Labor’s (NYSDOL) 13-hour rule for the payment of home health aides working 24-hour shifts. Under this rule, an employer may pay home health aides for only 13 hours of a 24-hour shift if the aides receive at least 3 hours of meal break time and at least 8 hours of sleep (at least 5 of which must be uninterrupted).

Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) Takes Effect in New York

On February 24, 2019, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) became effective in the state of New York. GENDA bars discrimination, harassment, and retaliation on the basis of “gender identity or expression,” which is defined as “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.”

New Year, New Laws: Further Guidance on Complying With New York’s Anti–Sexual Harassment Laws

New York State and New York City passed sweeping laws aimed at combating sexual harassment in the workplace last year. While many requirements of these laws already went into effect in 2018, the annual anti–sexual harassment training requirement under the Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act goes into effect on April 1, 2019.

Racing Against the Clock: New York State Issues Final Guidance on Sexual Harassment Policies and Training

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently enacted an aggressive anti-sexual harassment law with stringent requirements for employers’ anti-harassment policies and training. A key component of the new law goes into effect on October 9, 2018, and requires every employer in New York State to establish a sexual harassment prevention policy.

“Ban The Box” Turns 20: Decoding the Current Framework

Twenty years ago, on a warm summer day, Hawaii enacted a restriction on employer inquiries into an applicant’s work history until after a conditional offer of employment. Intended to give applicants with criminal histories a fair shot at employment, the law—the first state “ban the box” law—crystalized a movement that, in time, would yield similar restrictions in 12 states and 17 localities (for private employers). The result is a crisscrossing jumble of requirements with little uniformity, putting employers in a difficult position when dealing with applicants (and sometimes even existing employees) in different jurisdictions.

Empire State Update: New York State’s and New York City’s Expansive New Sexual Harassment Laws

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law the 2018–2019 New York State budget, which includes components aimed at combating sexual harassment in the workplace that impose significant new obligations on private and public employers. The New York City Council similarly introduced the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, which is also aimed at combating sexual harassment in the workplace and imposes substantial new obligations on most employers in New York City, in addition to the new New York State laws.