New York State significantly amended its antidiscrimination laws, with many of the changes effective as of October 11, 2019. The state issued updated FAQ guidance regarding these new requirements on October 29, 2019.
As we approach the November 2019 elections, New York employers may want to keep in mind the state’s recently amended Election Law, which entitles employees to time off to vote.
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.
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.
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).
As we previously reported, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed an omnibus bill that overhauls New York’s antidiscrimination laws and uproot precedent upon which employers have relied for decades in defending harassment claims.
As we previously reported, the New York State Senate and Assembly recently passed Senate Bill 5248A and Senate Bill 6549. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed both bills, and both became law on July 10, 2019.
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.
In response to the #MeToo movement, a number of states have adopted legislation addressing sexual harassment claims. These include Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. Some of these state statutes attempt to ban or restrict arbitration for sexual harassment claims.
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.
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).
Taking a page out of New York City’s book to address the estimated 36 percent of workers in Westchester County, New York, who lack paid sick leave benefits, in October 2018 the Westchester County Board of Legislators passed the Earned Sick Leave Law (ESLL).
On April 1, 2019, New York State passed its 2019‒2020 budget with an amended Election Law §3-110, which provides employees with time off to vote.
On March 6, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided Fox v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, eliminating any uncertainty concerning whether an employee can assert a hostile work environment claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The New York City Council recently passed two bills addressing lactation rooms for breastfeeding mothers
In November 2017, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) issued a proposed predictive scheduling rule that would have imposed various call-in pay requirements when shifts are scheduled or cancelled on short notice or when employees are on call.
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.”
On February 19, 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) issued a sweeping and detailed legal enforcement guidance outlining new protections for New Yorkers who maintain “natural hair or hairstyles most closely associated with Black people.”
Westchester County, New York, which is located on the outskirts of the New York City metropolitan area, has enacted a ban-the-box law that places limits on an employer’s ability to make preemployment inquiries into and statements about a job applicant’s criminal history.
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.
Effective October 9, 2018, New York State requires all employers to (i) establish a sexual harassment prevention policy and (ii) provide all employees with annual sexual harassment prevention training that must initially be completed by October 9, 2019 (i.e., one year after the law’s effective date).
In 2019, a number of states’ minimum wage rates will increase.
Effective December 31, 2018, the salary basis thresholds for some executive and administrative exempt employees, the minimum wage rate, and the permitted tip credits and uniform maintenance pay, among other things, will increase.
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.
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.
As we previously reported, New York State and New York City each recently passed aggressive laws to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.
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.
The New York State Legislature and New York City Council have proposed, passed, and implemented significant laws governing a wide range of workplace issues at a dizzying rate. For private employers, trying to keep up with the flurry of new laws is a daunting task.