On March 31, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalizes the adult recreational use of marijuana and revises Section 201-d of the New York Labor Law. The MRTA’s antidiscrimination employment provisions took effect immediately.
On January 5, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation that effectively ends at-will employment for fast food employees in New York City. The new law takes effect on July 4, 2021, and would make New York City the nation’s first jurisdiction to create job protections for a particular industry. However, at least some portions of the new law may be ripe to challenge on federal preemption and other grounds.
On April 3, 2020, New York State enacted a statewide paid sick leave (PSL) law impacting all private employers in New York. The law requires employers to provide up to 40 or 56 hours of annual sick leave (depending on their size and net income).
On April 14, 2020, the State of New York filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) seeking declaratory and injunctive relief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In the lawsuit, New York challenges the April 1, 2020, final rule that the DOL issued implementing the emergency family leave and paid sick leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
On March 18, 2020, at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s behest, New York State passed an emergency law that extends paid leave and additional employment protections and benefits immediately to employees involuntarily quarantined in connection with COVID-19. An initial version of the bill also included paid sick leave provisions that were not directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic and were scheduled to take effect January 1, 2021. Those provisions have been stricken from the emergency law but are expected to be passed in separate legislation.
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 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.
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.
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).
The United States is certainly as divided as ever along partisan lines leading up to the November 6, 2018 midterm elections. Many employers across the country are uneasy about managing heated political discussions in their workplaces without running afoul of employment laws.
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.
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.
On April 10, 2018, Westchester Country Executive George Latimer signed into law the Wage History Anti-Discrimination Law, which was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Westchester County Board of Legislators a day earlier. The new law will take effect 90 days following its adoption.
Effective July 18, 2018, New York City employers will be required to allow employees who have been employed for at least 120 days and who work at least 80 hours in New York City in a calendar year to make two temporary schedule changes per year for certain personal events.
As we previously reported, the New York State Paid Family Leave Law (PFL) will go into effect on January 1, 2018, requiring virtually all private employers in New York to provide paid family leave benefits to eligible employees.
In Chauca v. Abraham, No. 113 (November 20, 2017), the New York State Court of Appeals clarified the standard for awarding punitive damages under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).
The Albany County Legislature recently amended the Human Rights Law for Albany County to join New York City, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Delaware, Oregon, Puerto Rico, California, and San Francisco in banning inquiries into salary histories.
On November 10, 2017, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) released draft regulations that would amend the rules for scheduling employees covered by the Minimum Wage Order for Miscellaneous Industries and Occupations (Miscellaneous Wage Order). Specifically, the proposed rules would revise Sections 142-2.3 and 142-3.3 of the Miscellaneous Wage Order regarding call-in pay.
As we previously reported in April of 2017 and May of 2017, New York City employers may want to prepare for the New York City salary history law, which will go into effect on October 31, 2017. With limited exceptions, the law prohibits employers from asking applicants about their current or prior compensation, or relying upon salary history to determine an applicant’s compensation. In advance of the law’s effective date, the New York City Commission on Human Rights published fact sheets and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to clarify the scope of the new law. The law itself will be codified under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) at New York City Administrative Code Section 8-107(25).
In National Labor Relations Board v. Pier Sixty, LLC, No. 15-1841 (April 21, 2017), the Second Circuit upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) finding that an employee’s Facebook post, although “vulgar and inappropriate,” did not exceed the National Labor Relations Act’s (NLRA) protection. The court cautioned, however, that the claimant’s conduct sits at the “outer-bounds of protected, union-related comments.”
The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) recently proposed amended regulations that would significantly alter the salary levels for some executive and administrative exempt employees, as well as alter the permitted tip credits and uniform maintenance pay for New York hospitality employers. Just in time for the new year, the NYSDOL adopted the proposed regulations and released the final orders, which will be effective as of December 31, 2016.It also issued FAQ guidance on the increased minimum wage level levels.
As New York employers prepare for the December 1, 2016, implementation of the revised Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations, they should be aware of proposed regulations by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) relating to the New York State Labor Law. On October 19, 2016, the NYSDOL submitted a proposal to amend various provisions of the existing minimum wage orders. Notably, under the proposal, the salary levels for some executive and administrative exempt employees would likely exceed the FLSA levels starting in 2018. In addition, the proposed amendments would significantly alter the permitted tip credits for New York hospitality employers (i.e., restaurants and hotels).
On the same day that the White House released its “State Call to Action on Non-Compete Agreements,” encouraging states to adopt best practice policies in the enforcement of non-compete agreements, New York State’s Attorney General announced that he plans to introduce legislation in 2017 to curb the use of these agreements.
On November 8, 2016, voters across the country will cast their votes for president and vote in state and local elections. In New York, employers should ensure that they comply with New York’s voting leave law. Under N.Y. Election Law § 3-110(1), employers must provide their employees with “sufficient time” for “any election” so that employees may vote.
In Vasquez v. Empress Ambulance Service, Inc., No. 15-3239-cv (August 29, 2016), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals set new precedent when it held that an employer may be held liable for the retaliatory intent of a nonsupervisory employee under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
On April 4, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to phase in an increased minimum wage and guarantee paid family leave to all eligible employees throughout New York State. The legislation was part of the 2016-2017 Executive Budget and represents a significant shift in New York’s employment laws. The increased minimum wage will begin rising as of December 31, 2016, and the paid family leave law will become effective on January 1, 2018.