New York State Publishes Proposed Updated Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

In accordance with its quadrennial obligation to evaluate the impact of New York State’s Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy in the workplace, on January 12, 2023, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), in consultation with the New York State Division of Human Rights, published a proposed updated model sexual harassment prevention policy.

New York City Updates Proposed Rules for Automated Employment Decision Tools: What’s New and What’s Next

On December 23, 2022, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) published updated proposed rules to implement the city’s automated employment decision tools (AEDT) law (Local Law 144). The law conditions the use of automated employment decision tools to screen candidates for employment or employees for promotion within the city on compliance with certain requirements, including the performance of a bias audit, and the furnishing of notifications to candidates and employees.

U.S. Virgin Islands Supreme Court Affirms Compensatory Damages Award to Former Employee Claiming Age Discrimination

On December 5, 2022, the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands upheld a 2019 jury verdict, which found that Caribbean airline LIAT (1974), Ltd., had discharged its former area manage because of his age in violation of the Virgin Islands Civil Rights Act (VICRA).

New York City Postpones Enforcement of Automated Employment Decision Tools Law, Will Hold Second Public Hearing

With the January 1, 2023, effective date of New York City’s automated employment decision tools law looming, the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection announced on December 12, 2022, that it intended to convene a second public hearing and postpone enforcement of the law until April 15, 2023.

New York Enacts Law Prohibiting Discipline for Legally Protected Absences

On November 21, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law Senate Bill S1958A, which amends section 215 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL) to enhance protections for employees who take legally protected absences. The law takes effect on February 19, 2023.

New York City COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Dealt a Fatal Blow

On October 25, 2022, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Richmond County, upheld a challenge to New York City’s vaccine mandate for public-sector employees, ordered the immediate reinstatement of and back pay to former New York City Department of Sanitation employees who had challenged the mandate, and declared the vaccine mandate for private-sector employees to be arbitrary and capricious.

New York City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools Law: Proposed Rules Are Finally Here

On September 23, 2022, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection published proposed rules to implement the city’s automated employment decision tools (AEDT) law. The law, which will take effect on January 1, 2023, conditions the use of automated employment decision tools by employers and employment agencies on their compliance with certain requirements, including the performance of bias audits and the furnishing of notifications to candidates and employees. The proposed rules define several key terms, identify the requirements for a bias audit, address obligations for publishing the results of a bias audit, and specify the notices to be furnished to employees and candidates for employment.

New York City to Convene Hearing on Proposed Rules for Automated Decision Tools Legislation

As we previously reported, restrictions concerning the use of automated tools to screen candidates for employment or employees for promotion within New York City are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2023. The New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection will hold a public hearing concerning proposed rules to implement the closely watched law on Monday, October 24, 2022.

New York State’s Expanded Whistleblower Protection Law: 5 Action Items for Employers

On January 26, 2022, amendments to New York’s whistleblower protection law, codified at section 740 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL), took effect. As we previously reported, these amendments significantly expand the scope of section 740. Although New York employers that also operate in states with expansive private-sector whistleblower protection laws, such as New Jersey, Oregon, or Virginia, may not need to make significant adjustments, other employers may wish to consider updating their policies; implementing or enhancing support structures, including robust and accessible reporting mechanisms and regular training for supervisors, managers, and human resources professionals; and identifying appropriate resources for investigating complaints.

New York State Paid Sick Leave: Final Regulations Are Here

On December 22, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) published highly anticipated final regulations in the New York State Register regarding New York State Paid Sick Leave (PSL), which went into effect on September 30, 2020. These final regulations address comments received from the public following the issuance of proposed regulations published on December 9, 2020. The final regulations provide some additional clarification regarding the PSL and its requirements.

New York City to Restrict Use of Automated Employment Decision Tools: What Employers Should Know

Employers and employment agencies in New York City that currently utilize, or expect to utilize, automated tools to make employment decisions may wish to begin planning now for restrictions that will take effect on January 1, 2023, concerning the types of tools that may be utilized and the disclosures concerning such tools that must be provided to candidates for employment or promotions.

New York HERO Act Alert: New York Department of Labor Updates Its Information Sheet

In accordance with the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act), on July 6, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL), in consultation with the New York State Department of Health, published the Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard and Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan. Although the NYS DOL initially published the standard and model plan only in English, the NYS DOL has since furnished the standard and the model plan in Spanish. In addition to the non-industry specific model plan, the NYS DOL has created 11 industry-specific templates, which are available only in English.

New York HERO Act Alert: COVID-19 Designated as Highly Contagious Communicable Disease

On September 6, 2021, New York State Commissioner of Health Howard A. Zucker designated COVID-19 as “a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health in New York State.” As a result of the commissioner’s designation, employers are required to activate their airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans in accordance with the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act).

The Aftermath of the Cuomo Investigation Report: Lessons for Employers

The New York attorney general’s August 3, 2021, report regarding the sexual harassment allegations brought against former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, “Report of Investigation Into Allegations of Sexual Harassment by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo,” contains extraordinary detail to support the conclusion that Cuomo “sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees.” Beyond noting the political consequences of the investigation, employers in New York and elsewhere may wish to consider utilizing these recent developments as an opportunity to reassess their workplace practices to minimize the likelihood of events occurring similar to those described in the report. Among the many potential action items and considerations, below are tips on training, education, and communication that employers may wish to explore as a result of the Cuomo report.

SCOTUS and Social Media: What Employers Can Learn from the Court’s Recent Ruling about a Student’s Posts

On June 23, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., No. 20-255 (2021), holding that a student’s off-campus social media posts critical of her school constituted free expression protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

New York Governor Lifts COVID-19 Guidance and Signs Legislation Amending the HERO Act

On May 5, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act), which mandates workplace health and safety protections from any airborne infectious disease that the commissioner of health has designated as “a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health.” On June 11, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to amend the NY HERO Act. The amendments extend the effective date of section 1 of the act, pertaining to the creation and adoption of airborne infectious disease plans. Pursuant to the amendment, section 1 will take effect on July 5, 2021. Section 2, which pertains to the establishment of workplace safety committees, will take effect on November 1, 2021.

The New York HERO Act’s Proposed Amendments: What Employers Need to Know

On May 5, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act), which mandates extensive new workplace health and safety protections for all airborne infectious diseases. This action was quickly followed by the New York State Assembly’s May 10, 2021, and the New York State Senate’s May 14, 2021, introduction of identical bills to amend certain provisions of the NY HERO Act.

Race and Sex Stereotyping Executive Order Subject to Preliminary Injunction

Some anticipate that President-elect Joseph Biden will revoke the Trump administration’s Executive Order (EO) 13950 that restricts the content of certain diversity-related workplace trainings. On December 22, 2020, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction in the case of Santa Cruz Lesbian and Gay Community Center d/b/a The Diversity Center of Santa Cruz v. Trump, holding that the plaintiffs had demonstrated (among other things) a sufficient likelihood of success on their claims that EO 13950 is unconstitutional on its face. The order, which went into effect immediately and on a nationwide basis, allows private federal contractors and federal grant recipients to conduct workplace training programs and related activities without facing penalties for “stereotyping” or “scapegoating” under EO 13950. While the injunction does not impact trainings provided to federal employees, on December 22, 2020, a group of U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) employees circulated a letter calling for an official investigation into EO 13950 and related executive branch actions targeting diversity-and-inclusion programs.

New York State Publishes Proposed Paid Sick Leave Regulations

Earlier this year, New York State enacted a statewide paid sick leave (PSL) law, which took effect on September 30, 2020. Entitlement to use leave under the law begins on January 1, 2021, and, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) has published PSL guidance and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs). In order to provide greater clarity concerning the requirements of the law, on December 9, 2020, the NYSDOL published proposed regulations.

20 Tips for U.S. Virgin Islands Employers in 2020: Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

Conducting business in the U.S. Virgin Islands poses unique challenges not often encountered in the states, but also unique opportunities. This 20-part series offers tips for doing business in the U.S. Virgin Islands, covering a broad array of topics affecting employers. Part 12 of this series addresses the workplace laws protecting victims of domestic violence.