New York Employment Legislation

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the governor’s approval of the bill.

On March 18, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed a bill guaranteeing job-protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of COVID-19. The law is more narrow than the version Gov. Cuomo announced Tuesday, which included a statewide sick program that would have remained in effect beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The provisions of the legislation are set to take effect immediately.

Continue Reading Empire State of Mind: Governor Cuomo Proposes Bill to Provide Immediate Assistance for New Yorkers Impacted by COVID-19

Effective February 10, 2020, the top ten members of an out-of-state limited liability company (“LLC”) can be held personally liable for violations of New York’s wage and hour laws. The bill, signed on December 12 by Governor Andrew Cuomo, amends New York’s LLC Law which previously only extended individual liability for unpaid wages to owners of domestic LLCs (text available here).
Continue Reading New York Targets Members of Out-of-State LLCs in New Wage Theft Bill

On August 12, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law S.6577, a bill implementing a series of sweeping changes to the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”). As we previously reported, S.6577 provides for a number of notable updates to the NYSHRL designed to strengthen state protection for victims of sexual harassment. However, the signing of S.6577 also implements a series of changes that stand to significantly impact employers with respect to all claims of employment discrimination, not just sexual harassment. This post summarizes key changes to the NYSHRL created by S.6577, along with deadlines for employer compliance.
Continue Reading Update: Governor Cuomo Signs Significant Changes to New York Discrimination and Harassment Legislation Into Law – Employer Compliance Required

On June 19th, the New York State Senate and Assembly voted to pass omnibus legislation greatly strengthening protections against sexual harassment. While the bill, SB 6577, is still waiting for the Governor’s signature, Governor Cuomo supported the legislation and plans to sign the bill when it is sent to his desk. The legislation is the product of two legislative hearings that took place early this year, inspired by a group of former legislative staffers who have said they were victims of harassment while working in Albany, NY. The bill includes several provisions directly affecting private employers. These provisions include:
Continue Reading New York State Legislature Enacts Sweeping Changes to Combat Sexual Harassment

On April 9, 2019, New York’s City Council passed legislation, available here, which will prohibit employers from requiring prospective employees to submit to testing for tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, as a condition of employment. If, as expected, Mayor Bill de Blasio signs the law into effect, the New York City Human Rights Law will be amended to make it a discriminatory practice to require pre-employment marijuana testing of employees in New York City.
Continue Reading New York City Council Passes Legislation Banning Marijuana Testing of Job Applicants

Hoping to clarify when entities should be treated as “joint employers” under the FLSA, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently announced its intent to revise its so-called “joint employer” regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Under the FLSA, covered employers must pay nonexempt employees at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime wages for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. Since 1939, the DOL has recognized that two or more entities may sometimes “jointly” employ a single employee and share legal responsibility for that employee’s wages for hours worked for either entity. However, the DOL has not formally addressed the conditions under which “joint employment” relationships exist since 1958.
Continue Reading Aiming for Clarity, DOL Proposes to Update the FLSA’s “Joint Employer” Regulations

On February 18, 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “NYCCHR”) released new legal enforcement guidance (the “Guidance”) regarding discrimination on the basis of natural hair and hairstyles. In the Guidance, the NYCCHR advised employers that “[t]he New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) protects the rights of New Yorkers to maintain natural hair or hairstyles that are closely associated with their race or identities.” While the NYCCHR made clear that “hair-based discrimination implicates many areas of the NYCHRL, including prohibitions against race, religion, disability, age, or gender-based discrimination,” the Guidance’s directives particularly focus on prohibiting hair and hairstyle discrimination against Black people, defined as “those who identify as African, African American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latin-x/a/o or otherwise having African or Black ancestry.” Specifically, the Guidance states that the NYCHRL protects the rights of Black New Yorkers “to maintain natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”[1]
Continue Reading New Dos and Don’ts: New York City Bans Discrimination Based On Hairstyle

With the rise of the #MeToo movement, companies have been forced to re-examine how they litigate and settle allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.  Specifically, companies are facing increasing criticism if they compel claims of sexual harassment to private arbitration or force employees who allege sexual harassment to sign settlement agreements with confidentiality clauses, effectively shielding both the company and the alleged sexual harasser from public scrutiny.
Continue Reading #MeToo Changes the Face of Sexual Harassment Litigation for Employers

In an effort to continue to raise awareness of human trafficking and provide available services to victims, beginning October 14, 2018, lodging facilities in New York State were required to provide informational cards in certain public spaces of the facilities.

Specifically, a recently enacted New York statute adds a section to the general business law, and requires every lodging facility to make informational cards available in plain view in the public restrooms, individual guest rooms, and near the public entrance or other conspicuous place in plain sight of the guests and employees. The legislature reasoned that the discrete size of an informational card may make it possible for a victim to take a card unnoticed and use the card to call the hotline for help at a later time.
Continue Reading New York Lodging Industry: Post Your Human Trafficking Informational Cards

On October 1, 2018, New York State released final model sexual harassment materials and compliance guidance in response to comments received during its open comment period, discussed in more detail in a previous blog article. The new materials provide important guidance for future compliance and include new employer requirements, as detailed below.
Continue Reading New York State Publishes Updated Sexual Harassment Materials and Information