New York Employment Legislation

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

On Thursday, August 23, 2018, New York State released draft model sexual harassment materials in preparation for October 9, 2018 employer compliance with its new sexual harassment laws, discussed in detail in a previous blog article.

New Materials:

New York State published the following draft materials on August 23, 2018:

All model materials are currently in draft form, pending a comment period set to end on September 12, 2018. Therefore, all model materials are subject to change prior to the October 9, 2018 effective date. Members of the public, as well as employers and employees, are encouraged to provide comments on the new materials via this link.
Continue Reading New York State Publishes Draft Model Sexual Harassment Materials

As previously reported in a prior article, in May 2018, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act (the “Act”). The Act provides, among other things, starting September 6, 2018, all New York City employers must display the New York City Commission on Human Right’s (“NYCCHR”) new anti-sexual harassment poster in a conspicuous place in the workplace and provide the information to employees at the time of hire. On August 10, 2018, the NYCCHR published an English-language version of the required poster, which can be found here. While the Act also requires the poster to be displayed in Spanish, the NYCCHR has yet to issue a Spanish-language version of the poster.  
Continue Reading Upcoming Deadlines For New York City Employers: New York City Commission on Human Rights Publishes Poster and Fact Sheet on Sexual Harassment

As of October 15, 2018, NYC employers with four or more employees will be required to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with a person who may be entitled to a workplace accommodation. The “cooperative dialogue” resembles the “interactive process” that most employers are familiar with under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the NYC law applies to more than disability-related accommodations and, importantly, requires employers to document the cooperative dialogue process. We have prepared this short Q&A to help employers understand their obligations under the new law.
Continue Reading New NYC Law Requires Employers to Engage in “Cooperative Dialogue” for Workplace Accommodations

New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal has proposed a bill which would prohibit private-sector employers from requiring their employees to access work-related electronic communications outside of their usual work hours. This bill is modeled after a similar law in France. If passed, the bill would make New York City the first American city to enact such a law. A copy of the complete bill can be found here.
Continue Reading The Right to Unplug: New York City Council Proposes Bill Which Would Allow Employees to Disconnect From Work After Normal Work Hours