On December 21, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Warehouse Worker Protection Act (WWPA) into law. The WWPA is intended to protect warehouse workers from unreasonably demanding work quotas and goes into effect on February 19, 2023.
As detailed in this post, the WWPA establishes new requirements for distribution centers to disclose work speed data to current and former employees and to inform workers about their performance and rights in the workplace. The law also protects workers from adverse employment actions because of a failure to meet undisclosed speed quotes or quotas that do not allow for proper breaks. Some key aspects of the WWPA are as follows:
- Which employers are covered? The WWPA applies to employers with 100 or more employees at a single warehouse distribution center or 500 or more employees at one or more warehouse distribution centers.
- How does the WWPA define “quotas”? The law defines quotas as a “work standard” that either “(a) an employee is assigned or required to perform: (i) at a specified productivity speed; or a quantified number of tasks, or to handle or produce a quantified amount of material, within a defined time period; or (b) an employee’s actions are categorized between time performing tasks and not performing tasks, and the employee’s failure to complete a task performance standard or recommendation may have an adverse impact on the employee’s continued employment or the conditions of such employment.”
- Requirement to provide written description of quotas: The WWPA requires covered employers to provide to each employee, upon hire, or within 30 days of the effective date of the law, a written description of each quota to which the employee is subject and any potential adverse employment action that could result from failure to meet the quota. If there are any changes to the quota thereafter, the employer shall, within two business days of the change, provide an updated written description of each quota to which the employee is subject. If an employer takes an adverse employment action against an employee, the employer shall likewise provide that employee with the applicable quota for the employee.
- Recordkeeping obligations: The WWPA requires that employers maintain records of the following: (a) each employee’s own personal work speed data; (b) the aggregated work speed data for similar employees at the same establishment; and (c) the written descriptions of the quota such employee was provided.
- Anti-retaliation provision: The WWPA also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees exercising their rights under the law. If employees exercise their rights in “good faith,” subsequent actions are presumed to be an “adverse action against an employee [if taken] within ninety days of the employee’s engaging or attempting to engage in activities” protected by the WWPA.
- Enforcement: The law provides that the Commissioner of Labor shall create rules or regulations and adopt civil penalties to give effect to the WWPA. The Attorney General also has authority to prosecute civil and criminal actions under the law.
All covered employers should carefully review the WWPA to ensure they understand its requirements and take all necessary steps to comply before the law’s effective date.