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Just a short while ago, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced that, effective December 13, 2021, masks will be required to be worn in “all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.” This means that, for any business that does not have a proof of vaccination requirement in place, all

Earlier today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that, effective December 27, 2021 and as part of an expansion of the city’s “Key to NYC” program, all private-sector employers in the Big Apple will be required to adopt a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for their employees. The expanded program will also include additional

Although New York has had an employment-related whistleblower statute for decades, many employers may not have been aware of it. That is because the statute itself – N.Y. Labor Law section 740 – has been fairly limited in its scope and application. Indeed, it has only protected employees who disclose employer activity that violates laws relating to public health and safety or to health care fraud. Disclosures of other unlawful activities have not been protected by section 740.

That will no longer be the case, however, starting next year. Late last month, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill that will amend and effectively overhaul section 740. The amended law, which is scheduled to take effect on January 26, 2022, drastically expands the breadth and scope of section 740 by making it significantly easier for New York workers to bring a claim, lengthening the statute of limitations, and imposing a notice requirement on employers.

Overview of key updates to section 740

  • Independent contractors can bring claims too: As a starting point, under the amended law, not only will current and former employees be able to assert legal claims against the employer, but so too will independent contractors.
  • Broad expansion of protected activity: Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the amendment is how it expands the types of employee activities that are protected under section 740 of the Labor Law.

Previously, section 740 was a narrow statute that primarily barred employers from taking retaliatory action against employees only where the employee had disclosed or threatened to disclose to a supervisor or public body, or had objected to or refused to participate in “an activity, policy or practice of the employer that is in violation of law, rule or regulation which violation creates and presents a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety, or which constitutes health care fraud.” The prior version of the law thus required that an actual legal violation have occurred – i.e., an employee’s reasonable belief that a violation had occurred was insufficient – and was intended to curb only activities that posed a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety or that constituted health care fraud.

The amended statute, however, broadly expands this scope of protected activity. Specifically, the law now bars employers from taking retaliatory action where the employee discloses or threatens to disclose to a supervisor or public body, or objects to or refuses to participate in “an activity that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of law, rule or regulation or that the employee reasonably believes poses a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety.” The new definition, therefore, essentially protects, and bars employers from retaliating against, workers who report any actual, or reasonably perceived by the employee, violation of any law, rule, regulation, executive order, or judicial or administrative decision, ruling, or order at all, regarding of its subject matter. To say that this is a dramatic expansion of Section 740 would be an understatement.

Continue Reading New York enacts sweeping expansion of state’s whistleblower law

As we previously reported, earlier this year New York lawmakers passed a law requiring that all Empire State employers provide their employees with up to four hours of paid time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Shortly thereafter, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) published guidance on the measure, clarifying that: (i)

As we have previously reported, several months ago, New York enacted the HERO Act, a sweeping overhaul of the state’s workplace health and safety laws.  On September 6, 2021, the New York State Commissioner of Health designated COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act. As such, all New York employers are

Back in 2015, New York City joined the “Ban the Box” bandwagon and passed a law that delays when criminal background checks can be run on most Big Apple job applicants. Specifically, the Fair Chance Act (FCA) prohibits NYC employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal conviction history until after a conditional offer of employment is extended and requires that employers undertake a multi-step process if they want to rescind a job offer based on the results of a criminal history inquiry.

Against this backdrop, on January 10, 2021, the New York City Council passed important amendments to the FCA, which amendments went into effect July 29, 2021. As detailed below, the amendments significantly expand the scope of the FCA and impose additional affirmative obligations on New York City employers.
Continue Reading Sweeping amendments to New York City’s “Ban the Box” law are now in effect

Last month, we reported on New York’s passage of the so-called HERO Act, a landmark law that imposes a novel, sweeping overhaul of the State’s workplace health and safety laws. Although the HERO Act was set to take effect on June 4, the State on June 11 amended the law, including to delay its effective date until July 5. The critical changes to the HERO Act are as follows:

  • Updated deadline to adopt a prevention plan – Under the amendment, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) has until July 5, 2021 to promulgate industry-specific workplace health and safety standards for preventing exposure to airborne infectious diseases, with which all New York employers are required to comply. (The amendment also specifies that the NYSDOL must develop separate standards for (i) industries representing a significant portion of the workforce, or those with unique characteristics requiring distinct standards, as well as (ii) all worksites that are not included in the specific industry standards.)

The amendment further clarifies that, once the NYSDOL publishes the model standards, employers will have 30 days to adopt their own airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan. Employers can still either directly adopt the model plan or can adopt a plan that meets or exceeds the model plan’s minimum requirements.

Continue Reading New York’s amended HERO Act now in effect

On June 7, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed legislation amending the state’s existing salary history inquiry and pay equity statutes. As we discuss below, this amendment – which goes into effect on October 1, 2021 – places additional obligations on Connecticut employers and modifies the existing standard for pay equity claims in the state.

Newly required wage range disclosures

Under the newly-adopted measures, Connecticut employers will be barred from engaging in the following actions related to the disclosure of wage ranges:

  • Failing or refusing to provide an applicant for employment the wage range for a position for which the applicant is applying, upon the earliest of (A) the applicant’s request, or (B) prior to or at the time the applicant is made an offer of compensation; and,
  • Failing or refusing to provide an employee the wage range for the employee’s position upon (A) the hiring of the employee, (B) a change in the employee’s position with the employer, or (C) the employee’s first request for a wage range.


Continue Reading Connecticut updates its salary history inquiry and pay equity laws

Last summer, as New York began the process of non-essential business reopenings, the State issued a series of industry-specific workplace health and safety guidelines with which all businesses were and have continued to be required to adhere.  On the heels of recent CDC guidance loosening workplace-related restrictions for vaccinated employees, New York has updated these

As we previously reported, over the past year, New York State has adopted a statewide sick leave law, paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination, and paid quarantine leave.  Last week, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) issued guidance on the use of New York State Sick Leave (NYSSL) as it pertains