Even though 2022 is just underway, the NYC employment law landscape is already red hot. In mid-December, the city council passed a first-of-its-kind bill requiring Big Apple employers to include a maximum and minimum salary in all job postings, which includes new jobs as well as internal promotions and transfer opportunities. For employers that are
NYC guidance addresses intersection of vaccine policies and workplace laws
In conjunction with New York City’s recent employer vaccine mandate, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) issued enforcement guidance on the equitable implementation of COVID-19 vaccine requirements for employees, independent contractors, and interns.
Non-discriminatory application of vaccine policies
In its guidance, the NYCCHR underscored that employers must ensure their policies and practices treat all employees evenly, regardless of protected class status, when implementing vaccine requirements. Specifically, the guidance advises that employers should not (i) scrutinize proof of vaccination more closely when it is provided by employees of a particular race, national origin, or religion based on the perception that people in those groups are less likely to be vaccinated; (ii) require proof of vaccination only for older employees or employees with disabilities based on the belief that COVID-19 is more dangerous for them; or (iii) refuse to accept certain types of valid proof of vaccination, such as official immunization records from other countries or photographs of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination cards.
The guidance reiterates that employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees because they requested an accommodation, opposed discrimination, or filed or assisted with a claim under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).…
Continue Reading NYC guidance addresses intersection of vaccine policies and workplace laws
Everything you need to know about NYC’s employer vaccine mandate
As we previously reported, effective December 27, 2021, all private sector employers in New York City will be required to implement a mandatory vaccination policy for their workers. Today, guidance was issued clarifying this new mandate and related employer obligations. We have summarized what you need to know about this guidance below.
Clarification on the vaccination requirement
By December 27, employers must require all workers to provide proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (For the purposes of this mandate, a “worker” is a full- or part-time staff member, employer, employee, intern, volunteer, or contractor of a covered entity.) Employers will be required to verify and maintain a record of each worker’s proof of vaccination. In addition, by December 27, employers must complete an affirmation of compliance with this requirement and post it in a public place.
By February 10, 2022, employers must require that all workers provide proof that they have received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (for Pfizer or Moderna vaccines). If such proof is not provided, the worker must be excluded from the workplace until they can provide such proof, unless an exception applies (as detailed below).
In addition, the guidance confirms the following critical points:
- The mandate pertains to New York City workplaces and a worker’s residence is not relevant to its applicability.
- Employers are not required to fire or discipline workers who refuse to comply with this mandate. Rather, the guidance indicates that “[a]s long as you keep the worker out of the workplace, it is your decision whether to discipline or fire such worker, or if the worker can contribute to your business while working remotely.”
- Employers with multiple business locations must post the affirmation of compliance in a conspicuous location in each business location. However, vaccination and reasonable accommodation records may be stored in one central location, provided that each business location has contact information available to offer to City inspectors to put them in touch with the business representative who is centrally storing such records for the business.
- Employers may adopt a vaccination policy that is stricter than the requirements of the New York City order, as long as it is not discriminatory or otherwise unlawful.
- Coworking spaces must comply with this mandate vis-à-vis their renters.
Continue Reading Everything you need to know about NYC’s employer vaccine mandate
New York issues guidance on its latest mask mandate
As we previously reported, effective today, masks must be worn in New York State in “all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.” On Friday, December 10, 2021, the State issued guidance on the measure, clarifying the following key points:
- Definition of indoor public place – An indoor public place
BREAKING: New York State reinstates indoor mask mandate
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…
BREAKING: NYC to mandate vaccinations for all private-sector workers
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…
New York enacts sweeping expansion of state’s whistleblower law
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
New York confirms that paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination may be used for booster shots
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)…
BREAKING: New York HERO Act prevention plans must be implemented following the state’s designation of COVID-19 as an “airborne infectious disease”
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…
Sweeping amendments to New York City’s “Ban the Box” law are now in effect
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