New York Employment Beat

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

Earlier this year, New York lawmakers passed a novel, sweeping overhaul of the State’s workplace health and safety laws. Known as the HERO Act, the law is intended to “to protect employees against exposure and disease during a future airborne infectious disease outbreak.”

Among other things, the HERO Act requires that the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) create written model airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standards to cover Empire State workplaces. More particularly, the NYSDOL is tasked with creating separate model 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 NYSDOL’s publication of the model standards is important for a host of reasons, including because all New York employers – regardless of size, industry, or location – will then have 30 days from the date on which the NYSDOL publishes the model written standards, to establish their own airborne infectious disease exposure plan. This requirement can be satisfied by adopting the NYSDOL’s model standards (as applicable based on industry), which it is expected that many, if not most, New York employers will do. (The requirement can also be satisfied by instead adopting an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the NYSDOL’s standards.)

To that end, earlier today, the NYSDOL, in consultation with the New York State Department of Health, issued the long-awaited Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard, Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan, and various industry-specific model plans for the prevention of airborne infectious disease. The specific industries covered are agriculture, construction, delivery services, domestic workers, emergency response, food services, manufacturing and industry, personal services, private education, private transportation, and retail. All of the materials can be accessed here.

Continue Reading BREAKING: New York Labor Department unveils guidance on HERO Act, starting the clock for all Empire State employers to adopt airborne infectious disease exposure plans

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

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

As most of our readers likely know by now, on May 13, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that, “[i]f you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.” The CDC went on the state that “[f]ully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing.”

Quite understandably, this led many U.S. businesses to wonder whether their workforces are still required to wear a mask or physically distance in the workplace – particularly because the CDC’s guidance also provides that businesses still need to be abide by applicable state and local laws, rules, and regulations concerning mask wearing and physical distancing.

New York State employers, however, need wonder no more. Just a few hours ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that, beginning May 19, New York will adopt the CDC’s “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People” for most business and public settings. To implement the CDC’s guidance, New York State will be revising the following business reopening guidelines to take effect on May 19:

Continue Reading BREAKING: New York adopts CDC’s loosened mask and social distancing guidance

Well, that was fast! As we reported on Tuesday, the New York State legislature passed a sweeping bill in late April known as the HERO Act. The HERO Act represents a massive change to the Empire State’s workplace health and safety protocols.

At the time of our initial post, the HERO Act was awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature. That signature came late Wednesday. Notably, however, the Governor has asked the legislature to make certain technical changes to the law, including giving the New York State Department of Labor and employers more specific instructions in developing and implementing the workplace standards required by the HERO Act. In addition, Governor Cuomo has asked that lawmakers add a requirement for employers to cure violations in order to better protect the safety of workers and limit claims by employees for violations, in limited circumstances where employers are acting in bad faith and failing to cure deficiencies.

Continue Reading New York’s landmark HERO Act becomes law – With some caveats

In late April, New York State legislators passed a bill that can best be described as a “game changer.” Known as the Health and Essential Rights – or HERO – Act, the bill proposes a novel, sweeping overhaul of the Empire State’s workplace health and safety laws. Among other things, the HERO Act directs New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) to create minimum workplace safety standards, requires all New York business to adopt airborne infectious disease exposure plans, and authorizes the creation of joint labor-management workplace safety committees within every company.

The bill now heads to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk, where it is expected to be signed in the near term. Below we will outline the key provisions of the HERO Act.
Continue Reading New York legislators pass sweeping new workplace health and safety bill

New York is doing away with its quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers.

By way of background, in June 2020, New York issued a COVID-19 Travel Advisory requiring certain travelers to quarantine upon entry to New York. In November 2020, New York modified its travel advisory to permit out-of-state travelers to test out of its mandatory quarantine. In a surprising move, however, on March 11, 2021, Governor Cuomo’s office issued a press release stating that domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine upon entry to New York from another state or U.S. territory.

Continue Reading New York eliminates quarantine for domestic travel effective April 1

On March 12, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill requiring that all public and private employers in New York State provide their workforces with up to four hours of paid time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

More particularly, the law requires that Empire State employers provide their employees with “a sufficient period