The New York state legislature recently passed two bills providing additional protections to employees asserting unpaid wage claims. These changes are the latest in the state’s overhaul of its employment law landscape this summer. As we discussed in previous posts, New York recently enacted limitations on the use of nondisclosure provisions in settlement and separation agreements, new standards for litigating and defending harassment claims, expanded equal pay protections, a statewide ban on salary history inquiries, and additional changes to the state’s anti-discrimination laws. We will address the two new laws and their implications in this two-part series.
The first bill expands the definition of retaliation under the New York Labor Law. By way of background, New York has long prohibited retaliation against employees who complain of alleged wage violations or otherwise cooperate with state regulators regarding an alleged violation of wage and hour laws. Specifically, an employer cannot “discharge, threaten, penalize, or in any other manner discriminate or retaliate against any employee” for complaining about wage practices such as minimum wage violations, unpaid overtime, improper deductions, and the like.