Labor Relations

O.S.H.A. Stands for…the Organizing Safety And Health Administration? OSHA’s New ‘Walkaround’ Rule Provides Entry Point for Unions

April 4, 2024

By Michael D. Billok and Rebecca J. LaPoint

On May 31, 2024, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new “Walkaround” rule will take effect. The amended rule (29 CFR 1903.8(c)) is a sea change for employers, as it was written with the intent of allowing union representatives to participate in OSHA inspections, even in non-union workplaces.

Read More >> O.S.H.A. Stands for…the Organizing Safety And Health Administration? OSHA’s New ‘Walkaround’ Rule Provides Entry Point for Unions

Alert for Federal Contractors – OFCCP Contractor Portal Will Open for AAP Certification on April 1 and Agency Released Updated Annual Veteran Hiring Benchmark

March 29, 2024

By Christa Richer Cook

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced that its Contractor Portal will open to receive Affirmative Action Program (AAP) certification submissions on April 1, 2024. The deadline for contractors to certify that they are in compliance with their AAP obligations for each establishment and/or functional unit is set for July 1, 2024.

Read More >> Alert for Federal Contractors – OFCCP Contractor Portal Will Open for AAP Certification on April 1 and Agency Released Updated Annual Veteran Hiring Benchmark

Reminder: Restrictions on Accessing Employee Personal Accounts Takes Effect March 12, 2024

March 7, 2024

By Kali R. Schreiner

As a reminder, beginning March 12, 2024, Labor Law 201-i prohibits employers from requesting, requiring or coercing an employee or job applicant to: (i) disclose a username and password or other login information in order to access a personal account; (ii) access a personal account in the employer’s presence; or (iii) reproduce information contained within a personal account through unlawful measures. This new legislation also prohibits an employer from discharging or disciplining an employee or refusing to hire an applicant for failure to disclose such information.

The legislation is subject to certain exceptions and limitations. For example, an employer may require disclosure of information to access nonpersonal accounts that allow admission to “the employer’s internal computer or information systems.”[1] Employers may also view, access and rely on information that is publicly available.

The law also sets forth certain notice and acknowledgement requirements which employers must closely review. Specifically, under Section 5(i), an employer may obtain login information for accounts provided by the employer where the account is used for business purposes and the employee was provided prior notice of the employer’s right to inquire about such information. An employer is also permitted to access an electronic communications device which is “paid for in whole or in part by the employer where the provision of or payment for such device was conditioned on the employer’s right to access.”[2] However, the employee must have received prior notice of the condition and explicitly agreed to it. Nonetheless, the employer is prohibited from accessing any personal accounts on the device.

This law excludes law enforcement agencies, fire departments and departments of corrections and community supervision.

If you have any questions regarding the NLRB’s new rule, please contact Kali Schreiner, any attorney in Bond’s labor and employment practice or the Bond attorney with whom you are regularly in contact.


[1] N.Y. Lab. Law § 201-i (2)(b).

[2] Id. at § 201-i (5)(iii).

New York City’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act Amendment: Private Right of Action

February 6, 2024

By Lance D. Willoughby-Hudson

On Jan. 20, 2024, The New York City Council amended the City’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA), to create a private right of action for employees claiming violations of ESSTA. The new law amends Section 20-924 of the New York City Administrative Code and allows employees to commence a civil action alleging a violation of ESSTA within two years of the date the employee knew or should have known of the alleged violation. The new law becomes effective March 20, 2024.

Currently, the sole redress for employees alleging violations of ESSTA is to submit an administrative complaint to the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP). The new amendment will allow employees to file both an administrative complaint with the DCWP and a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for the same alleged ESSTA violation. Employees are not required to file an administrative complaint with the DCWP prior to commencing an action in court for alleged ESSTA violations.

If an employee files both a civil suit and a DCWP complaint against the employer for the same alleged ESSTA violation, the DCWP will stay its investigation until it receives notice that the civil suit has been withdrawn or dismissed without prejudice. Once DCWP receives notice of a final judgment or settlement of the civil action, DCWP may dismiss the complaint unless it determines that the complaint alleges a violation that was not resolved by such judgment or settlement. The employee must notify DCWP within 30 days after the time for any appeal has lapsed that such complaint is withdrawn, dismissed without prejudice, or resolved by final judgment or settlement.

Employees who prove a violation of ESSTA may recover:

  • Three times the wages that should have been paid pursuant to ESSTA or $250, whichever is greater, for every instance where an employee is not compensated properly by the employer for safe and sick time taken.
  • $500 for every instance where an employee requested safe and sick time that was (a) wrongfully denied by the employer and not taken by the employee; (b) wrongfully conditioned upon a requirement that the employee search or find a replacement worker prior to approval; or (c) wrongfully subjected to a requirement that the employee work additional hours to make up for the original hours for which the employee was scheduled, without the mutual consent of the employer and employee.
  • Full compensation for wages and benefits lost, plus $500 and equitable relief as deemed appropriate, for every instance of retaliation and interference.
  • $2,500, full compensation, including wages and benefits lost; and equitable relief, including reinstatement, as deemed appropriate for each instance of unlawful discharge from employment.
  • $500 for each employee covered by a policy that does not provide or allow for the use of safe and sick time pursuant to ESSTA.

In addition, the amendment permits an employee to seek injunctive relief and declaratory relief, attorney’s fees and costs, and any other relief that the court deems appropriate.

The amendment also expands ESSTA’s civil penalty provisions for entities found to be in violation of provisions regarding the accrual and use of sick or safe time or retaliation, on a per employee basis, of up to $500 to be paid to the city for the first violation. Subsequent violations that occur within two (2) years of any previous violation, entities will be liable of up to $750, not to exceed $1,000 for each succeeding violation.

If you have any questions about the information presented in this news alert, please contact Lance Willoughby-Hudson, any attorney in Bond’s labor and employment practice or the Bond attorney with whom you are regularly in contact.

New Year, New OSHA Reporting Rule

January 24, 2024

By Michael D. Billok and Natalie C. Vogel

A new Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) rule, “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” recently took effect on Jan. 1, 2024. This rule requires certain high-hazard employers with 100 or more employees to electronically submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301 by March 2 of each year—starting this year. Below is a list of general questions and answers relating to the new rule.

Read More >> New Year, New OSHA Reporting Rule

Second Department Weighs in on Employees Fully Paid But Who Seek Liquidated Damages for Not Being Paid Weekly: You Can’t Get Something for Nothing

January 19, 2024

By Michael D. Billok, Rebecca J. LaPoint, and Assitan Diakite*

On Jan. 17, 2024, the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department decided a pivotal case for employers after years of uncertainty. In Grant v. Global Aircraft Dispatch, Inc., the Second Department decided against following Vega v. CM & Associates Construction Management, LLC, a First Department decision that carried steep consequences for employers in New York for violations of New York Labor Law Section 191 (Section 191).

Read More >> Second Department Weighs in on Employees Fully Paid But Who Seek Liquidated Damages for Not Being Paid Weekly: You Can’t Get Something for Nothing

Eyes on 2024: Will the SEC Continue Its Aggressive Enforcement of Whistleblower Laws in 2024?

January 17, 2024

By Colin M. Leonard and Samuel M. Brewster

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC or Commission) made clear in 2023 that it intends to aggressively enforce its whistleblower protection laws, namely Rule 21F-17, which prohibits employers from taking any action that impedes an individual from communicating potential securities violations to the Commission.

Read More >> Eyes on 2024: Will the SEC Continue Its Aggressive Enforcement of Whistleblower Laws in 2024?

Update: The NYSDOL’s Proposed Regulations Increasing the Exempt Salary Levels Have Been Adopted as Final Regulations

December 27, 2023

By Subhash Viswanathan

On Dec. 27, 2023, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) published a Notice of Adoption of its proposed regulations in the State Register, which means the minimum weekly salary to qualify for the executive and administrative exemptions will officially increase effective Jan. 1, 2024. The NYSDOL did not make any changes to its proposed regulations, so the following increases will occur:

Read More >> Update: The NYSDOL’s Proposed Regulations Increasing the Exempt Salary Levels Have Been Adopted as Final Regulations

A Ban No More? Gov. Hochul Vetoes Noncompete Bill

December 26, 2023

By Kevin G. Cope and Bradley A. Hoppe

On Dec. 23, 2023, Gov. Kathy Hochul vetoed Senate Bill S3100, blocking the Legislature’s attempt to ban noncompete agreements across the state. The proposed legislation sought to add a new section to the New York Labor Law banning essentially all noncompete agreements throughout New York. The proposed legislation seemingly had no exceptions, including the almost uniformly accepted exception for situations involving the sale of a business. The sweeping language of the proposed legislation also raised concerns that other types of agreements, including broad nonsolicitation agreements and nondisclosure agreements, could be banned as well. These concerns, among others, drew harsh criticism from the business lobby and employers throughout the state.

Senate Bill S3100 passed the New York State Senate on June 7, 2023, and passed the New York State Assembly on June 20, 2023. However, the proposed legislation was not delivered to the governor’s office until Dec. 12, 2023. During this delay, lobbyists pushed hard for the governor to either veto the proposed legislation or amend it. Following delivery, the governor’s office sought to accomplish the latter, attempting to negotiate a salary threshold that would allow employers to enter into noncompete agreements with employees making over a set yearly income. However, Gov. Hochul and the Legislature could not agree on an acceptable salary threshold, resulting in the governor vetoing the proposed legislation on the last day of the legislative session.

Noncompete agreements remain permissible in New York State, so long as they are reasonable in scope and no broader than necessary to protect a legitimate interest recognized by law (e.g., protection of confidential and/or trade secret information and customer relationships and goodwill). The Legislature will need to go back to the drawing board should it wish to ban noncompete agreements in the new legislative session and will likely need to narrow the scope of the ban should it expect Gov. Hochul to sign it. Bond will be closely monitoring this situation and will provide updates on any proposed noncompete bans in the new year, including with respect to the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed rule seeking to ban certain noncompetes nationwide.

For any questions about this issue, please feel free to contact Bradley A. Hoppe, Kevin G. Cope, any attorney in Bond’s litigation or labor and employment practices or the attorney at the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Reminder: The New York Minimum Wage Will Increase on Jan. 1, 2024

December 21, 2023

By Subhash Viswanathan

Effective on Jan. 1, 2024, the minimum hourly wage in New York will increase from $15 to $16 in downstate New York (New York City and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties), and from $14.20 to $15 in upstate New York. In all regions of New York, the minimum wage will increase by $0.50 on Jan. 1, 2025, and by another $0.50 on Jan. 1, 2026.

Read More >> Reminder: The New York Minimum Wage Will Increase on Jan. 1, 2024

New York Further Restricts Employers’ Use of Non-Disclosure Provisions in Certain Settlement Agreements

December 11, 2023

By Adam P. Mastroleo and Hannah K. Redmond

Effective Nov. 17, 2023, New York General Obligations Law 5-336 was amended to further restrict employers’ use of non-disclosure or confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements when the factual foundation involves discrimination, harassment or retaliation. Since its enactment, the law has broadly prohibited non-disclosure provisions in agreements to settle discrimination claims “unless the condition of confidentiality is the complainant’s preference.”[1]

Read More >> New York Further Restricts Employers’ Use of Non-Disclosure Provisions in Certain Settlement Agreements