New York City

Earned Safe and Sick Time Act Proposal

December 9, 2022

By Jane M. Sovern and Paige Carey

New York City’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA or Act) provides covered employees with the right to use safe and sick leave as it accrues for a delineated list of circumstances. On Aug. 11, 2022, the New York City Council introduced a proposal to amend the ESSTA’s definition of “employee.” Under this proposal, certain independent contractors would qualify as employees and receive benefit coverage under the Act. The proposal would require hiring entities to engage in detailed analyses of individuals providing services to determine wither they are independent contractors or employees.

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Updates on NYC AI Employment-Decision Tools

October 17, 2022

By Corinne E. Tierney

Late last year, the New York City Council passed Local Law 144, which regulates employers and employment agencies’ use of “automated employment decision tools,” (AEDT), in making employment decisions. This new law is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. In summary, the new law prohibits an employer or employment agency from using automated employment decision tools in making employment decisions unless, prior to using the tool, the following requirements are met: (1) the tool has been subject to a bias audit within the last year; and (2) a summary of the results of the most recent bias audit and distribution data for the tool have been made publicly available on the employer or employment agency’s website. Please see our prior blog post for a more thorough summary of the law.

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Decision Issued Restraining Enforcement of Significant Aspects of New Gun Legislation

October 10, 2022

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

On July 1, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed new legislation in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a law whereby applicants for permits to “conceal and carry” firearms had to show “good cause” as to why they should be issued such a permit. The new legislation—the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA)—modifies the requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit and prohibits the possession of firearms in areas deemed “sensitive” or “restricted.” Restricted areas were defined as private property where the owner or lessee has not given explicit permission for individuals to possess firearms on the property, by posting signage or other means. Thus, under the law, firearms would be prohibited in places of employment except where explicit permission had been given.

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New Concealed Carry Law in New York and Gun-Free Zones in Times Square

September 8, 2022

By Samuel G. Dobre

On June 23, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued an historic ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that invalidated a century-old provision of New York’s concealed carry law requiring an applicant to show “proper cause” in order to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home. The Court held that the provision violated the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Employers should consider if they want to allow guns on their premises, and if so, they should post “clear and conspicuous signage” or otherwise provide express consent to visitors or patrons.

Following the Court’s decision, many New Yorkers—particularly those residing in New York City—braced for a possible wave of increased violence. Reports of crime have been on the rise the last few months in various parts of New York City. In April, New York Police Department data showed an 84 percent spike in major crime when compared to 2021 crime rates. NYC business owners are especially frustrated with the increased violence as it places a strain on business during a time when many businesses are still recovering from difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In light of growing concerns about public safety in New York after the Supreme Court decision, the legislature promptly drafted the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which was recently signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul. The new law will limit who can obtain a gun carry permit, how to obtain a permit and restrictions on where guns may be carried. It prohibits guns in certain “sensitive places” such as government-owned buildings, educational institutions, health care facilities, places of worship, any place where alcohol is consumed and public transportation. The law establishes additional limitations including new eligibility requirements for those seeking concealed carry permits and a more expansive disqualifying criteria (i.e., an interview with a licensing agency, firearms safety training, storage requirements in vehicles). The Concealed Carry Improvement Act took effect on Sept. 1, 2022.

New York City’s Times Square, famously known as a major commercial, tourist and entertainment destination in Midtown Manhattan, is now a gun-free zone. Declared as a “sensitive location,” the New York City Council proposed boundaries for this gun-free zone to extend from Sixth Avenue to Eighth Avenue and from West 40th Street to West 53rd Street. The area will include “Gun Free Zone” signs at every entry point in the zone. Times Square will certainly not be the only “sensitive area” in New York City with restrictions – as subways, schools and other NYC locations are likely to be designated as gun-free zones as well. Employers in this area are well advised to ensure that employees are aware of this restriction.

As a precautionary measure, business owners throughout the state should strongly consider posting signs that explicitly state whether or not guns are allowed on the property, to make the potential presence of firearms on the premises known to all guests and patrons.

If you have any questions, please contact Samuel Dobre, any attorney in Bond’s labor and employment practice or the Bond attorney with whom you are regularly in contact.

Appellate Division’s Interpretation of New York City’s Freelance Law

September 6, 2022

By Samuel G. Dobre

The First Department of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, in a matter of first impression, interpreted New York City’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act (FIFA) in the context of a motion to dismiss (Chen v. Romona Keveza Collection LLC). The Plaintiffs (a photographer and a model), sought to recover payments for services rendered to the Defendant (a high-end luxury fashion brand), claiming the defendant violated FIFA by improperly withholding payments. The Appellate Division ruled that an individual’s representation by an agency or agent does not necessarily disqualify the worker from FIFA’s freelance worker protections.

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New York City’s New Law Regulating the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Employment Decisions

April 11, 2022

On Nov. 10, 2021, the New York City Council passed a bill that regulates employers and employment agencies’ use of “automated employment decision tools” in making employment decisions. The bill was returned without Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature and lapsed into law on Dec. 11, 2021. The new law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2023. This new law is part of a growing trend towards examining and regulating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in hiring, promotional and other employment decisions.

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New York City Pay Transparency Law Update

March 29, 2022

By Lisa R. Feldman

On Jan. 15, 2022, the New York City council amended the City Human Rights Law to encourage equity and transparency in pay.1 This amendment is part of larger national trend towards greater pay transparency. Several states have adopted similar laws, and the New York State legislature has introduced pay transparency legislation which is currently under consideration. On March 22, 2022, the City’s Commission on Human Rights issued guidance for employers providing some much-needed clarity in advance of the effective date. This blog post will outline the requirements of the new law, informed by that guidance, and it will provide recommendations for what employers can do now to get ready for this new compliance obligation.

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The New York Minimum Salary Level to Qualify for the Executive and Administrative Exemptions Will Increase

December 16, 2021

By Subhash Viswanathan

Ever since the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) announced an increase in the minimum wage from $12.50 per hour to $13.20 per hour in areas outside of New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties effective Dec. 31, 2021, we have been expecting a proportionate increase in the minimum weekly salary to qualify for the executive and administrative exemptions. For the last few years, the minimum weekly salary to qualify for the executive and administrative exemptions has been 75 times the minimum hourly wage. The NYSDOL has confirmed that this proportionate increase will occur effective on Dec. 31, 2021.

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New York City Fast-Food Employers Beware: Just-Cause Needed for Firing

August 6, 2021

By Samuel G. Dobre and Paige Carey

The following article ran in the August 2021 edition of WestView News and is reprinted here with permission. 

Effective as of July 5, 2021, New York City fast food employers may only discharge employees for just-cause. This new law effectively chips away at the American tradition of at-will employment. 

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