New York Law

Additional Developments to New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act

November 22, 2022

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

On June 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s requirement that individuals demonstrate an individualized need for protection to obtain a permit allowing them to carry a firearm for self-defense outside their home or business. In response, on July 1, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed new legislation – the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) – which modifies the requirements for obtaining a conceal and carry permit and prohibits the possession of firearms in areas deemed “sensitive” or “restricted.” Under the CCIA, places of employment and business constitute restricted areas in which the possession of firearms is only permitted with express permission from the property owner or lessee.

Read More >> Additional Developments to New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act

Recreational Marijuana Use in the Workplace: An Update

October 31, 2022

By James M. Taglienti

Overview

In March of 2021, New York passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalized the recreational use of cannabis for individuals over the age of 21. When passed, the MRTA amended Labor Law § 201-d to protect an employee’s right to use “consumable products,” which now includes cannabis. However, the employee’s right to use cannabis is protected only if the use is (1) outside of work hours; (2) off of the employer’s premises; and (3) without use of the employer’s equipment or other property.

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New York Lowers Overtime Threshold for Agricultural Workers

October 18, 2022

By Patrick V. Melfi and Gianelle M. Duby

On Sept. 30, 2022, State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon announced that she has accepted the New York Farm Laborers Wage Board’s recommendation to lower the overtime threshold for agricultural workers from 60 hours down to 40 hours. During its Sept. 6, 2022 meeting, the Board voted 2-1 in favor of submitting its report recommending a 10-year phase in schedule for a 40-hour threshold. The overtime threshold will be reduced by four hours every two years beginning on Jan. 1, 2024 until it reaches 40 hours in the year 2032.

Read More >> New York Lowers Overtime Threshold for Agricultural Workers

New York Announces Increase to Minimum Wage for Upstate Employers

October 11, 2022

By Hannah K. Redmond and Subhash Viswanathan

Effective Dec. 31, 2022, the minimum wage in upstate New York (i.e., every part of the state except New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties) will increase from $13.20 to $14.20 per hour. The New York State Department of Labor recently announced this one dollar increase – which is approximately a 7.5% increase.

The minimum wage for employees working in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties remains unchanged at $15.00 per hour. The minimum wage for fast food employees across the state also remains unchanged at $15.00 per hour. The minimum wage for upstate New York will continue to increase on an annual basis until the statewide minimum wage rate reaches $15.00 per hour regardless of locale. A chart summarizing the minimum wage rates throughout the state is available here.

Employers should keep two important things in mind as they prepare to comply with this forthcoming minimum wage increase. First, the minimum wage increase for goes into effect on Dec. 31, 2022. Therefore, non-exempt employees who work on New Year’s Eve should be paid the increased minimum wage for any hours worked. Second, the applicable minimum wage rate is determined with respect to where the work is performed – not where the employer is located. Thus, an employee working in New York City must be paid at the minimum wage rate applicable to downstate even if his or her employer is headquartered in upstate where the minimum wage has not yet reached $15.00.

An increase to the salary threshold for employees who are classified as exempt under New York’s executive and administrative exemptions has not been finalized for 2023. However, proposed regulatory text issued by the Department of Labor suggests the minimum weekly salary threshold for the executive and administrative exemptions will increase from $990 to $1064.25 per week (inclusive of board, lodging and other allowances and facilities) in upstate New York effective Dec. 31, 2022. Historically, the exempt salary threshold has been 75 times the minimum wage rate; this proposed increase, which will likely be implemented, roughly follows that pattern. There is no proposed increase to the salary threshold for exempt executive and administrative employees working in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, so that threshold will remain at $1,125 per week. There is still no state salary threshold to qualify for the professional exemption, so the federal threshold of $684.00 per week remains applicable for the professional exemption. Employees must continue to meet specified duties requirements to qualify for an exemption.

For any questions about this minimum wage increase, please contact Hannah Redmond, any attorney in Bond’s labor and employment practice or the Bond attorney with whom you are regularly in contact.

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.

Read More >> Decision Issued Restraining Enforcement of Significant Aspects of New Gun Legislation

New York State Adopts the CDC’s COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance

September 22, 2022

By Hannah K. Redmond and Jared A. Joyce

On Sept. 14, 2022, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) issued updated COVID-19 quarantine and isolation guidance, which effectively replaces the guidance from May 31, 2022. According to the September 14 guidance, the NYSDOH will now follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines on quarantine and isolation.

Read More >> New York State Adopts the CDC’s COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance

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.

NYS Launches Sexual Harassment Hotline

July 20, 2022

By Theresa E. Rusnak

On July 19, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the launch of a statewide hotline for employees who believe they have been sexually harassed in the workplace. This announcement follows several pieces of legislation1 passed in March 2022, in which sexual harassment protections for employees were expanded. As part of the legislation, the New York State Division of Human Rights was directed to establish a toll-free, confidential hotline for complainants of workplace sexual harassment. Employees can call the hotline and receive advice on their legal rights as applied to their specific circumstances from attorneys, who staff the hotline pro bono. As of July 20, 2022, the hotline is operational from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be reached at 1-800-HARASS-3 (1-800-427-2773).

Read More >> NYS Launches Sexual Harassment Hotline

New York Passes Gun Legislation in Response to Supreme Court Decision Overturning Licensing Restrictions for Concealed Carry Permits

July 12, 2022

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

On June 23, 2022, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, the U.S. Supreme Court held that New York’s requirements for obtaining permits for the concealed carry of a firearm were unconstitutional in a decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas. Since 1911, New York has prohibited individuals from possessing a firearm without a license. 

Read More >> New York Passes Gun Legislation in Response to Supreme Court Decision Overturning Licensing Restrictions for Concealed Carry Permits

New York Wage Transparency Law Passes Both Houses

June 14, 2022

By Stephanie H. Fedorka and Camisha Parkins

On June 3, 2022, the New York State Legislature passed Senate Bill S9427/Assembly Bill A10477 (the Bill)—a new wage transparency law that would amend the New York Labor Law to add new Section 194-b. If enacted, the new law would require covered employers to disclose compensation or a range of compensation to applicants and employees upon issuing an employment opportunity for internal or public viewing, or upon employee request. The Bill is intended to enhance transparency around compensation and reducing any existing wage disparities among employees.

Read More >> New York Wage Transparency Law Passes Both Houses

Appellate Division Holds Attorney General’s COVID-19 Retaliation Claims are Preempted by Federal Law

May 17, 2022

By Hannah K. Redmond

In February 2021, New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, filed a lawsuit against Amazon alleging that the retailer failed to sufficiently prioritize hygiene, sanitation and social distancing at its fulfillment center and delivery station in New York City.1 The Complaint also alleged that Amazon unlawfully terminated employees at those locations who complained about conditions they perceived to be unsafe.2 The Complaint asserted causes of action under various sections of the New York Labor Law (NYLL), including Sections 200, 215 and 740, all of which “relate to the obligations of New York businesses to adequately protect the health and safety of employees and to refrain from discrimination or retaliation against employees who complain about potential NYLL violations.”3

Read More >> Appellate Division Holds Attorney General’s COVID-19 Retaliation Claims are Preempted by Federal Law