New York Law

New Legislation Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based on Reproductive Health Decision Making

November 22, 2019

By Stephanie H. Fedorka

On November 8, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that provides certain protections for employees based on “reproductive health decision making.”  Under the new legislation, which is codified in New York Labor Law Section 203-e, “reproductive health decision making” includes, but is not limited to, “the decision to use or access a particular drug, device or medical service" related to reproductive health.  Simply put, employers in New York cannot take adverse employment actions against employees based on decisions such as obtaining fertility-related medical procedures, using birth control drugs or contraceptive devices, or having an abortion.

Read More >> New Legislation Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based on Reproductive Health Decision Making

New York Increases Employment Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

September 4, 2019

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

On August 20, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an amendment to the New York Human Rights Law which grants additional employment protections to victims of domestic violence, similar to those already provided by the New York City Human Rights Law.  Beginning on November 18, 2019, employers in New York State will be required to provide certain reasonable accommodations to employees who are victims of domestic violence or parents of children who are victims of domestic violence.

Read More >> New York Increases Employment Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Amending the Human Rights Law

August 13, 2019

By Theresa E. Rusnak and Subhash Viswanathan

On August 12, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the legislation that was passed by the New York State Assembly and Senate on June 19, 2019, making sweeping changes to the New York Human Rights Law. We previously posted a summary of the significant amendments to the Human Rights Law and the potential impact that these amendments could have on the litigation of discrimination and harassment claims filed with the Division of Human Rights and in court. The legislation does not apply retroactively, so only future claims under the Human Rights Law will be affected.

Read More >> Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Amending the Human Rights Law

Recent New York Legislation Prohibits Employers From Threatening to Report an Employee's Suspected Immigration Status in Retaliation for Labor Law Complaints

July 31, 2019

By Subhash Viswanathan

New York has for many years had a law on the books that prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee because the employee has complained about an alleged violation of the wage and hour laws.  Specifically, New York Labor Law Section 215 states that an employer may not "discharge, threaten, penalize, or in any other manner discriminate or retaliate against any employee" because the employee complained of an alleged violation of the Labor Law or otherwise cooperated with a Department of Labor or Attorney General investigation regarding an alleged violation of the Labor Law.

On July 29, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation amending the statute to specify that the phrase "threaten, penalize, or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against any employee" includes threatening to contact or contacting United States immigration authorities or otherwise reporting or threatening to report the citizenship or suspected immigration status of an employee or an employee's family member.  The legislation is effective 90 days after the date on which the Governor signed it.

Read More >> Recent New York Legislation Prohibits Employers From Threatening to Report an Employee's Suspected Immigration Status in Retaliation for Labor Law Complaints

New York Amends the Human Rights Law to Prohibit Discrimination Based on Traits Historically Associated With Race (Such As Hair Texture and Protective Hairstyles)

July 22, 2019

By Subhash Viswanathan

On July 12, Governor Cuomo signed a bill amending the New York Human Rights Law to prohibit employment discrimination based on "traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles."  The term "protective hairstyles" includes, but is not limited to, "such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists."  This amendment took effect immediately upon the Governor's signature.

Read More >> New York Amends the Human Rights Law to Prohibit Discrimination Based on Traits Historically Associated With Race (Such As Hair Texture and Protective Hairstyles)

Federal Court Holds That New York Law Prohibiting Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims Is Invalid

July 15, 2019

By Kaveh Dabashi

In 2018, Governor Cuomo signed a State Budget bill that included various provisions addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.  Among those provisions was a prohibition on including in any written contract a clause requiring the submission of sexual harassment claims to arbitration, except where inconsistent with federal law.  On June 26, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held, in Latif v. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, that this New York law prohibiting mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims is inconsistent with the Federal Arbitration Act and is therefore invalid.

Read More >> Federal Court Holds That New York Law Prohibiting Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims Is Invalid

New York Prohibits Salary History Inquiries and Expands Equal Pay Claims

July 11, 2019

By Jacqueline A. Smith

Yesterday morning, moments ahead of the parade in New York City to celebrate the Women’s National Soccer Team’s World Cup victory, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law two bills related to equal pay.  The enactment of this legislation follows allegations made by members of the Women’s National Soccer Team that the U.S. Soccer Federation has engaged in gender-based wage discrimination by paying the Women’s Team less than the Men’s National Soccer Team.

Read More >> New York Prohibits Salary History Inquiries and Expands Equal Pay Claims

New York Legislature Passes Significant Amendments to the New York Human Rights Law

June 21, 2019

By Theresa E. Rusnak and Subhash Viswanathan

On June 19, 2019, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed legislation that makes sweeping changes to the New York Human Rights Law.  This legislation will have a significant impact on the litigation of discrimination and harassment claims filed with the Division of Human Rights and in court.  It is expected that Governor Cuomo will sign the legislation soon.  The legislation does not apply retroactively, so only future claims under the Human Rights Law will be affected.

Read More >> New York Legislature Passes Significant Amendments to the New York Human Rights Law

New York's Highest Court Upholds "13 Hour Rule" for Home Health Aides Working 24-Hour Shifts

March 27, 2019

By Michael D. Billok and Mary E. Aldridge

On March 26, 2019, the New York State Court of Appeals issued a ruling that will have a significant positive impact on home care agencies across the state.  In a five-to-two decision, the Court upheld the validity of the New York State Department of Labor’s “13 Hour Rule” for cases involving 24-hour live-in care.  Under the “13 Hour Rule,” a residential employee assigned to work a 24-hour shift need only be paid for 13 of those hours, so long as he or she is provided with an 8-hour sleep break and three hours of meal breaks.  (If the employee’s meal breaks are interrupted, or if the employee does not get five uninterrupted hours of sleep, the employer must pay for the entire break.)  Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, participated in the case, representing amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State.

Read More >> New York's Highest Court Upholds "13 Hour Rule" for Home Health Aides Working 24-Hour Shifts

New York Court of Appeals Issues Decision Addressing Public Access to Police Personnel and Disciplinary Records

March 17, 2019

By Christopher T. Kurtz

On December 11, 2018, the New York Court of Appeals issued a decision (over two dissenting opinions) addressing public access to police personnel and disciplinary records.  The Court held that certain personnel records sought by the New York City Civil Liberties Union (“NYCLU”) pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) are exempt from disclosure under New York Civil Rights Law § 50-a and New York Public Officers Law § 87(2)(a).  In doing so, the Court affirmed the decision of the Appellate Division, First Department, and the broad applicability of Civil Rights Law § 50-a to requests for police personnel/disciplinary records.

Read More >> New York Court of Appeals Issues Decision Addressing Public Access to Police Personnel and Disciplinary Records