New York Law

NYSDOL Issues FAQs Regarding Recreational Marijuana

October 18, 2021

By Hannah K. Redmond

Earlier this month, the New York Department of Labor (DOL) published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana and its impact on the workplace.

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalized the recreational use of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21 in New York, was passed in March 2021. The MRTA amended Labor Law § 201-d, to specify that the recreational use or consumption of marijuana outside of work hours and off an employer’s premises, constitutes lawful recreational activity. Thus, subject to limited exceptions, most employees cannot be disciplined or discriminated against for using and/or consuming recreational marijuana. For more information on Labor Law § 201-d and the recognized exceptions, see our prior blog post, which is available here

Read More >> NYSDOL Issues FAQs Regarding Recreational Marijuana

Federal Court Issues TRO Enjoining Omission of a Religious Exemption from the Emergency Public Health Vaccination Regulations

September 14, 2021

By Peter A. Jones

The federal District Court for the Northern District of New York issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Sept. 14, 2021, enjoining New York State officials from enforcing emergency regulations imposing a vaccination mandate for certain healthcare workers to the extent that the regulations do not allow for a religious exemption to the mandate. The TRO is available here. As reported here previously, the emergency regulations, which were issued on August 26 by the Public Health and Health Planning Council under the New York State Public Health Law, apply to hospitals, nursing home and home health agencies, among other entities. The emergency regulations were notable for not including provisions for a religious exemption or any test out provisions. The court’s TRO places the lack of a religious exemption provision on hold, pending the outcome of the proceeding.

Read More >> Federal Court Issues TRO Enjoining Omission of a Religious Exemption from the Emergency Public Health Vaccination Regulations

Employers Activate Your HERO Act Plans! NY Commissioner of Health Issues NY HERO Act Designation for COVID-19

September 7, 2021

By Stephanie H. Fedorka

On Sept. 6, 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul directed the NYS Commissioner of Health to designate COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health. The designation is official and available on the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) website.

Read More >> Employers Activate Your HERO Act Plans! NY Commissioner of Health Issues NY HERO Act Designation for COVID-19

Mandatory Vaccination for Health Care Workers 

August 27, 2021

By Travis R. Talerico

Effective Aug. 26, 2021, New York State now requires all employers of health care workers working within the state to ensure that their personnel have received a full COVID-19 vaccination. The definition of “personnel” contained in the new regulation is expansive, including employees, students, volunteers and any other affiliates of the organization who “engage in such activities such that if they were infected with COVID-19, they could potentially expose other covered personnel, patients or residents to the disease.” 

Read More >> Mandatory Vaccination for Health Care Workers 

NY HERO Act – NYSDOL Publishes Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standards and Model Plans For Various Industries

July 7, 2021

By Stephanie H. Fedorka

On the evening of July 6, 2021, the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) published the long awaited “Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard” (Standard), a general “Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan,” and several industry specific model prevention plans as well. These are now available on the DOL’s website. The model plans are currently available in English, but the website states that they will also be available in Spanish soon, as required by statute. 

Read More >> NY HERO Act – NYSDOL Publishes Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standards and Model Plans For Various Industries

Must an Employer Offer a Reasonable Accommodation if a Federal Safety Regulation Prohibits Such Accommodation? 

July 7, 2021

By Richard S. Finkel

In a decision of interest to New York State employers subject to federal safety regulations, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently answered that question in the negative. In Bey v. City of New York1, the Court concluded that where a federal safety regulation expressly prohibits a requested medical accommodation, that regulation trumps the requirements imposed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA) and Title VII and shields the employer from liability under those statutes. 

Read More >> Must an Employer Offer a Reasonable Accommodation if a Federal Safety Regulation Prohibits Such Accommodation? 

How is My Hair? A Brief Review Of Hairstyle Discrimination In The Workplace

June 22, 2021

By Nihla F. Sikkander and Krystal Macharie

“How is my hair? Does it look OK?” With employees returning to onsite work, questions regarding employers’ grooming and dress code policies are bound to crop up. When responding, employers should be cognizant of the fact that their dress code and grooming policies must comply with expanding legal protections against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles. 

Read More >> How is My Hair? A Brief Review Of Hairstyle Discrimination In The Workplace

Technical Amendments to NY HERO Act Passed – What’s Next For Employers

June 14, 2021

By Stephanie H. Fedorka

As previously reported, the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act) was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on May 5, 2021. The governor announced that his approval was based on his having secured an “agreement” with the NYS Legislature to make certain “technical changes” to the bill. On May 26 the amendments passed in the NYS Senate, and on June 7, they passed in the NYS Assembly. On Friday, June 11, the bill was delivered to and signed by Governor Cuomo. 

Read More >> Technical Amendments to NY HERO Act Passed – What’s Next For Employers