New York Enacts Law Requiring Employers to Provide Notice of Electronic Monitoring

November 19, 2021

By Richard C. White

On Nov. 8, 2021, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill amending New York’s Civil Rights Law by adding a new section that requires employers to give prior written notice of any electronic monitoring to employees upon hire. The law takes effect on May 7, 2022. The law applies to all private sector employers in New York, regardless of the size of the employer. 

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New York Significantly Expands Employee Whistleblower Protections

November 8, 2021

By Peter H. Wiltenburg

On Oct. 28, 2021, Gov. Hochul signed legislation that significantly expands the scope of New York Labor Law Section 740 (NYLL 740), the state’s “whistleblower” protection law covering all private sector employees. Most notably, beginning in January 2022, employees and independent contractors will be protected for reporting employer activity that they reasonably believe violates any law, regardless of whether the law relates to public safety or whether the activity was an actual violation. 

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OSHA's Vax or Test Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is Here

November 4, 2021

By Thomas G. Eron and Nihla F. Sikkander

On Nov. 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring all employers with 100 or more employees, with a few exceptions, to mandate vaccination or test employees weekly for COVID-19. OSHA justified the ETS by citing a “grave danger” posed by the coronavirus. Covered employers are required to develop, implement and enforce either a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy or a policy requiring employees to choose to get vaccinated or to undergo regular testing and wear a face covering at work. In addition, the ETS requires employers to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated and paid sick leave for employees to recover from any side effects resulting from vaccination.

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Changes to New York Paid Family Leave

November 3, 2021

By Kerry W. Langan and Theresa E. Rusnak

PFL Expanded to Include Siblings

On Nov. 1, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law amending the definition of family member for purposes of the New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (PFL) to include biological or adopted siblings, half-siblings and step-siblings. This amendment takes effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Currently, family members for purposes of PFL include a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, spouse and domestic partner. 

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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

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Religious Exemptions May be Considered for Now – Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction on State Healthcare Vaccine Mandate

October 13, 2021

By Adam P. Mastroleo and Dustin Dorsino

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, Judge David N. Hurd of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York granted a preliminary injunction barring the Department of Health (DOH) from enforcing a recent COVID-19 vaccination mandate to the extent it eliminated healthcare workers’ ability to seek a religious exemption.

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New Guidance on the Impact of HIPAA on COVID-19 in the Workplace

October 12, 2021

By Theresa E. Rusnak

On Sept. 30, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services published guidance, “HIPAA, COVID-19 Vaccination, and the Workplace,” (the Guidance) that details the ways in which the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) intersects with workplace and other third-party inquiries regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. 

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Task Force Issues Federal Contractor COVID-19 Safety Protocol Guidance

October 5, 2021

By Stephanie H. Fedorka

On Sept. 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force published guidance related to President Biden’s Executive Order 14042 “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.” 

Executive Order 14042 (the Order) generally requires federal agencies and executive departments to ensure that covered contracts and contract-like instruments include a clause that requires covered contractors (and subcontractors) to comply with COVID-19 safety protocol guidance published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, including as it may be updated in the future. 

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