New York Expands Retaliatory Workplace Safeguards for Protected Leave

December 6, 2022

By Stephanie H. Fedorka and Jackson K. Somes

On Nov. 21, 2022 New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a Bill A8092-B/S1958 into law that expands retaliatory workplace protections for employees. The newly signed law amends New York Labor Law (NYLL) Section 215 to prohibit an employer from punishing or disciplining an employee who takes time off work for a “lawful absence” protected by federal, state or local law.

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NLRB Proposes to Roll Back Union Election Rules

December 1, 2022

By Samuel G. Dobre and Michael Kratochvil

On Nov. 2, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking to strengthen protections for unions in the election process. Among other things, the proposal would alter the rules instituted by the Trump Board in 2020 that made it easier for employees to decertify incumbent unions. The proposed changes are purportedly intended to protect workers’ ability to make free choices regarding union representation and to encourage collective bargaining.

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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.

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Albany County Salary Transparency Law

November 15, 2022

By Catherine A. Graziose

Changes are on the horizon for Albany County after the county Legislature passed several laws in October, including legislation meant to provide greater salary transparency for job seekers. Local Law “E,” sponsored by Albany Democrat Carolyn McLaughlin, requires county employers to post the minimum and maximum salary range when advertising an open position, promotion or transfer. Adopted on Oct. 11, 2022, this law amends Local Law No. 1 for 2013, “An Omnibus Human Rights Law for Albany County” and is set to go into effect 90 days after being signed by the Albany County executive. 

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NLRB General Counsel Issues Memo on Electronic Monitoring, Artificial Intelligence and Employee’s Section 7 Rights

November 10, 2022

By Lisa R. Feldman

With the proliferation of remote work options in today’s post-pandemic world, employers’ electronic monitoring of their employees’ daily activities has become more routine. On October 31, the National Labor Relations Board (Board) general counsel (GC) released a new memo cautioning against the potential violations of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (Act) that use of such electronic monitoring may raise by “significantly impairing or negating employees’ ability to engage in protected activity and keep that activity confidential from their employer[.]” The GC announced intent to urge the Board to “zealously enforc[e]” existing Board precedent in this context and protect employees rights “to the greatest extent possible.”

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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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National Labor Relations Board Stepping Up Penalties for Unfair Labor Practices

October 25, 2022

By Samuel G. Dobre and Michael Kratochvil

In a September 2021 memorandum, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) signaled its intent to exercise the full extent of its power to enforce stricter and more costly penalties for unfair labor practices (ULPs). The change was made evident in June 2022, when the Board issued a consequential damages award in a settlement agreement for the first time ever.

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DOL Proposes New Rule For Independent Contractor Classification

October 20, 2022

By Adam P. Mastroleo and Rebecca J. LaPoint

On Oct. 11, 2022, the U.S. DOL of Labor (DOL) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would revise the analysis for determining independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposed standard would rescind the current rule that has been in effect since March 8, 2021.

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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.

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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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