The NY HERO Act, Biden’s Executive Order and Sexual Harassment Training

July 15, 2021

By: Stephanie H. Fedorka and Suzanne M. Messer

As a bonus to Bond’s July 6 Back to Business webinar, Bond attorneys Stephanie H. Fedorka, Suzanne M. Messer and Sarah Zucco each recorded a short video providing updates on topics of concern to employers in New York State. 

Stephanie, part of Bond’s labor and employment practice, provided an update on the New York Health and Essential Rights (or HERO) Act, which mandates extensive new workplace health and safety protections for all airborne infectious diseases. To comply with the HERO Act, private employers with worksites in New York State must adopt airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans – either the model plans released July 6 by the Department of Labor or alternative plans that adhere to certain requirements. Employers have until Aug. 5 to comply. They also must provide written notice and copies of the plan to all employees within 30 days of the plan’s adoption or within 60 days of the model plans’ release (Sept. 4). Although the plans must be adopted now, they will remain on standby until they’re formally activated by a designation of an outbreak by the state commissioner of health. 

Suzanne Messer, a Bond litigator, gave an update on President Biden’s new executive order on promoting competition in the American economy. Signed last week, the order addresses 72 initiatives designed to mitigate the effects of corporate consolidations that have led to increased prices, lower wages and a lack of innovation and economic growth. During her video, Suzanne focused on the initiative addressing noncompetition agreements and licensing requirements. Biden’s executive order seeks to limit or ban noncompetition agreements and encourages conformity in licensing requirements across the 50 states. Traditionally, these agreements have been governed at the state level, but Biden has tasked the Federal Trade Commission with imposing rules and regulations on a federal level. Until those rules materialize, Suzanne recommends employers have their noncompetition agreements reviewed by their attorney to see if they can withstand a legal challenge.

Sarah, a labor and employment attorney, provided a refresher on sexual harassment training requirements for New York City and New York State. Both the city and state require employers of any size to provide annual, interactive sexual harassment training to all employees, even those working remotely. Under state law, the training has to be provided during any six-month period, but city law requires the training occur in a calendar year (with a deadline of Dec. 31).

The full presentation covered the following topics:

  • HERO Act Standard and Templates/Guidance
  • Biden EO on Anti-Competitive Activity
  • Refresher on Harassment & Sexual Harassment Requirements in NY/NYC
  • Update from Albany

Click here to view the webinar in its entirety or to register for upcoming Tuesday presentations.