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New York Issues Updated Guidance on New Antidiscrimination Laws

As we previously reported here and here, New York State significantly amended its antidiscrimination laws, with many of the changes effective as of October 11, 2019. The state issued updated FAQ guidance regarding these new requirements on October 29, 2019. While the guidance leaves unanswered many questions about the amended law, it provides valuable information regarding the new requirements. Below are highlights from the amended guidance.

Westchester County, NY Publishes Paid Safe Leave Guidance as Law Takes Effect

The Westchester County Human Rights Commission, the agency responsible for conducting public outreach for the Westchester County Safe Time Leave Law, published a host of information, including a copy of the law, a Notice of Employee Rights (the “Notice”), Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”), and the mandatory poster in time for the law’s October 30, 2019 effective date. Under the law, all private employers must provide up to 40 hours of paid leave for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

Westchester Safe Time Leave Has Arrived

The Westchester County Safe Time Leave Law takes effect today October 30, 2019. Starting on January 28, 2020, employers must begin providing eligible new hires with a copy of the law and written notice, which is intended to explain how the law applies to them.

Prepping for the Polls: What Employers Need to Know as New Yorkers Get Ready to Vote

As we approach the November 2019 elections, New York employers may want to keep in mind the state’s recently amended Election Law, which entitles employees to time off to vote. Since April 2019, all employers have been required to provide their New York employees who are registered voters with up to three hours of time off to vote without loss of pay. The time off to vote must be given at the beginning or end of an employee’s working hours, unless the employer and employee agree otherwise. An eligible employee seeking to take such time off must notify his or her employer at least two working days before the election.

New York City Enacts Legislation Clarifying Independent Contractor Protection under Human Rights Law

While courts have generally interpreted the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) as providing anti-discrimination protections to individuals performing services as independent contractors, effective in January 2020, amendments to the NYCHRL clarify such protections.

New Requirements and Looming Deadlines in October 2019: What New York Employers Need to Know

As we previously reported this past summer, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed Senate Bill 6549, which amended Section 194 of the New York Labor Law to prohibit wage differentials based on any protected class. As we also reported, the State Senate and Assembly also passed an omnibus bill that overhauled New York’s antidiscrimination laws. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed these bills into law on July 10 and August 12, 2019, respectively. As a result, several new laws are slated to take effect in October 2019.

New York City Issues New Enforcement Guidance on Discrimination Based on National Origin, Immigrant Status

Continuing its pattern of issuing enforcement guidance on areas on which it focuses, the New York City Commission on Human Rights has released guidance reiterating the obligations of most employers, housing providers, and providers of public accommodations in New York City to avoid discrimination based on national origin and immigration status.

New York State Doubles Down on Data Privacy, Sets High Bar for “Reasonable Safety Standards”

On July 25, 2019, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law two bills aimed at increasing the obligations of entities handling computerized private data. The Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act (SHIELD Act) expands the requirements for notifying affected parties in the event of a data breach and sets forth a demanding list of security measures that must be implemented to “maintain reasonable safeguards” to protect private information. Businesses handling the private data of New York residents should consider reviewing the SHIELD Act and existing policies and procedures to ensure compliance before the new privacy requirements go into effect.

New York City Amends Human Rights Law to Extend Protections to Freelancers and Independent Contractors

In recent years both New York State and New York City have actively amended their anti-discrimination laws to expand worker protections. For example, both the state and city have passed laws requiring most employers to distribute anti-sexual harassment policies and to provide anti-harassment training to their workforces.

Employers May Face New Challenges and Liabilities for Violating New York’s Frequency of Pay Law

As a result of a new appellate court decision, New York employers may now face liquidated damages for failing to pay employees as frequently as required by the New York Labor Law. In a recent unexpected decision that departs from the conventional wisdom and older precedent, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court for the First Department, in Vega v. CM & Associates Construction Management, LLC, held that “manual workers” who were paid in full, but paid on a biweekly or later basis, could recover liquidated damages for the employer’s failure to pay them weekly as required by state law. This decision could have significant implications for employers in New York.
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