New York’s Suffolk County recently passed a county ordinance prohibiting employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history as a part of the hiring process.
Under this new law, which goes into effect on June 30, 2019, employers are prohibited from
- Inquiring about a job applicant’s wage or salary history, including but not limited to, compensation and benefits.
- “to inquire” means to ask an applicant or former employer orally, or in writing, or otherwise or to conduct a search of publicly available records or reports.
- Relying on the salary history of an applicant for employment in determining the wage or salary amount for such applicant at any stage in the employment process, including at offer or contract.
By passing this new law, Suffolk County becomes the fourth locality in New York State to enact a salary history ban law (joining New York City, Westchester County, and Albany County). To date, New York State has NOT enacted a statewide salary history ban law.
It is recommended that employers in Suffolk County verify that all employment application materials are updated to remove any requests for salary history – including job applications and job interview scripts. In addition, all employees who are involved in the hiring process are trained about the new requirement and informed that they are not allowed to inquire into applicant’s salary history.
Attention employers in Westchester County, New York – Under the Westchester County Earned Sick Leave Law, starting April 10, 2019 you will be required to provide sick leave benefits to employees who work more than 80 hours in a year.
How much sick leave must be provided?
Starting April 10, 2019, eligible employees of Westchester County employers will start accruing sick leave. Employers with less than 5 employees may provide unpaid sick leave, while employers with 5 or more employees must provide paid sick leave benefits.
Unused sick leave can be carried over from year-to-year, but employers are not required to allow an employee to use more than 40 hours of sick leave in one year. Continue reading NEW LAW: Coming Soon to Westchester County – Sick Leave
On January 25, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) into law. This new law amends the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) by adding gender identity and gender expression to the list of protected classes. With this addition, discrimination in the workplace based on an individual’s gender identity or gender expression is now prohibited.
“The term “gender identity or expression” means a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender”.
What does this mean for employers?
- Employers will have to develop and implement new anti-discrimination policies and anti-harassment policies.
- Make sure anti-discrimination/anti-harassment training programs address gender identity or expression discrimination.
- Training managers on detecting such discrimination will be needed.
- Education/train employees on the forms of harassment and discrimination.
- Provide reasonable accommodation if needed.
Attention New York City employers, under a new law (Int. 879-A and Int. 905-A), which takes effect on March 18, 2019, employers with 4 or more employees will be required to provide “lactation rooms” for breastfeeding employees to express milk in the workplace. In addition, employers must develop a written policy relating to lactation accommodation that must be provided to all employees and all new employees upon hire.
The City Commission on Human Rights will be developing a model policy that employers can use.
As all New York employers are aware, earlier this year, New York enacted an expansive set of laws relating to sexual harassment, which went into effect earlier this month.
Earlier this month, the New York State Department of Labor released English versions of a Model Sexual Harassment Policy, Model Complaint Form, Training Requirements, and FAQs, which are available here.
On October 17, 2018, the New York State Department of Labor released translated versions of these documents in the following languages: Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Italian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish, which are available here.
One of the requirements under these new laws is the requirement that employers provide sexual harassment training materials and policies to their employees in the employee’s primary language. If the New York State Department of Labor has not translated a document into the language spoken by an employee, an employer is considered in compliance by providing the employee English language documents.
On October 1, 2018, the New York State Division of Human Rights and Department of Labor published the final versions of the model anti-harassment training program and a model sexual harassment policy. See our previous article (NEW GUIDANCE: New York State Final Sexual Harassment Model Policy & Sexual Harassment Training Programs Released) for information about the final materials.
Employers are required to adopt and provide a copy of their sexual harassment prevention policy to all employees by October 9, 2018. In addition, employers are required to display the new sexual harassment prevention policy poster in a prominent location in the workplace no later than October 9, 2018.
It is recommended that New York employers take immediate steps to comply with these new requirements.
The good news for employers, the deadlines to provide sexual harassment training have changed.
With respect to providing sexual harassment training to new hires, the final guidance materials remove the proposed 30-day deadline by which newly-hired employees must complete their first mandatory anti-harassment training. Instead, there is not any set deadline and the State “encourages training of of new hires as soon as possible.” (NOTE: New York City employers will be required to train new hires in New York City within the first 90 days of employment).
With respect to providing sexual harassment training to existing employees, the final guidance materials postpone the deadline by which all employees in New York State must complete their first annual mandatory anti-harassment training to October 9, 2019.
As reported earlier (NEW GUIDANCE: New York State Publishes DRAFT Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training), in late August, the New York State Division of Human Rights and Department of Labor published draft versions of model anti-harassment training program and a model sexual harassment policy. The publication of these materials was in compliance with these agencies’ obligations under New York State’s new anti-harassment law. As a reminder, this law:
- Prohibits employers from using a mandatory arbitration provision in an employment contract in relation to sexual harassment;
- Requires that nondisclosure agreements can only be used when the condition of confidentiality is the explicit preference of the victim; and
- Amends the Human Rights Law to protect contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, or others providing services in the workplace from sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Establishes minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention policies and sexual harassment training. All employers operating in New York State must either adopt and use the State’s model policy and training as-is or use the models as a basis to establish their own policy and training.
Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE: New York State Final Sexual Harassment Model Policy & Sexual Harassment Training Programs Released
New York State hotel operators are you ready for the new posting requirement?
Starting October 14, 2018, all hotels in New York with at least five rooms will be required to post human trafficking “informational cards” throughout each hotel’s premises.
There are three options for the type of card that can be posted:
- The hotel can create its own informational card
- The hotel can use a card created by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) in conjunction with the New York State Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking (which is not yet available)
- Use a card created by the United States Department of Homeland Security
Should a hotel operator choose to create its own card, it must contain the following:
- the National Human Trafficking Hotline number (1-888-373-7888) and
- only information regarding services for human trafficking victims.
There are no other specific requirements for the content of these cards. In addition, there are not any specific size requirements for the cards.
Hotel operators are required to place the cards in the hotel
- in plain view and in a conspicuous location in public rest rooms,
- in guest rooms, and
- near the public entrance to the hotel (or another conspicuous location in clear view of the public and its employees where similar information is customarily displayed)
Aside from the above location requirement, there is no requirement that the cards to be affixed in any particular location; therefore, a hotel may choose to stack informational cards in the required locations.
The new New York City sexual harassment law (Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act — Local Law 95 of 2018 and Local Law 96 of 2018) requires all New York City employers distribute the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ mandatory fact sheet on the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” to all new employees starting September 6, 2018.
In addition, starting September 6, 2018, all New York City employers are required to post information in the workplace regarding the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. The required poster is available in both English and Spanish and must be published in other languages.
Finally, while not required, we strongly recommend that all all New York City employers distribute the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ mandatory fact sheet on the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” to all existing employees.
As reported in a previous article (New York State and New York City Amend Sexual Harassment Laws), earlier this year, New York State passed a stringent new sexual harassment law.
As a part of this law, the New York State Division of Human Rights and Department of Labor were required to publish a model anti-harassment training program and a model sexual harassment policy. Once available, employers can choose whether to adopt the models prepared by the state or develop their own, so long as their policies and training meet or exceed the standards contained in the models.
On August 23, 2018, New York State released the following new materials designed to help New York employers comply with the new law:
Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE: New York State Publishes DRAFT Model Sexual Harassment Policy and Training