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New York Employment Law Blog

Employers must know New York’s laws

New York has some of the strictest and most comprehensive employment laws in the country. While the laws offer protections for employees, it can be difficult for employers to navigate all the rules and regulations. Coupled with federal law, New York businesses are forced to comply with a long list of standards.

The New York Business Journal recently published a rundown of the top laws every employer should know. While it isn’t an exhaustive list, it offers good insight into what employers who are new to the state can expect, and what current employers should be checking for compliance.

What should employers do during a natural disaster?

We've all seen reports of the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey the last couple weeks. Here in New York, few can forget Hurricane Sandy. Natural disasters can be devastating.

For employers and workers, natural disasters can lead to lost productivity that can cause lingering effects for days, weeks or more. While it goes without saying that safety should be everyone's primary concern, it is also important for employers to know how to handle a natural disaster from a business perspective.

Employers must know New York laws

New York has some of the strictest and most comprehensive employment laws in the country. While the laws offer protections for employees, it can be difficult for employers to navigate all the rules and regulations. Coupled with federal law, New York businesses are forced to comply with a long list of standards.

The New York Business Journal recently published a rundown of the top laws every employer should know. While not exhaustive, the list provides insight into what new companies and businesses looking to expand into New York can expect, and what current employers should be monitoring in order to ensure compliance with state laws.

Looking for business-friendly noncompete laws? Try Idaho

Courts across the country have been siding with employees lately when it comes to non-compete clauses, and New York is no exception. In 2016, the New York State Attorney General said, "Unless an individual has highly unique skills or access to trade secrets, non-compete clauses have no place in a worker's employment contract."

Defending non-compete agreements can be expensive for employers, and can lead to unfavorable results. On the other hand, companies sometimes find even unenforceable non-compete agreements to be effective at preventing workers from joining a competitor, since an employee and his or her prospective employer may be reluctant to enter into a legal battle with the worker's former employer. 

What happens to workers when a ‘gig economy’ company folds?

Workers continue to enter the “gig economy” in large numbers. According to a 2016 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, up to 30 percent of workers in the United States and Europe take part in some form of independent work.

For some, the work may be side jobs, but others rely solely on one or more of these gigs for their entire income. In many cases, the workers are independent contractors, meaning they don’t have as many rights as employees. So what happens if the company goes out of business?

Determining the right wage for employees

Determining employees' wages is a difficult task for employers. There is a long list of factors, which include balancing the best interests of the business and employees, that play a role in setting wages.

Across the country, businesses and employees are talking about wages. With unemployment lower than it's been in more than a decade, business owners are having a difficult time attracting talent. Yet, employees and job seekers say wages aren't high enough. Why is this happening?

Preventing sexual harassment

It can be difficult and distressing to read about sexual harassment cases. Often, we highlight specific issues related to sexual harassment or speak about the topic broadly because employees and employers need to be aware of sexual harassment and know how to spot it in the workplace.

But once you identify certain conduct as sexual harassment, it's equally important to know how to stop it. Being proactive is usually best, but what about when you work in an industry that maintains a culture of chronic harassment?

New legislation aims to close gender wage gap in NYC

Signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio on May 4, 2017, a new measure designed to close the gender wage gap will take effect on October 31. An amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law, the legislation makes it illegal for an employer to look into an applicant's salary history. City lawmakers believe questions about salary history can lead to discriminatory payment practices.

Under the law, employers may not search publicly-available databases to investigate an applicant's past earnings. Likewise, they cannot ask applicants about their salary history, including any benefits packages or other forms of compensation they've received. Additionally, employers are not allowed to base a potential new hire's compensation and benefits on what they've been paid in the past, unless the applicant volunteers this information without being asked.

Employee claims overtime pay for unworked hours

Often people think of overtime pay from the perspective of employees. This makes sense because it goes without saying that employees should be paid for every hour they work. Overtime pay exists because of this simple fact.

It's important to note, however, that abusing overtime rules doesn't just affect employees. In some cases, it is the employees who are the ones doing the abusing.

Federal government releases list of employment law priorities

Employment laws change frequently and can be difficult to navigate with federal, state and local governments each having different standards. That's why we try to keep you updated with discussions about new regulations on our blog.

Elections, from the municipal level to the federal level, can lead to changes that affect employees and employers. This makes awareness of potential changes that could have immediate or future ramifications very important.

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