Changing Laws

New legislation in New York affects employers

New Employer Notification Requirements
While Section 195 of the New York State Labor Law requires employers to notify employees of their rate of pay and of the employer’s regular pay day, under a July 28, 2009 amendment, employers will soon have additional notice obligations. For all new employees hired on or after October 26, 2009, this notification must be in writing and for all non-exempt employees, it must include the regular and overtime hourly rate. In addition, employers must obtain written acknowledgment from the new hire that he or she received the notice. The Labor Commissioner is expected to issue a form for the acknowledgment.

New York employers should update their new hire paperwork to reflect these additional requirements. Further, employers must ensure that they properly classify new hires as exempt or non-exempt for overtime purposes, so the proper wage information can be provided in the written notice.

Discrimination Against Domestic Violence Victims Now Prohibited under State Law
New York Human Rights Law § 296, which prohibits discrimination against employees, was amended as of July 7, 2009 to include a new category of persons who are protected under the law. Like its New York City counterpart, the state law now prohibits discrimination against employees who are “Domestic Violence Victims.” Executive Law § 292(34) defines a “domestic violence victim” as “an individual who is a victim of an act which would constitute a family offense” as defined in New York Family Court Act § 812(1). These offenses include harassment, stalking, assault or attempted assault between spouses or former spouses, between parent and child, or between members of the same family or household.

Employers cannot take adverse employment actions against employees, refuse to hire applicants, or discriminate against employees in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of their status as a domestic violence victim.
New York employers should update their written policies prohibiting discrimination to include this new protected class. Employee anti-harassment training should include reference to the new law as well.

ellen r. storch, esq.

Ellemn R. Storch is an employment attorney with the firm Kaufman Dolowich Voluck & Gonzo LLP. Contact her at estorch@gdvglaw.com