80 Attorneys Contribute to NYSBA’s Landmark Guide on Labor and Employment Law

By Susan DeSantis

80 Attorneys Contribute to NYSBA’s Landmark Guide on Labor and Employment Law

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The New York State Bar Association has published a new comprehensive guide on employment law in New York with answers to more than 450 frequently asked questions for attorneys, human resources professionals and laypersons.

Edited by Louis P. DiLorenzo and Jeffrey A. Kehl of Bond, Schoeneck & King and written by more than 80 attorneys from the firm’s Labor and Employment, Employment Benefits Group, the 435-page New York Employment Law: The Essential Guide addresses such wide-ranging issues as contract law, tort law, discrimination law, employee benefits law, worker’s compensation law, unemployment insurance law, New York State Department of Labor regulations and wage and hour requirements.

“The book provides in-depth advice on a wide range of employment-related topics and crucially covers many New York City specific and complex regulations,” said Madelyn F. Wessel, vice president and general counsel at Cornell University.

Topics include criminal history inquiries, arbitration agreements, overtime pay requirements, time off to vote, crime victim and crime witness leave, bone marrow and organ transplants, domestic workers’ bill of rights, employees of not-for-profit entities, protection of off-premises activities by employees, romantic relationships, photographs and recordings in the workplace, social media issues, union activities, use of employee names and likenesses, surveillance of employees and biometric time clocks.

The book covers New York State, New York City and Westchester County law. While it is primarily a New York State reference book, it also discusses federal law when relevant.

“New York employment law is important for historical as well as practical reasons,” DiLorenzo wrote in the introduction. “New York is home to important financial and other markets; contains one of the largest cities in the United States; and has been a leader in addressing workplace issues and problems since long before the terrible Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911.”

Of course, some of the questions answered in the book have evolved quite a bit since 1911. For instance, at the beginning of the 20th century, no one would have even thought to ask: May an employer use artificial intelligence programs to screen employment applications? What is domestic violence victim discrimination? What obligations do employers have to protect employee’s Social Security numbers? Are undocumented workers entitled to job protection?

For those who can’t wait to read the book, here is a sample of some of the questions and answers:

Must a New York employer provide employees with vacation? No. Under New York law there is no requirement that a New York employer provide vacation or pay for time not worked unless the employer has voluntarily established a policy to grant such pay.

Are victims of, or witnesses to, crimes entitled to time off from work? Yes. Section 215.14 of the New York Penal Law requires employers to provide unpaid time off to employees who are absent from work in connection with the employee’s obligations and duties performed as a victim of, or witness to, a crime.

What inquiries may be made about arrests and convictions? Executive Law § 296(16) prohibits employers from asking job applicants about prior arrests (or criminal accusations) that are not currently pending against the individual, or which have been resolved in favor of the individual, resolved by a youthful offender adjudication, or which resulted in a sealed conviction. In general, New York law does not prohibit employers from asking whether an applicant has been convicted of a crime or if the applicant has a pending (open and unresolved) arrest.

Does New York State have a law that permits nursing mothers to express breast milk in the workplace? Yes. Section 206-c of the New York Labor Law requires employers to provide nursing mothers with reasonable breaks during the workday for lactation purposes. This break time is unpaid.

Are New York employers required to provide employees with bereavement leave? No. There are no laws that currently require employers to provide their employees with time off from work for bereavement purposes.

To get answers to the other 445 questions, you’ll have to buy the book. The cost is $95 for members and $130 for non-members. For more information on the Essential Guide, please visit: https://nysba.org/products/new-york-employment-law-the-essential-guide.

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