Articles Posted in Paid Family Leave

For some New York workers who have welcomed (or plan to welcome) new additions to their families, there’s good news. The rights and benefits available under New York State law have gotten a lot stronger in the past 12 months. The initiative, as Gov. Hochul put it, seeks to keep families from having “to try to make that tough decision between having a paycheck or having to spend time with their kids.” Contrary to certain antiquated gender-based stereotypes, a father’s time bonding with his new baby is just as valuable and beneficial as the time that baby spends with his/her mother. But even in recent years, research has shown that roughly one-third of new New York dads take no time off from work. While the state is working to inform dads of their legal rights, sometimes employers can be a hindrance. If you believe that your employer engaged in illegal misconduct regarding your paternity leave, you should get in touch with a New York family leave lawyer.

Harmful stereotypes regarding paternity leave remain stubbornly entrenched, even today. Less than two years ago, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg became the subject of headlines due to his parental leave.

That summer, Buttigieg and his husband welcomed baby twins. Buttigieg, like many new dads, took a period of parental leave from work. However, because the secretary’s leave overlapped with a worldwide supply chain crisis and Congressional debate regarding President Biden’s infrastructure proposal (“Build Back Better,”) Buttigieg received criticism for taking leave.

Continue reading

In 2023, like so many years before, the new year has brought new laws (or amended laws) designed to better protect workers from the “cancer” of employment discrimination. These new developments reflect the reality that workplace discrimination law is ever-evolving in New York. For that reason, among countless others, having a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination lawyer on your side can be invaluable.

In 2019, New York City took the lead in enhancing protections for undocumented workers. A September guidance document made it clear that using terms like “aliens,” “illegal aliens,” and “illegals,” when intended “to demean, humiliate, or offend,” amounts to illegal discrimination in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law.

Late last December, New York State followed New York City’s lead. Governor Hochul signed into law a bill that added citizenship and immigration status to the list of protected classes against which employers may not discriminate.

Continue reading

A recent commercial for Apple’s iPhone touts the device’s ability to keep your private information private. The commercial points to an ever-increasing concern in today’s world. We all know that we have personal information stored in a variety of places and, in some of those, we’re not the one in control of the flow of that content. Sometimes, the concern is the exposure of information that could be personally or professionally damaging to you. When the one doing that disclosing is your employer and the reason they’re doing it is a retaliatory one, then you may be entitled to sue and obtain compensation under the newly amended New York State Human Rights Law. A knowledgeable New York City workplace retaliation attorney can help show you how to accomplish this.

Earlier this year, the New York legislature passed S.5870/A.7101, and Gov. Kathy Hochul signed it into law. The bill amended Section 296 of the New York State Human Rights Law to expand the definition of what can constitute actionable retaliation. The new definition says that retaliation “may include… disclosing an employee’s personnel files because he or she has opposed any practices forbidden under this article or because he or she has filed a complaint, testified or assisted in any proceeding under this article…”

In other words, if you were engaged in a protected activity and your employer, in an attempt to harm you, disclosed some or all of your personnel file, then that’s against the law now. The range of protected activities can be anything from, say, testifying in a coworker’s age discrimination case to filing your own formal sexual harassment claim to complaining to your supervisor about race discrimination in your work area to assisting a colleague in their sexual orientation discrimination case. These are just a few examples.

Continue reading

Chances are, by now, you’re well-versed in the positives of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. From health benefits to social conveniences, many advantages come with being vaccinated… including, sometimes, benefits at work. Your employer may, at the employer’s discretion, hand out incentives to its employees who get a COVID-19 vaccine. One thing that is not optional for employers, however, is giving employees the paid time off they need to deal with getting the shot(s) and also deal with the side effects that can sometimes arise after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. As with any instance where you’ve been harmed by workplace discrimination or retaliation, be sure to contact a knowledgeable New York discrimination lawyer to get the answers you need to the questions you have.

Newsday recently took a look at both employer-mandated and employer-encouraged vaccinations. Generally, the law allows employers to incentivize or even require vaccinations (and terminate employees who don’t get the shot.)

That’s not true if a specific employee has a legitimate religion-based or disability-based reason for avoiding the vaccine. Even then, the employer may still be allowed to demand vaccination if accommodating the employee’s need to avoid the vaccine would impose an “undue hardship” on that specific employer.

Continue reading

The global coronavirus pandemic has hit New York City particularly hard. Many people have concerns not only about their own health, but the health of family members who require care. New York City employment discrimination laws protected workers with caregiver responsibilities before the coronavirus arrived. Quarantine and isolation have added a new dimension to the concept of a “caregiver.” Laws passed by the federal and state governments to address problems caused by the pandemic may offer additional protections against discrimination and retaliation based on an employee’s caregiving responsibilities.

What Is Caregiver Discrimination?

The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of “caregiver status.” It defines a “caregiver” as someone “who provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or a care recipient.” The term “care recipient” can refer to anyone living in the caregiver’s home; or a “covered relative” like a parent, spouse, sibling, child, grandchild, or grandparent, whether or not they live with the caregiver. In either case, the care recipient must need the caregiver’s assistance with “medical care or to meet the needs of daily living.” Id.

The NYCHRL does not define the term “direct and ongoing care,” and it does not appear that any court has ruled on its specific meaning. A plain-language interpretation suggests that it means care that requires a substantial amount of the caregiver’s time and attention. This could therefore include:
– The caregiver’s minor child, who resides with the caregiver;
– The caregiver’s minor child who resides elsewhere, but needs regular care from the caregiver;
– A person who lives with the caregiver, regardless of whether they are related; or
– A relative who does not reside with the caregiver.

Continue reading

Congress enacted the first federal paid sick leave law in the nation’s history in March in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) creates a new system of paid sick leave and expands unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For a New York City employment attorney, of course, one of the first questions about any new law is how to enforce it. The FFCRA relies on existing laws’ enforcement mechanisms, and new regulations from the Department of Labor (DOL) leave some holes in workers’ ability to enforce their rights.

Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave

Two divisions of the FFCRA address leave for employees during the pandemic: The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). The benefits offered by these laws are restricted, however, based on an employer’s number of employees. Employers with five hundred or more employees are not included in either law’s definition of “employer.” Employers with fewer than fifty employees can claim an exemption from both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave if they can show that providing leave would threaten the economic viability of their business.

Enforcing the EPSLA

The EPSLA uses the enforcement mechanisms of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Covered employers who fail to provide paid sick leave as required by the EPSLA commit a minimum wage violation under the FLSA. Aggrieved employees may recover their unpaid wages as damages, plus “an additional equal amount as liquidated damages.” 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). They may also obtain equitable relief, including injunctions against further violations. See id. at § 217.

Continue reading

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which became law on March 18, 2020, creates a temporary system of paid sick leave for workers in New York City and around the country. It also temporarily expands the unpaid leave provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The purpose of these measures is to provide support for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The law makes multiple exceptions, however, for both large and small employers. Businesses with five hundred or more employees, which comprise a sizable plurality of employers in the country, are not covered by these provisions at all. Employers with fewer than fifty employees may have an exemption under the FFCRA. A new temporary rule published by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) explains how small employers can claim this exemption.

Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave

Division C of the FFCRA, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), provides an expansion of the right to unpaid leave under the FMLA. Division E, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), provides paid sick leave at the national level. These two sections provide combinations of paid and unpaid leave with job protection for eligible employees. The provisions will remain in effect until December 31, 2020.

Exemptions from the EPSLA and the EFMLEA

Both laws give the DOL authority to exempt employers with fewer than fifty employees from these requirements if they “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” See Pub. L. 116-127 §§ 3102(b), 5111(2). In its discussion of the new rule, the DOL notes that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 Statistics of U.S. Businesses, only 221,454 private businesses, those with fifty or more but fewer than five hundred employees, would not have been eligible for the “viability” exemption. This comprises about four percent of all private employers covered by the EPSLA and EFMLEA.

Continue reading

The global coronavirus pandemic has had an immense impact on the economy in a very short period of time. Many workers who have not yet shown the symptoms of the disease known as COVID-19 find themselves needing to self-quarantine because of possible exposure. Those who do show symptoms must also quarantine themselves and seek medical treatment. Several new laws offer assistance to workers affected by the pandemic. The federal government passed a bill in March 2020 establishing a temporary system of paid sick leave for many workers. New York State also passed a bill in March providing paid sick leave and expanding access to the state’s Paid Family Leave program.

Overlap of State and Federal Law

The bill passed by the U.S. Congress, entitled the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, creates a temporary system for paid sick leave that expires at the end of 2020, unless Congress acts to renew or modify it. New York State’s new law does not have an expiration date.

The New York law states that if a worker is entitled to paid leave under both state and federal law, then they are only eligible for state benefits under state law to the extent that they exceed the amount of benefits available under federal law. In other words, if federal law requires an employer to pay a particular employee $100 per day, and state law requires them to pay $120 per day, state law only covers the $20 excess amount.

Continue reading

The global coronavirus pandemic has led to major economic disruptions across the country. As more and more people are urged — or required — to remain at home, and businesses deemed “non-essential” are ordered to reduce or cease operations, many people find themselves out of work or unable to get to their jobs. People who must quarantine themselves also cannot get to work. Both New York State and New York City have taken steps to help people affected by the crisis. The federal government has also acted, passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in mid-March 2020.

Three of the bill’s major sections could offer assistance to workers in New York City:
– Division C, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, does as its name suggests and temporarily expands the unpaid leave provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
– Division D, the Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020, provides additional grants for state unemployment insurance programs.
– Division E, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, creates a temporary federal mandate for paid sick leave for certain employers.

Unemployment Insurance

Each state maintains an insurance fund for unemployment compensation. Employers pay into the fund as part of their payroll taxes. The federal government supplements the funds through grants. The unemployment provisions of the FFCRA authorize greater expenditures on state programs. Some of these extend to the end of fiscal year 2020, or September 30, while others continue to the end of the calendar year.

Continue reading

Pregnancy discrimination remains a serious problem throughout the country, despite multiple laws intended to prevent and penalize such practices. New York City pregnancy discrimination attorneys can draw upon federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy and childbirth, and municipal laws that require a wide range of accommodations in the workplace. Federal law provides family leave for new parents, although it is unpaid and limited in scope despite its lofty ambitions. New York State makes up some of the difference with a new paid family leave program.

Pregnancy Discrimination vs. Accommodations for Pregnancy

The term “pregnancy discrimination” can encompass both:

1. Adverse actions taken against an employee because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition associated with either; and
2. Failure to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and workers who have recently had a child.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, includes discrimination based on “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” in its definition of sex discrimination. 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e(k), 2000e-2(a)(1). The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibits discrimination on the basis of “familial status,” and includes pregnancy, childbirth, and the acquisition of custody of a minor child in its definition of that term. N.Y. Exec. L. §§ 292(26)(a), 296(1)(a). Title VII makes no mention of reasonable accommodations for pregnancy or childbirth.

Continue reading

Contact Information