In the state of New York, an employer must provide an employee handbook to its employees and include a notice of rights and remedies under the law. New laws went into effect in 2019 and 2020 that adds or expands wording to the New York Labor Law.
As an employer, you follow the New York labor laws, but with the labor laws changing so much in the past two years, have you updated your employee handbook? Check to make sure you added these three items.
- Reproductive health
In November 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the New York Reproductive Health Law, also known as the “Boss Law.” The law states, as an employer, you cannot require an employee to sign a waiver or document that denies the person the right to make his or her own choices regarding reproductive health care decisions.
Reproductive health decisions include the decision to use a drug, device or medical service. An employee may bring a civil suit against you if you violate this law. You needed to update the handbook with this information before Jan. 7, 2020.
- Equal employment opportunity policy
Equal opportunity gives people the right to pursue a job without discrimination, harassment or retaliation. In February 2019, New York state enacted legislation that expands the definition of protected classes under this policy. Governor Cuomo signed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression.
- Lactation accommodation
Under New York State Labor Law 206-c, nursing mothers have the right to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to three years after birth. The employer must make acceptable efforts to provide a place of privacy for this and give the mother an adequate amount of paid or unpaid break time each day. The law extends to all public and private employers in New York State, regardless of the size of their business.