New York Law to Prohibit Employee Discipline for Legally Protected Absences

On November 21, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed Bill A8092B/S1958A into law, which amends Section 215 of the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) to increase anti-retaliation protections for employees. Namely, the new law prohibits employers from: (1) taking any disciplinary action based upon an employee’s use of “any legally protected absence pursuant to federal, local, or state law”; and (2) terminating, threatening, or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against an employee for their use of such lawful absences. The law will take effect on February 19, 2023.

The New York State Department of Labor (“NYDOL”) can impose up to $10,000 in a civil penalty for first-time violations of Section 215 of the NYLL and up to $20,000 for any subsequent violations. An affected employee may also be awarded various other forms of relief, including reinstatement, back pay, front pay, and liquidated damages.

Numerous leave laws are implicated by this new law, especially given that New York law provides for a whole host of unpaid and paid statutory leave.  Therefore, New York employers should review their attendance and punctuality policies to ensure compliance with the new law.

As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

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