New York has amended the state labor law to clarify that employers may not use retaliation to discipline workers for taking lawful, legally protected absences from work.
On Nov. 21, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed A8092B, amending the New York State Labor Law to prohibit employers from discharging, threatening, penalizing, or in any other manner discriminating or retaliating against any employee for using an absence protected by federal, local or state law.
The amendment specifies that prohibited retaliation includes assessing any demerit, occurrence, or any other point or deductions from an allotted bank of time that could subject an employee to disciplinary action, including loss of pay or failure to receive a promotion.
The amendment takes effect 90 days after passage, or Feb. 19, 2023.
The change to the state labor law is aimed at “no-fault” attendance policies, under which employees are assessed points, demerits, or “occurrences” for every absence from work, regardless of the reason. The points, demerits, and occurrences subject workers to discipline, including termination.
In its justification for the bill, the legislature stated that employers maintain policies that fail to inform workers about their legal right to take time off without punishment for certain illnesses, health conditions, or disabilities and the need to care for an ill loved one under state, local and federal civil rights laws. The statement concluded, “Workers have the right to take legally-protected time off from their jobs to address certain medical, caregiving, and religious needs without penalty.”
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GTM Can Help with Employer Compliance
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