Employee Rights Laws Part 4: Overview of New York Employment Law Statutes

Employee Rights Laws
Part 4: Overview of New York Employment Law Statutes

In most states, including New York, unless you have a written employment contract, are a member of a labor union, or are a civil service employee, you are probably an employee at will. Employment at will is the general principal that your company can fire you for any reason, or even for no reason at all. It also means you can quit your job for any reason.

Fortunately, federal, state, and local laws create many exceptions to employment at will that give employees significant protection from an unfair or arbitrary termination. This, the fourth and final part of a four part series, looks at employee rights under New York State and New York City law. The first part of the series discusses some of the most important federal anti-discrimination laws. The second part describes many other important federal employment laws. Part three addresses many important exceptions to employment at will under New Jersey law.

New York State Employment Law Rights

The following is an overview of some of the most important New York State and New York City employment law rights. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all statutory New York employment laws, and that not every one of these law applies to every employee in New York. If you believe your rights have been violated, it is recommended that you contact a knowledgeable, dedicated and experienced New York employment lawyer.

New York State Employment Law Rights:

New York Human Rights Law

  • Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, or certain criminal convictions.
  • Makes it illegal for employers to harass employees on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, or marital status. This includes prohibiting sexual harassment.
  • Prevents employers from forcing pregnant employees to take medical leaves, unless the pregnant employee cannot reasonably perform her job.
  • Requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to allow disabled employees to perform the essential functions of their jobs.
  • Protects employees from retaliation for opposing an action prohibited by the New York Human Rights Law, or filing a complaint, testifying or assisting in a case pursuant to the New York Human Rights Law.

New York Wage and Hour Laws

  • Established a higher minimum wage than the minimum required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. As of January 1, 2007, most employees working in New York State are entitled to receive at least $7.15 per hour.
  • Requires employers in New York State to provide most employees who work at least 6 hours per day to at least thirty minutes for a meal break. Under certain circumstances, employees are legally entitled to a longer meal break.

New York Whistleblower Law – Labor §740

  • Prohibits retaliation against employees who disclose, object to, or refuse to participate in actions that violate a law, rule, or regulation that presents a substantial, specific and imminent danger to public health or safety.

New York City Employment Law Statutes:

New York City Human Rights Law

  • Makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of race, age, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, partnership status, national origin, color, creed, alienage or citizenship status, arrest or conviction record, or status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking or sex offense.
  • Prohibits employers from harassing employees because of their race, age, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, partnership status, national origin, color, creed, alienage or citizenship status, arrest or conviction record, or status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking or sex offense. This includes prohibiting sexual harassment.
  • Protects individuals who oppose discrimination or harassment prohibited by the New York City Human Rights Law, or who assist an investigation pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law, by prohibiting retaliation.

The attorneys of our employment and civil rights law firm, Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C., are experienced at representing employees in New York State and New York City whose employment law rights have been violated.

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