Kathy Hochul Signs Senate Bill S1958A Banning Absence Discipline

On November 21, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the law Senate Bill S1958A, which amends Section 215 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL) to strengthen protections for employees who take legally protected absences. Specifically, the amendment prohibits employers from “evaluating any demerit, event, other point, or deduction from an allotted time bank, which subjects or could subject an employee to disciplinary action” based on the use of “any legally protected absence under federal, local, or state law. The law also prohibits employers from terminating, threatening, or discriminating or retaliating against employees for their use of statutory absences. The law comes into force on February 19, 2023.

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) can impose civil penalties of up to $10,000 for violations of Section 215 and up to $20,000 for subsequent violations. NYSDOL can also order reinstatement and award back wages, prepayments, and damages. Persons suing for violation of the NYLL may also recover damages, including, but not limited to, damages.

Employers may wish to review the above requirements to ensure that their practices comply with the new obligations set out in the law.

© 2022, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC, All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 327

Norman D. Briggs