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Legal Update - June 2017

Yogi Patel - Thursday, June 08, 2017

Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on three significant updates to New York City Law: (1) the Fair Work Week legislation; (2) the Freelance Isn't Free Act; and (3) the ban on asking prospective employees about their salary histories. A more in-depth article on all three of these topics will be posted on our website next month.

Fair Work Week Legislation

At the end of last month, the New York City Counsel passed the comprehensive Fair Work Week legislation into law, which provides additional protections and rights to fast food and retail industry employees. The legislative package consists of five bills that aim to give low-wage fast food and retail workers greater predictability around their schedules and their weekly pay. For example, one of the laws requires fast-food employers to provide at least 2-weeks' notice to employees of any schedule changes and to compensate workers for any last-minute alterations. Additionally, employers must also provide good faith estimates of weekly hours to new employees and offer any shifts that open up to current employees before making any hires. Overall, the new legislation is keeping pace with other major cities, like Seattle and San Francisco, aiming to protect its more vulnerable workers. Employees and employers are advised to fully understand their rights and obligations before the new law goes into effect later this year.

Freelance Isn't Free

On May 15, 2015, the Freelance Ins't Free Act, which provides enhanced protections and rights for freelance workers, went into effect. Specifically, freelancers are now entitled to insist on working pursuant to a written contract, receive additional damages from clients who do not pay, and are better protected from being retaliated against for enforcing their rights. The law allows for freelancers to file a complaint with the Office of Labor Policy Standards or to file private suit against individuals and businesses who violate their rights. Overall, particularly by allowing freelancers to recover attorney's fees if they file in court, the new law creates meaningful remedies for freelancers who might not otherwise have had the resources to pursue claims on their own. Freelancers and businesses that engage freelancers are advised to fully understand their rights and obligations under this new law.

Employee Salary Histories

On May 4, 2017, a bill that prohibits New York City employers from asking prospective employees about their salary histories was signed into law. The law now makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to ask about an applicant's prior pay during the hiring process or to consider the prospective employee's salary history at all in determining how much to compensate the employee. The law, titled Intro. 1253, provides for penalties of up to $250,000 against employers in the most malicious instances and for compensation to aggrieved individuals. The law is set to go into effect in October of this year. Employees and employers alike are advised to fully understand the legislation's requirements and impact prior to its effective date.

Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.

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