Business Busters – Protecting Your Business from Employment Risks

With the ever-changing employment laws and landscapes, there are constantly new changes and requirements that affect the business’ bottom line.  On Thursday June 28, representatives from Alcott HR and Goldberg Segalla discussed many laws and requirements that businesses need to be aware of and comply with in order to protect themselves from liability and unwanted litigation.

Dawn Davidson Drantch, Esq., General Counsel for Alcott HR, presented with Kristin Klein Wheaton, Esq. and Debra Doby, Esq. of Goldberg Segalla.

Topics discussed included:

  • At will employment and terminating an at will employee properly
  • Wage and hour issues including independent contractors and misclassification of exempt and non-exempt employees
  • New York’s proposed call-in pay regulations
  • Interview dos and don’ts
  • Ban and box and salary inquiry legislation
  • Leaves of absence and reasonable accommodations
  • Documentation
  • Drug issues in the workplace including marijuana
  • The new sexual harassment legislation in New York State and separate laws passed in New York City.

Attendees found the program to be engaging and asked many questions after the presentation regarding specific employment situations on a variety of topics.

Business Busters

Of particular interest is the new sexual harassment legislation in New York State that requires employers of all sizes, large and small, to provide annual interactive training on sexual harassment to all of its employees. This provision, which takes effect October 9, 2018, also requires a written sexual harassment policy, and imposes additional protections for non-employees in the workplace that are now covered by the New York State Human Rights Law and are able to file claims.

The legislation contemplates that the Commissioner of Labor in consult with the Commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights will prepare regulations, guidance and a model policy and training to guide employers.

In order to best be prepared for this new legislation, it is recommended that companies:

  • Review current written sexual harassment policies to ensure that it meets the requirements outlined in the statute
  • If training is not currently being provided to employees annually, begin to plan and implement annual training in advance of the October 2018 deadline
  • Consider including other harassment and discrimination training into the annual sexual harassment training in order to best protect the company from charges and claims
  • Develop a plan of informing non-employees of the company’s sexual harassment policy, as well as how that policy will be disseminated

The speakers emphasized the importance of employers to start working on the requirements of this legislation now, well in advance of the October 2018 effective date.

This event was one of a two part series, with the second date to take place in October.