A New Landscape
On March 31st, 2021 New York State passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (“MRTA”) which legalized the use of cannabis recreationally for adults over the age of 21. It’s also legal in a similar capacity in 17 other states and is legal for medical use in 36 states. But under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, it is still illegal in the eyes of Federal Law. You can’t grow it, smoke it, or make gummies out of it. If you do, you may face serious consequences, including the loss of Federal contracts or even jail.
Some say the Federal law will change soon, but no big changes are imminent. So, what do you do if you are an employer trying to avoid liability? Or what do you do if your boss is trying to fire you for using marijuana legally? We are in the twilight zone, that space between what was, what is, and what will be. It’s sure a bit hazy. Let’s clear things up.
Effective September 30, 2020, New York’s Paid Sick Leave includes mandatory sick leave for employees throughout New York State, except for employees of government entities. Please be advised that all private sector workers are now covered under New York’s new sick and safe leave law, including part-time employees.
New York State has enacted a new law regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. Effective October 9, 2018, all NYS employers must adopt written sexual harassment prevention policies and implement annual anti-harassment training for employees. Every employer, regardless of size, must implement a policy that includes guidance and instructions for filing a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination. The law applies to full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees.
Keep reading to learn more about non-compete agreements in the workplace.
Statistics show that workplace bullying affects 1 in 6 American workers. Despite such startling statistics, there is presently no law on the books which protects employees from an abusive work environment. Yet, there may be hope! Since 2006, a New York grassroots organization, New York Healthy Workplace Advocates, has been lobbying New York Congress to pass the “Healthy Workplace Bill.” The Bill can be read in its entirety at http://nyhwa.org/bill.html.
The Medicare Secondary Payer Statute requires that no payments for treatment or services for a beneficiary be made by Medicare when payment has been made, or can reasonably be expected to be made under a workmen’s compensation law or plan of the United States or a State or under an automobile or liability insurance policy or plan (including a self-insured plan) or under no fault insurance.
From April 9th, 2011 onward, employers must comply with significant new procedural obligations under New York State’s recent Wage Theft Prevention Act. The first major change is the requirement of employers to provide every employment with written notification of information such as rates of pay, allowances, the regular payday, the employer’s full name and physical address, overtime rates, etc. This information must be provided both at the time of hire and annually. Furthermore, these notifications must be in writing (not transmitted electronically), they must be provided in English as well as the employee’s primary language, employers must receive written acknowledgement that the notification was received, both the notice and acknowledgement must be preserved for six years, and employees must be notified of any changes to the information at least seven days prior.
Make sure you know the rules.
The old adage “get it in writing” is critical when it comes to commissioned sales employees. In fact, the New York Labor Law provides that you must have a detailed written agreement that is signed by both the employer and the commissioned sales employee.
What is the Family Medical Leave Act and who qualifies?
The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) was enacted to protect the jobs of employees in need of time off from work to assist family members. More specifically, it gives employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave in any 12 month period to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or a seriously ill parent, child or spouse. The employer must hold the employee’s job or provide a similar job upon his/her return, continue group health benefits, and continue the accrued benefits earned by the employee prior to the leave (e.g., vacation time, seniority).
To qualify, the employee must work for an employer that has 50 or more employees, and the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours in the year preceding the leave.