Understanding the Difference Between Worker’s Comp and a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you’re an employee who was hurt on the job, you will want to know how you can be compensated for any injuries you suffered. It’s important to know when it’s appropriate to seek a worker’s compensation claim versus a personal injury claim. 

Worker’s Comp Factors and Personal Injury Factors

Although both a New York personal injury lawsuit and a worker’s compensation claim can arise from accidents that happen in the workplace, there are key differences when it comes to liability. Negligence occurs when someone is harmed as a direct result of a party’s carelessness. This is the primary basis of liability in a personal injury claim. 

However, in a worker’s compensation claim, the compensation is intended to cover certain injuries, regardless of who is at fault. Absent an exception, any employee who is injured on the job is entitled to worker’s comp benefits without having to prove fault; you don’t need to show proof that your employer, supervisor, or co-workers did anything wrong in order to receive these benefits. Additionally, even if you were negligent and that was the cause of your injury, you are still entitled to the benefits. 

Recovery in Worker’s Compensation Claims vs. Personal Injury Claims

In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff is trying to recover any losses that came from the accident. The damages may include compensation for medical bills, future medical expenses, lost earnings, any future lost earnings, permanent impairment, loss of enjoyment of life (hedonic damages), future health care costs associated with the injury and damages for pain and suffering.

In a worker’s compensation claim, you’re only entitled to receive weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, health care bills, and vocational rehabilitation. However, unlike a personal injury lawsuit, you typically cannot get compensation for pain and suffering. 

Requirements for Worker’s Compensation

Generally, these are the requirements for worker’s compensation:

  • You are an employee
  • Your employer carries worker’s comp insurance
  • You suffered a work-related injury or illness
  • You must report your injury/illness and file for a worker’s comp claim within the deadline

Filing a Claim

As an injured worker you usually won’t be able to file for both worker’s compensation claims and a personal injury suit, but you may be able to recover compensation via a third-party lawsuit if your injuries were the result of a safety violation. In this situation, a third-party claim may be against a subcontractor or a property owner; this can assist with supplementing the funds coming in from a worker’s comp claim. Keep in mind that this is important because worker’s compensation only covers a small portion of your wages, generally about 2/3 of your wages. 

Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or your someone you know has been injured while on the job, you want to make sure that you get the compensation that you are entitled to receive. Don’t wait for the negligent party or the insurance company to step up. Act in your best interests and speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. Our MOWK Law New York personal injury attorneys have the know-how and dedication to assist you through these difficult times. Contact us today to learn about what you can do to get the compensation that you deserve.

How to Tell if your Employer’s Tip-Sharing Policy is Legal

Whether you’re a barista or a bartender, a fast-food worker, or a server at a restaurant, you usually have to depend on tips for part of your earnings. This can be in the form of receiving individual tips or sharing contributions from the tip jar. Your employer may establish a tip pooling policy to distribute tips. They may try to use this to ensure fairness amongst employees, but the policies must comply with specific legal requirements. 

What are the NY Rules about Tip-Pool Participation?

In New York, employers are allowed to require their employees to share tips. The employees who perform (or assist in performing) personal service to customers as a regular and principal part of their job are permitted to be a part of the tip pool. Employees who are partial supervisors may participate if part of their regular and principal job is to perform personal services to patrons, but an employee with substantial supervisory control over other employees can’t participate. 

What is Considered a Tip?

When tipping is voluntary and a customer pays with cash, the leftover amount from the customer that isn’t the actual charge for the product or services (or the tax amount) is the tip. However, it can be more complicated when the customer pays with a card or there’s a mandatory service charge. 

What about Mandatory Service Charges?

Many restaurants will add on a mandatory service charge to the bill for larger parties or special events. The federal law makes it clear that this is not considered a tip. The employer can always keep anything designated as a “service charge” even if the customer doesn’t leave anything on the table and mistakenly thinks that the service charge goes to the server; many states also follow this. Not so in New York, where there is a rebuttable presumption that any additional charges apart from food, drinks, lodging, or other such things, is considered a gratuity that must be passed on to the employees.

If an employer wants to charge an administrative fee that’s not intended to be a tip, this must be spelled out so that the customer realizes that the charge isn’t a tip. Customers must also be informed when the employer distributes part of the administrative charge to their employees but retains the rest; they must be told specifics about what amount of money goes where. 

Are There Other Rules that Employers Must Follow?

New York employers must also comply with federal regulations: 

  • Employers must disclose the tip-sharing policy to employees
  • The disclosure must include any required amounts to be contributed to the pool, how the tips are to be distributed, and whether it’s based on their contribution to total work hours or on job role
  • The combined hourly pay and tips must give employees at least the state minimum wage
  • Employers can only control funds received through tips for the purpose of facilitating tip-sharing or quickly giving out these funds 

What if My Employer has Broken Tip-Sharing Laws?

If you suspect that your employer isn’t following New York’s tip-sharing requirements, then you will likely want to speak to an experienced MOWK Law employment law attorney with expertise in this subject area. They can guide through trying to get damages for the pay that you were denied. Contact us today. 

New York Employers are Prohibited from Discriminating Against Workers for Off-Duty Marijuana Use

The New York Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed into law on March 31, 2021 which legalized the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older. The MRTA prohibits discrimination on the basis of legal use or possession of marijuana products. Additionally, the law gives employees the right to file a lawsuit if they have suffered such discrimination.

Before the MRTA

New York Labor Law (NYLL) predates the MRTA and safeguards employees’ off duty behavior, including engaging in the use of alcohol and tobacco. The MRTA effectively amends Section 201-d of the NYLL to incorporate cannabis.   

Rules Under the NY Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act

The MRTA doesn’t allow employers to discriminate against their employees based on their use or possession of marijuana products while the employees are off-duty and are outside of the workplace. Under the Act, employers are still allowed to maintain a drug-free environment, similar to what was permitted prior to the MRTA’s enactment.

Use or Possession Can be Prohibited

Employers may ban the use or possession of marijuana during work hours, on the employer premises; they may also prohibit the use or possession while an employee is using the employer’s property or equipment.

Impaired Driving Not Protected

An employee can take action against an employee who drives while using marijuana because The MRTA doesn’t excuse someone from driving while impaired by marijuana under the state DUI laws. 

Right to File a Lawsuit

If a New York employer has violated Section 201-d of the MRTA, an employee can file a lawsuit for a recovery of damages and equitable relief. However, it is not considered to be a violation if the employer took adverse action related to the employee’s use of marijuana under these circumstances:

  • The employer’s actions were required by federal or state statute, regulation, ordinance or other state or federal government mandate
  • The employer’s actions would require such employer to commit any act that would cause the employer to be in violation of federal law, or would result in the loss of a federal contract or federal funding
  • The employee is “impaired” by the use of the cannabis

An employee is “impaired” when they “manifest specific articulable symptoms while working that decrease or lessen the employee’s performance of the duties or tasks of the employee’s job position.”  Or that “interfere with an employer’s obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace, free from recognized hazards, as required by state and federal occupational safety and health law.” The law doesn’t define the “specific articulable symptoms” in this context. This means that it is somewhat unsettled how and when employers can use this aspect of the MRTA.

Talk to an Attorney about Cannabis Use Discrimination in the Workplace

Now that marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in New York, you can be assured that your off-duty use won’t get you into work trouble. If your employer is discriminating against you, you have a path to relief. Talk to a skilled MOWK Law New York employment attorney who can help you explore where you have a case against your employer. Contact us today to explore your options. 

Recognizing Subtle Forms of New York Employment Discrimination

New York Employment discrimination can take many different forms. It occurs when an applicant or an employee is treated differently or unfavorably due to their age, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or other protected status. Often, when you hear about employment discrimination it is discussed in the context of being called names or insulted or not being hired even though you are qualified for a position. However, there are more subtle forms of workplace discrimination that take place every day.

Examples of Subtle Employment Discrimination

To help you recognize less obvious forms of discrimination, see the list of examples of ways employers discriminate.

  • No invitations to events: Companies often host promotional events or sponsor or invite their employees to attend corporate events, including industry conferences, conventions, or fundraisers. These events can be instrumental when it comes to an employee’s career opportunities. The employees would attend these functions are usually chosen for a reason; it can indicate that these are types of employees that the employer wants to promote or feature in a prominent way. If the employer is purposely not inviting certain groups to these events, such as women or other minorities, it is an example of discrimination.
  • Disciplinary measures: A discreet way that some employers attempt to conceal discrimination is via disciplinary measures. They abuse this by disciplining employees for small infractions that normally aren’t cause for punishment or by making a major distinction between employees; some employees may be greatly penalized for doing the same thing that other employees may receive a warning. What is even more troublesome to employees is that by officially taking disciplinary measures creates a record which can be used to rationalize later actions, including denying employees promotions or raises.  
  • Dress codes: Another tactic that employers use to hide discriminatory tendencies is by implementing dress codes. Because some religions have strict dressing standards, there can be tension between an employer’s dress code and religious employees’ standard of dress. Another example is some employers discriminate by banning hairstyles, including braids, Bantu knots, or dreadlocks. This is significant in New York because racial discrimination is forbidden, but the state also specifically prohibits racial discrimination based on hairstyles. 
  • Denial of training: Many businesses will propose training opportunities to some of their employees, which can make it more likely for them to raise the profile in the company and get promoted. Obviously, the training can be costly so the company will be selective as to who gets it. A careful analysis of the employees chosen for training and those who are not may reveal a blueprint of discrimination, especially if the training is needed to rise in the company. 
  • Isolation: This is an understated form of discrimination that involves the employer urging workers to disengage from another worker. This can result in lower efficiency for the isolated worker and loneliness that can contribute to poor mental health issues; the treatment may drive them to leave the company on their own accord without the employer firing them.  

Discuss Workplace Discrimination with an Employment Attorney

If you suspect that you’ve suffered workplace discrimination, then you should speak to a skilled employment attorney who can review your situation and assist you with the next steps to take. Fortunately, you can contact an experienced MOWK Law employment attorney who is here to help you evaluate your potential claim.

Exceptions to At-Will Employment: NYC Fast Food Workers Need Just Cause for Firing

Most employment in New York state is considered “at-will.” However, there are exceptions to this general principle of at-will employment. One notable example is New York City’s expansion of the Fair Workweek Law to require that fast food workers be fired only for “just cause.” 

At-Will Employment Generally

At-will employment means that employers can lay off employees for any reason (or no reason) without an explanation, unless the firing is a violation of the law, like any form of employment discrimination or retaliation. For instance, this could be considered a wrongful termination if you were sacked shortly after you voiced your concerns over workplace safety. 

Another area of exceptions to at-will employment in New York include situations where the employee has an employment contract which adjusts the employment at-will default rule. This can either be for individual employees like doctors, lawyers, executives, who have their own employment contracts, or for a group of employees, such as laborers like electricians or plumbers who have union contracts (collective bargaining agreements). 

Rationale for Expansion 

As you can see, there are very few exceptions to at-will employment. Most New Yorkers are at-will and don’t have much job security. Thus, the New York City law makers wanted to expand the pool of employees that aren’t at the mercy of at-will employment and changed the Fair Workweek Law to incorporate the requirement that fast food workers must be fired for “just cause.” 

Requirements of the New York Fair Workweek Law

Here are specific requirements of this law:

  • The covered employees are fast food workers who work for chains with 30 or more restaurants across the country.
  • Employers must provide an initial 30-day probation period.
  • Then, the employer can terminate the employee, reduce their work hours by 15%, or indefinitely suspend the employee onlyfor just cause.
  • Just cause definition: Employee is unable to satisfactory perform the job duties orthere is misconduct which is demonstrably and materially harmful to the employer’s business. 
  • Before discharge, the employer must provide 5 days-notice with the reason for the termination.

Just Cause Factors

The following factors are used to determine just cause:

  • Whether the employee knew or should’ve known about the employer’s policy used as a basis for discipline
  • Whether the employer adequately trained the employee
  • Whether the employer fairly, reasonably, and consistently used the policy to discipline the employee
  • Whether the employer investigated the inadequate performance or misconduct in a fair/objective way
  • Whether the employee violated a rule or policy which is the basis of the discipline

Get Legal Help with your New York Employment Issues

Although most employees have at-will employment, there are times when they be able to get relief from being fired. If you need to know more about the NYC Fair Workweek Law or believe you’ve suffered another wrongful termination, get in touch with an experienced employment law attorney. A MOWK Law employment attorney has the legal expertise to help you understand if you have a claim against your employer. Contact us soon to learn more. 

NY Employers are Prohibited from Caregiver Discrimination in the Workplace

The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to an increase in attention placed on the importance of the role of caregivers in our society. This reverence is reflected in New York City’s Human Rights Law, which now includes persons who qualify as “caregivers.” 

The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) is a civil rights legislation that prohibits employment discrimination based on factors, including race, color, age, national origin, alienage/citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and partnership status. This law offers far more extensive civil rights protection than the federal and the state government. Recently, the NYCHRL has been expanded to include caregivers as a protected class. 

Definitions Under the New York City Human Rights Law

The NYCHRL considers a caregiver as someone “who provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or care recipient.” Under the law, “minor children” are people under 18 years of age who are the legal ward or biological, adopted, or foster child of the person providing the care. A “care recipient” is defined as someone with a disability who is a relative covered under this law or one who resides in the caregiver’s home and receives medical care or help with daily needs from the caregiver.    

The covered relatives include the following:

  • Children
  • Children of the caregiver’s spouse or domestic partner 
  • Spouses
  • Domestic partner
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Individuals with familial relationships defined by the rules of the NYC Commission on Human Rights

Discrimination is Prohibited Against Employees Providing Care in their Home

The Commission provides general and specific examples of employment discrimination based on caregiver status. For instance, an employer can violate this law with unfair treatment against an employee, such as refusing a promotion to an individual with a parent with dementia when they are otherwise qualified for the position.

Scope of Protection of State Law vs. NYC Law

The NYCHRL builds on protections found at the state level which offers protection against discrimination based on familial status, but the New York State law only protects parents. However, NYC’s law is broader and gives rights to individuals taking care of relatives in their home, including those married to or in a domestic partnership with a sick person. The rationale behind this is to make it harder for employers to force or pressure employees to put work issues ahead of family concerns. This is more in line with the modern view that a work/life balance is a priority.

Employers are prohibited from punishing employees who ask for flexibility to address their caregiving duties. And the law is designed to ensure that retaliation (in the form of denial of advancement or termination) doesn’t occur. An employee isn’t supposed to be excluded from being in the loop by being denied access to meetings or important discussions.  

Does Your Employer Discriminate Against Caregivers? Get Legal Help

Being a target of discrimination is very frustrating, especially when it’s your job at stake and you’re trying to care for another person. If you believe that your employer is taking adverse action against you because you have to help a relative, there is action you can take. They must comply with the law and you have the right to protect yourself against a violation. Talk to a MOWK New York employment attorney, who is well- versed in employment discrimination because they can help evaluate your case. Contact us right away to begin your next steps. 

How to File an Unpaid Wages Claim in New York

Any employee has the right to be compensated for every hour of work that they finished. As a New York employee, you are entitled to file a complaint if your employer doesn’t pay you for all or any portion of your earned wages. 

Examples of Wage Theft

Employers must disclose the basis for employee payment at the time of hiring and can’t take their earnings after they’ve been hired. When an employer does indeed take from their employee, it is considered wage theft– a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers can commit this in various ways; here are examples of common wage theft violations:

  • Minimum wage violations
  • Failing to pay overtime wages
  • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors
  • Requiring employees to work “off the clock” (before and/or after their regular shifts or during meal breaks)
  • Taking illegal deductions in pay
  • Misappropriating tips 

Employee Methods and Tactics 

Employers can wrongfully withhold their employees’ wages and cheat them out of overtime using various methods. At a lot of companies, this is one of the biggest expenses is employee compensation and also a common form of wage theft. Employers may have incentive to falsify employee time keeping records to show employees working less hours and withhold benefits in order to reduce costs and increase profits. Additionally, the FLSA requires New York employees to pay their employees for overtime. You can’t agree to waive overtime payments or sign away your rights to the money that you’re entitled to receive, despite an employer requesting you to do this.  

Statute of Limitations

Just because your employer is cheating you out of your wages, doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to get your overtime compensation or your wages back. To get what you’re entitled to, you must take action within a reasonable amount of time. First, you should demand your wages directly from the employer and can the report the problem to your Human Resources Department. If this approach doesn’t adequately resolve the issue, or they fail to investigate your case, you can take things outside of the company and file a claim with the Department of Labor or sue your employer directly to recover your wages.

You must bring your claim within 2 years after you realize that your employer violated provisions of the FLSA. If it’s a “willful” violation, then you have 3 years to file against your employer. However, in New York, the equivalent labor laws allow you to file for up to 6 years after a violation. 

Recoverable Damages

In New York, an employee who files an unpaid wage claim can recover an additional sum of damages – liquidated damages. If your wage claim includes wage and hour violations, as well as violations of meal and rest breaks and overtime laws, you can collect the total amount of your unpaid wages, in addition to liquidated damages. 

Also, if you prevail, you would be entitled to recover the following:

  • Legal costs
  • Attorney fees
  • Interest on your unpaid wages

Get Legal Help Filing your Unpaid Wages Claim

Understanding how to file for unpaid wage claim in New York can be complex. If you’re not sure whether your potential claim is worth pursuing, you can talk it over with an experienced attorney. MOWK Law employment attorneys are familiar with the ins and outs of wage and hour violations and can advocate passionately on your behalf. Contact us for help with your next steps. 

Can Employers Require Workers to Get the Covid-19 Vaccine?

With the arrival of the coronavirus vaccine, it has become a little easier to picture a time when more people return to their workplace. But when that day inevitably comes, will it also come with the reassurance that co-workers have gotten vaccinated? More specifically, the issue is whether employers can require workers to get the Covid-19 vaccine? The general answer is “Yes.” However, this does come with some limitations. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces and educates people about employment issues, including providing guidance and instructions on how to handle workplace compliance with the pandemic issues. Two laws are relevant here: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, (ADA).

Religious Accommodations

Under Title VII, an employer must accommodate the sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance of an employee, unless it would cause an undue hardship on the business. Courts have held that an “undue hardship” is created by an accommodation that has more than a small cost or burden on the employer. 

The definition of religion is broadly defined to include religious beliefs and practices that may be unfamiliar to the employer. If an employee can’t get the vaccine because of their religion and a reasonable accommodation isn’t available, then the individual may be excluded from physically entering the worksite. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they would be fired. According to the EEOC, “employers will need to determine if any other rights apply under other federal or state authorities.”  

Disability Accommodations

Under the ADA, an employer can have a policy that includes a “requirement than an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace.” If an employee doesn’t want a vaccine, the employer has to evaluate the risk that their refusal poses, especially if the employer is requiring that employees get vaccinated. 

The EEOC states that employers should evaluate four factors to determine whether there is a direct threat:

·       The duration of the risk

·       The nature and severity of the potential harm

·       The likelihood that the potential harm will occur

·       The imminence of the potential harm

Regarding these evaluations, the type of work would likely make a difference in determining whether a direct threat exists. For instance, if you’re a health care professional in contact with patients, being vaccinated could have a direct impact on you performing your job because you may not be able to do it safely without risk to other employees and patients. 

If you’re an office worker, you may be accommodated by using personal protective equipment, working remotely or working in a separate area. 

What Employers Can Do Instead of Forced Vaccinations

Although employers may have the ability to mandate vaccinations, they may be more likely to encourage or offer incentives to their employees rather than issue a requirement.

Talk to an Employment Law Attorney about Your Rights

If you’re concerned about your standing regarding vaccination by your employer, then you should seek help from a skilled attorney who can provide insight on this and other employment issues. Reach out to the experienced New York employment lawyers at MOWK Law. Contact us today to take the next steps.

Can Your Employer Terminate You Based on False Allegations?

People are fired for many reasons– including missing too much time from work, to messing up a deal, or failing to respond to client requests. However, if you’ve been fired because of a false allegation, it makes good sense that you would be upset. Anyone would be bothered by being dismissed for something that they didn’t do, especially if they think that the employer didn’t fully investigate the matter. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can sue your former employer for wrongful termination. Read on to learn more about false allegations in this context.

At-Will Employment

In New York, most employment is “at-will,” which means that your employer can let you go for almost any reason. There are exceptions to this rule. One very notable exception is that your employer can’t discriminate against you on the basis of a protected class, including age, race, religion, disability, national origin, or sex and they can’t retaliate against you for reporting discrimination or reporting unsafe working conditions. Unfortunately, terminating an employee based on a false allegation is not an exception at at-will employment.

Reasons for False Allegations in the Workplace

The sad reality is that false accusations are common happenings in almost any employment setting. Whether they are based on malicious co-workers with an axe to grind or the result of poor communication and misunderstandings, the results can be devastating. It can lead to a bad reputation and ultimately, your firing. 

For instance, if a colleague accuses you of misconduct, your employer can terminate you based on the allegation, even if it isn’t true. This is especially problematic because you may be targeted based on an illegal reason like age discrimination. Your employer wants to get rid of you due to your advancing age, but they make up a false accusation about you (that you stole from the company) to cover up their true intentions. 

False Allegations and Defamation

The issue is whether a false allegation is considered defamation. You’re a victim of defamation in the workplace when someone makes a false statement about you to a third party and that false statement damages your career or reputation. There are barriers to establishing a false accusation as defamation. 

First, you may know that the allegation is false, but can you prove it. Mere opinion isn’t considered defamation. Additionally, false statements may be privileged if they are made within the regular course of business. This means that if your supervisor’s or coworker’s false allegation against you was made within the company, it likely would not be considered defamation. 

Dealing with Wrongful Termination? Discuss with an Experienced New York Employment Attorney

False allegations are unfair especially if you’ve been fired because of it. If you think that you’ve been wrongfully terminated, then you will want to act in your best interests and plan out your options with an experienced employment law attorney. The skilled New York employment lawyers at MOWK Law can evaluate your case and will let you know how to proceed. Contact us for more information.  

Understanding NY’s New Paid Sick Leave Law

The New York State Sick Leave Law (NYSSL) was signed on April 3, 2020 and went into effect on September 30, 2020. Employees can immediately start accruing leave and can then start using the accrued leave beginning January 1, 2021. The new law is in addition to the New York State provisions that are already in effect providing emergency paid sick time due to Covid-19. Read on to learn about the specifics of this New York employment law. 

How Can You Use the Leave?

Under the NYSSL, an employee must be allowed time off from their employer if they make a verbal or written request and the leave is used for “sick leave” (dealing with illness or injury) or “safe leave” (if the employee or a family member is a victim of certain types of crime). Specifically, the leave can be used for the following:

  • The employee’s physical or mental illness/injury, or diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive care for their physical or mental illness/injury
  • A covered family member’s physical or mental illness/injury, or diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive care for their physical or mental illness/injury
  • Time-off related to the employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, a sexual or family offense, or human trafficking.
  • Time-off related to an employee’s family member’s status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, a sexual or family offense, or human trafficking.

How Much Leave Do You Get?

The number of sick days that you’re entitled to take will depend on the size of your employer. The coverage of employers is the following:

  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of $1 million or less in the previous tax year must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year.
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of more than $1 million must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
  • Employers with between 5 and 99 employees, regardless of net income, must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees must provide 56 hours of paid sick leave annually regardless of income.

Who is Eligible for the Leave?

The law covers all private-sector employees in New York State, regardless of industry, occupation, part-time status, and overtime exempt status. If you’re a federal, state, or local government employee, then you are not covered. However, employees of charter schools, private schools, and not-for-profit corporations are covered. 

Who is Considered a “Family Member?”

Under the NYSSL, a “family member” can be an employee’s child (biological, adopted, or foster child, a legal ward, or a child of an employee standing in loco parentis), spouse, domestic partner, parent (biological, foster, step, adoptive, legal guardian, or person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child, sibling, grandchild), or grandparent; and the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner. 


Employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee who exercises their legal right to take leave.  An employee also has a right to reinstatement after they take the leave. If they aren’t restored to their position prior to the leave, it is considered retaliation by the employer. 

Speak to an Experienced New York Attorney about Sick Leave

If you’re interested in using leave under the NYSSL, just make sure that you understand that you can take leave beginning January 1, 2021. And if you need assistance with leave questions, you should talk to an employment attorney at MOWK Law who can help you navigate the complexity of New York’s labor and employment laws. Please contact us for help with your specific situation.