New York Legislation Enacts Law Clarifying Employers May Not Threaten Employees in Relation to Immigration Status
Knowledge

New York Legislation Enacts Law Clarifying Employers May Not Threaten Employees in Relation to Immigration Status

Key Takeaways:

  • Expands New York Labor Law Section 215(1)(a)

  • Employer retaliation now includes contacting or threatening to contact U.S. immigration authorities

  • Takes effect on October 25, 2019

A new law from the New York State Legislature establishes penalties for threatening, penalizing, or in any other manner discriminating or retaliating against any employee, including but not limited to, contacting U.S. immigration authorities or otherwise threatening to report an employee’s suspected citizenship or immigration status. The law becomes effective on October 25, 2019.

This law will amend New York Labor Law by adding to Section 215(1)(a). Presently, the labor law forbids employers from retaliating against an employee because the employee has complained about an alleged violation of the wage-and-hour laws. The new addition to this section adds that: “to threaten, penalize, or in any other manner discriminate or retaliate against any employee includes threatening to contact or contacting U.S. immigration authorities or otherwise reporting or threatening to report an employee’s suspected citizenship or immigration status or the suspected citizenship or immigration status of an employee’s family or household member … to a federal, state, or local agency.”

The scope of protected classes in many jurisdictions, especially New York, has expanded in recent years. Employers are well advised to consult legal counsel prior to taking adverse action against an employee.

If you have any questions on how this impacts you or your business, please contact: