New York’s legislature has passed the NY Hero Act mandating new COVID-19 precautions for employers. The bill instructs the Department of Labor (DOL) to create minimum requirements for the workplace to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
These standards must account for different industries as well as give attention to numerous areas, including protocols for:
Once completed, employers must either adopt the appropriate DOL standards or devise their own meeting or exceeding the DOL plan’s requirements. The employer must post the plan within the workplace and distribute it to new hires and all employees after reopening from an airborne illness.
The new law will allow the DOL to issue fines for non-compliance and additionally prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees who report violations. It will also permit employees to file lawsuits for injunctive relief against their employer for failing to adhere to the new law and permit courts to grant plaintiffs court costs and up to $20,000 for damages.
Finally, the bill allows employees to create joint labor-management safety committees to raise any health or safety concerns, participate in workplace safety training, review safety policies, and participate in government visits related to workplace safety.