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BOP NEWSLETTER • January 2023

New York Employers Prohibited from Disciplining Employees for Legally Protected Absences Under New Law


New Senate Bill S1958A amends section 215 of the New York Labor Law to enhance protections for employees who take legally protected absences. According to the new law, employers are prohibited from “assessing any demerit, occurrence, any other point, or deductions from an allotted bank of time, which subjects or could subject an employee to disciplinary action” based upon the use of “any legally protected absence pursuant to federal, local, or state law.” In addition, the law makes it unlawful for employers to fire, threaten, or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against employees for their use of lawful absences.

The law takes effect on February 19, 2023.

Possible penalties for violations: civil penalties up to $10,000 for violations of section 215 and up to $20,000 for subsequent violations. The New York State Department of Labor can also order reinstatement and award back pay, front pay, and liquidated damages.