Which New York Employment Laws Apply to My Small Business?

Potential clients often ask me questions along the lines of: "My company is just a small employer.  Does this [New York State or New York City] statute apply to me?"

That is, prospective clients often inquire whether, in light of the number of workers that their businesses employ, their businesses must comply with a particular, labor-related statute enacted by, or a given, employment-related regulation promulgated by, New York State or New York City.

Following are lists of New York State and New York City statutes and regulations relating to labor and employment and the size of non-governmental employers to which these statutes apply.

New York State Statutes and Regulations

Employers with fifty (50) or more employees:

New York State Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, N.Y. Labor Law §§ 860 - 860-i

Employers with twenty (20) or more employees:

That portion of New York State's "mini" COBRA law, N.Y. Ins. Law §§ 3221(m), 4303(k), 4305(e), requiring employers which provide group health plans to offer each qualified beneficiary who would otherwise lose coverage under the plan because of, among other circumstances, termination of employment and who has exhausted continuation of coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1161 - 1169 ("COBRA"), an opportunity to elect continuation of coverage for up to thirty-six (36) months from the date the continuation of coverage began.

Employers with four (4) or more employees:

New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law §§ 290-301, except with respect to unlawful harassment of a domestic worker.

Employers with one (1) to nineteen (19) employees:

That portion of New York State's "mini" COBRA law, N.Y. Ins. Law §§ 3221(m), 4303(k), 4305(e), requiring employers which provide group health plans to offer each qualified beneficiary who would otherwise lose coverage under the plan because of, among other circumstances, termination of employment an opportunity to elect continuation of coverage for thirty-six (36) months.

Employers with one (1) or more employees:

12 N.Y.C.R.R. § 14-2.2 (Overtime rate)

New York State False Claims Act, N.Y. State Finance Law §§ 187-194

New York State Minimum Wage Act, N.Y. Labor Law §§ 650-665

New York State Unemployment Insurance Law, N.Y. Labor Law §§ 500-643

New York State Whistleblower Law, N.Y. Labor Law § 740

New York State Workers' Compensation Law, N.Y. Work. Comp. Law §§ 1 - 401

That portion of the New York State Human Rights Law, N,Y. Exec. Law § 296-b, relating to unlawful harassment of a domestic worker.

New York City Statutes

Any employer which receives, from the City of New York of from a City economic development entity, financial assistance valued at $1,000,000 or more (to improve or develop real property, to develop economically, to  retain or create jobs, or for similar purposes) and which has annual gross revenues of $5,000,000 or more:

New York City Living Wages Act, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 6-134

Any employer which is a party to a contract with a city, county, or borough valued in excess of $100,000, the expenses of which are paid in whole or in part from the New York City Treasury (a "contractor"); and any employer which is a party to a subcontract with such a contractor:

That portion of the New York City False Claims Act, N.Y. City Admin. Code § 6-132, relating to posting of notice of whistleblower protection rights.

Employers with four (4) or more employees, including individuals properly classified as independent contractors:

New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y. City Admin. Code §§ 8-101 - 8-131

Employers with one (1) or more employees:

The New York City False Claims Act, N.Y. City Admin. Code §§ 7-801 - 7-810, except with respect to posting of notice of whistleblower protection rights.

For summaries of many of the above-mentioned New York State and New York City statutes, see here.

It should be noted that many of the above-mentioned New York State and New York City statutes are modeled on similar federal statutes, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq.  In most, but not all, such cases, the federal statute requires that an employer employ more workers than does the corresponding State or City statute in order for the statute to apply.

If your company needs assistance or guidance on a labor or employment law issue and your company is located in the New York City area, call Attorney David S. Rich at (212) 209-3972.

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