New York has strong protections in place for workers, but the federal government has continued to weaken laws concerning workers’ rights and safety. Over the past year, the state has answered with legislation to counter those efforts.
The current economic system benefits employers by giving them disproportionate bargaining power when dealing with employees and allowing corporations to attack labor unions, which have fought hard for workers.
U.S. Labor Department rules weaken protections
Workers across the U.S. have faced significant changes created by new federal regulations that undermine protections, including:
- The Labor Department announced new rules for federal contractors that allow discrimination in the hiring process against LGBTQ workers
- The department has quashed workplace safety rules requiring employers to report injuries on the job
- Revoking regulations that banned forced arbitration for sexual harassment or discrimination claims by workers
New York has strengthened workers’ protections
New York has continued to fight for workers’ rights and ensure that their jobs, lives and safety are protected. The state has passed legislation, including:
- The New York Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, providing basic protections to farmworkers, giving them overtime, unemployment benefits and the right to collective bargaining
- The state also passed stronger workplace-harassment laws making it easier for workers to come forward and holding employers accountable by requiring them to follow State Human Rights laws, and prohibiting the use of mandatory arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases
Unions continue to protect workers’rights
The history of the American labor movement is a proud one where workers’ lives have been changed for the better through increased pay, benefits and safety. While the federal government continues to weaken rules, attorneys with experience in labor and employment law here in New York will continue to work with unions to protect those rights.