Day 5: Keep Your Eye On Proposed Legislation

Each day this week, we will “unwrap” one of five pressing employment law issues on the 2014 horizon for New York state and city employers. Previously, we covered the minimum wage hikenew city lawsadministrative updates, and the need to pay unpaid interns. Today’s topic, the final one in this series, addresses proposed legislation.

Tangentially related to yesterday’s post, the New York State Legislature will continue to ponder a bill to make it illegal to subject an unpaid intern to unlawful discrimination or harassment. The proposed regulation stems from a federal court decision, issued in early October 2013, ruling that interns, because they do not receive compensation, have no right to relief under the New York City Human Rights Law for workplace discrimination and harassment.

In 2014, anticipate a heavy push for New York to become the first state to outlaw workplace bullying. Proposed legislation is already pending, so this will be a hot-button issue in Albany. If adopted, the bill will have a major impact on workplace discourse and dialogue, and may spur litigation over otherwise trivial workplace slights.

Finally, both state and city legislators are mulling legislation to completely prohibit employers from using information in a job applicant’s or employee’s credit report in reaching hiring and other employment decisions. The state bill, termed the Credit Privacy in Employment Act,has already passed the Assembly and is set for debate by the Senate in January 2014.