Meet our newest team member, brush up on electronic surveillance laws in New York, and check out our take on non-competes and non-solicits (plus, as expected, some references to pop music and gangster movies). Oh yeah – and all private sector employees in New York City will be subject to mandatory vaccination plans by December 27, 2021. Happy Holidays!
We’re growing . . . and not just from holiday binge eating
We’re extremely proud to announce that our team is growing! Please join us in welcoming Laura Garcia to the firm. Laura comes in as an associate attorney with experience in counseling clients in various business disputes and transactions.
P.S. we’re rebranding and launching our new website soon. Look out for Laura’s bio then!
Mayor de Blasio’s going out with a bang
Effective December 27, 2021, all private-sector workers in New York City must be vaccinated. Earlier this morning the Mayor tweeted “NYC is a global leader when it comes to #COVID19 recovery. We’ve proven that with vaccine mandates and incentives, we can beat this virus. Now we’re taking another step towards the future – a private sector employee vaccine mandate. Together we can save lives and move forward.”
Mayor de Blasio said the city will issue additional guidance on December 15th. In the meantime, if you have in-person attendance and have not created some form of written vaccination plan, it’s about time you make that plan (and check it twice).
Every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you . . .
. . . but not without adequate prior disclosure! This obscure pop music reference is courtesy of a new law passed last month in New York. The State now joins Connecticut and Delaware in restricting electronic monitoring of employees without prior disclosure. Under the new law, private employers must disclose to their employees whether they monitor or intercept employees’ telephonic and electronic conversations or transmissions (emails, instant messages, internet use, etc.).
This new law applies to all private employers with a place of business – or remote workers – in New York.
What’s required? Specifically, employers must provide notice before they monitor their employees, post that notice in a place where all employees can see it (or email it to remote employees) and give it to new employees as part of their onboarding package. And, if you were wondering, here’s the language required in the notice:
any and all telephone conversations or transmissions, electronic mail or transmissions, or internet access or usage by an employee by any electronic device or system, including but not limited to the use of a computer, telephone, wire, radio or electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optical systems may be subject to monitoring at any and all times and by any lawful means . . .
Employers who don’t give this notice are subject to State-imposed fines up to $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second offense, and $3,000 for the third and any subsequent offenses.
We’re waiting for more guidance on open-issues such as how this law will differentiate between employer/employee-owned devices, not to mention employees accessing work systems from their personal internet providers. But, for now, we suggest employers: (1) check with their IT department or provider to understand their electronic monitoring practices; (2) review existing notices to see if the adequate notice has already been provided; and (3) if your notice is lacking, give new notice and get employees’ acknowledgement in writing. This law takes effect on May 7, 2022.
“Now you’s can’t leave”
More and more companies are recently finding themselves saying those immortal words of A Bronx Tale’s Sonny as they are ramping up their efforts to prevent employees from leaving and going to competitors.
We’ve seen a recent uptick in companies enforcing “restrictive covenants” – the fancy term for legal restrictions placed on employees when they leave a company. For example, no working for a competitor, no taking clients, no poaching employees, etc. Disputes and legal action over these agreements can be costly for both the employer and departing employee. They can also be very difficult to predict.
Courts will enforce reasonable restrictions, but what’s “reasonable” is determined on a case-by-case basis. Employers shouldn’t assume that they’ll win, just like employees shouldn’t assume they’ll lose. If only the legal world was that easy and predictable.
Maybe this is a result of a tighter job market, or the Great Resignation, or employees getting braver about flouting their restrictions, but whatever it is – it’s happening more and more. Employees are still leaving, but maybe it’s becoming a bit more difficult – and costly – to do so.
Now, back to those questionably fresh leftovers sitting in your fridge. Thanks for reading.
As always, if you’ve got questions – you know we’ve got answers.
Damien + Brian
ABOUT WEINSTEIN + KLEIN P.C.
Established in 2019, New York City-based Weinstein + Klein is a boutique law firm focused on labor and employment law, business matters, and litigation. Weinstein + Klein works with businesses, individuals, and entrepreneurs to protect their legal interests. In addition to advising clients on employment matters and working with businesses to minimize their risk of litigation, Weinstein + Klein advises small businesses and start-ups on various business law matters. For more information about Weinstein + Klein, please visit www.weinsteinklein.com.