Double, Double, Toil & Trouble, Vaccines Burn and EEOC Struggles

Happy Halloween! Hopefully you had an enjoyable weekend and haven’t had to deal with any HR complaints regarding your employees’ questionable costumes. We’ve got a lot cooking in our cauldron this week, and no, that isn’t a ghost creeping around the corner – it’s the latest New York City COVID-19 vaccine and salary transparency updates (which is probably even scarier for some of you – you know who you are). In addition to that, we’re discussing the EEOC’s recent “Know Your Rights” poster struggles (spoiler alert, after announcing its release, the EEOC forgot (?) to share the new poster, then posted the wrong version . . . but we’re good now). Read on for these updates – including some changes going into effect this week!

NYC’s Salary Transparency Law Goes into Effect Nov. 1

It’s astounding, time is fleeting. We’ve been talking about this law for quite a while, and looks like it’s finally going into effect after a few tweaks. But listen closely, as of November 1 (yes, tomorrow), NYC employers with four or more employees are required to state the salary ranges for all job postings, promotions, or transfer opportunities. Job postings by staffing agencies are exempt (potential Halloween costume for non-compliant employers: staffing agency). Be sure you review your job advertisements and job descriptions to make sure they include the necessary wage information. This even applies for remote workers who live outside of NYC if their job can or will be performed in NYC, so be careful. Failure to comply with this rule could lead to penalties in the six-figure range – talk about frightening!

NYC to End Private Employer Mandatory Vaccinations on November 1

NYC Mayor Eric Adams recently announced that the City will officially end its COVID-19 mandate for private employers on November 1. Of course, employers can still choose to have their own requirements, so long as they otherwise comply with the law. And speaking of otherwise complying with the law, the New York Supreme Court recently ordered that all City sanitation workers who were fired for being unvaccinated must be reinstated, with backpay. So, while the City’s general vaccine mandate for municipal employees is still in effect, we anticipate that, in light of this decision, there will be some movement on that front as well.

As a reminder, for those of you with vaccine mandates, although federal law doesn’t prohibit employers from requiring that all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19, remain mindful of those with potential religious or medical exemptions. Employers can no longer freely require COVID-19 testing; a testing requirement must be “job-related and consistent with business necessity”. And, although you can ask your employees if they’ve come in contact with someone who has been exposed to COVID-19, you can’t ask about their family member’s medical information (i.e., if a family member is sick).

All in all, this is a great time (if you haven’t already) to revisit your COVID-19 policies and make sure they’re in line with current developments.

New EEOC “Know Your Rights” Poster

The EEOC recently released a new “Know Your Rights” poster (the October 20th version, NOT the October 19th version). The poster clarifies some things on harassment as a form of discrimination and sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy (or related conditions), sexual orientation, and gender identity. The poster also provides examples of employer actions that could be considered discriminatory.

The poster must be placed in a conspicuous location where such notices are generally posted, and if any workers are remote, must be circulated electronically. The poster is also available in different formats for employees who may have audio-visual impairments or disabilities.

We hope you have a spooky and safe Halloween, and as always, if you’ve got extra candy – err – questions – you know we’ve got answers.

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