New York City Passes Bill Requiring Employers to Provide an “Employee Bill of Rights” to All Employees Regardless of Immigration Status

UPDATE: On March 1, 2024, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection released its highly anticipated Workers’ Bill of Rights. The bill of rights provides information about the rights and protections of employees, independent contractors, and job candidates under City, State, and federal law. Employers should begin distributing the “Know Your Rights at Work” poster to their employees and new hires, and also post the information at the employer’s place of business and online in English and any language spoken as a primary language by at least 5% of its employees, provided the City has published the bill of rights in the applicable language.

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On December 3, 2023, the New York City Council passed a bill requiring the Department of Consumer and Worker Production (DCWP), in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and community and labor organizations selected by the commissioner of DCWP, to publish a workers’ bill of rights on the City’s website.  The bill was returned unsigned by the mayor without a veto, which means the bill will become law. 

The bill of rights will: (i) identify federal, state, and local labor laws that provide protections to employees and independent contractors, (ii) provide information about employees’ rights to form a union, and (iii) explain that these rights apply regardless of immigration status. The agencies tasked with finalizing the workers’ bill of rights must post a final draft of the document on the City’s website no later than March 1, 2024, and this bill of rights must be posted in English and in the designated citywide languages and certain temporary languages.

By July 1, 2024, employers will be required to provide a copy of the bill of rights to each of their current employees, and thereafter, covered employers will be expected to distribute the workers’ bill of rights on an employee’s first day of work. At present, it does not appear that covered employers will be required to provide the bill of rights to independent contractors. In addition, covered employers will also be required to post the information at the employer’s place of business in an area that is both accessible and visible to employees, and will also be required to post the notice on its website. Employers that regularly communicate with employees through electronic means must provide access to the workers’ bill of rights online or on their mobile applications. While the law does not specifically define which employers are covered, it is likely that any employers that employ workers who perform work within the geographic boundaries of New York City are covered. 

Employers that fail to adhere to the posting requirement will incur a $500 penalty, but will be given a 30-day window to cure the violation following the first complaint lodged against the employer. Following the publication of the bill of rights, MOIA is expected to spearhead community outreach and educational efforts regarding the bill of rights, and provide employees, prospective employees, and independent contractors with (i) contact information for the City’s immigration legal hotline and the asylum application help center; (ii) resources and contact information for immigration legal services and MOIA; (iii) information on what to expect if immigration enforcement authorities come to an individual’s workplace; and (iv) information regarding federal eligibility requirements to temporary protected status.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.