Relates to prohibiting contract provisions that waive certain substantive and procedural rights.
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the labor law, in relation to contract provisions waiving certain substantive and procedural rights
This bill would prevent the enforcement of certain employee contract provisions that would waive procedural rights or remedies.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one adds new section 211-b to the labor law providing that contract provisions that waive a procedural right or remedy relating to a claim of discrimination, non-payment of wages or benefits, retaliation, harassment or violation of public policy shall be deemed unconscionable, void and unenforceable. Prohibits retaliatory action from the employer for failure by employee to enter into such contract.
Section two sets the effective date.
Any effort by an employer to have an employee give up important and long standing rights must be done openly and transparently so as to afford the employee to understand the nature of those rights, including, but not limited to waiving procedural rights and opting for arbitration of disputes. Requiring employees to enter into agreements waiving their right to long standing and hard fought protections including access to courts and legal remedies is unconscionable. The presentation of such provisions or waivers without the requisite transparency produces a hostile work environment, such that the employee believes he or she has no choice but to accept these conditions to continue employment. This bill would reaffirm New York's continued commitment to employees rights.
This is a new bill.
This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all contracts entered into, renewed, modified or amended on or after such date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4388 2015-2016 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 18, 2015 ___________Introduced by Sen. MARTINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Labor AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to contract provisions waiv- ing certain substantive and procedural rights THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The labor law is amended by adding a new section 211-b to read as follows: S 211-B. CONTRACTS; CERTAIN PROVISIONS PROHIBITED. 1. A PROVISION IN ANY CONTRACT WAIVING ANY SUBSTANTIVE OR PROCEDURAL RIGHT OR REMEDY RELATING TO A CLAIM OF DISCRIMINATION, NON-PAYMENT OF WAGES OR BENEFITS, RETALIATION, HARASSMENT OR VIOLATION OF PUBLIC POLICY IN EMPLOYMENT SHALL BE DEEMED UNCONSCIONABLE, VOID AND UNENFORCEABLE, WITH RESPECT TO ANY SUCH CLAIM ARISING AFTER THE WAIVER IS MADE. NO RIGHT OR REMEDY ARISING UNDER THIS SECTION, THIS CHAPTER, COMMON LAW, ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW OR RULE OF PROCEDURE OR THE CONSTITUTION SHALL BE PROS- PECTIVELY WAIVED. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT RENDER VOID OR UNENFORCEABLE THE REMAINDER OF THE CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT. 2. WHOEVER ENFORCES OR ATTEMPTS TO ENFORCE A WAIVER DEEMED UNCONSCION- ABLE, VOID OR UNENFORCEABLE UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE LIABLE FOR REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS. 3. NO PERSON OR EMPLOYER SHALL TAKE ANY RETALIATORY ACTION, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, FAILURE TO HIRE, DISCHARGE, SUSPENSION, DEMOTION, DISCRIMINATION IN THE TERMS, CONDITIONS OR PRIVILEGES OF EMPLOYMENT, OR OTHER ADVERSE ACTION, AGAINST A PERSON, BECAUSE THE PERSON DOES NOT ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT OR CONTRACT THAT CONTAINS A WAIVER DEEMED UNCON- SCIONABLE, VOID OR UNENFORCEABLE UNDER THIS SECTION. 4. A PERSON AGGRIEVED OF A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION MAY, WITHIN THREE YEARS AFTER THE VIOLATION, INSTITUTE AND PROSECUTE IN SUCH PERSON'S OWN NAME AND ON SUCH PERSON'S OWN BEHALF A CIVIL ACTION FOR TORTS REMEDIES, INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, AND THE COSTS OF LITIGATION AND REASONABLE ATTORNEY'SEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09982-01-5 S. 4388 2
FEES. THE RIGHTS AND REMEDIES CONTAINED IN THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE EXCLUSIVE AND SHALL NOT PREEMPT OTHER PROCEDURES AND REMEDIES AVAILABLE UNDER OTHER APPLICABLE LAWS. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all contracts entered into, renewed, modified or amended on or after such date.