Layoffs and Restructurings

This year New York employers have had to scramble to keep up with many new employment laws, and next year promises more of the same. The latest: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s December 6 mandate that private sector employers require COVID-19 vaccines for their workers in NYC. If it survives expected legal challenges and takes effect December 27 (Happy Holidays!), the rule will be the broadest mandate of any state or large city in the US. From minimum wage increases, to regulations on the use of artificial intelligence tools in employee recruitment, to notice requirements for electronic employee monitoring, to New York’s fulsome response to COVID-19 through the HERO Act—private sector employers in New York have a laundry list of changes to implement and prepare for.

Below we highlight the 10 major employment law changes and updates that businesses need to know.

  1. New York City Vaccine Mandate To Hit All Private Employers December 27

By the end of the month, all in-person private sector New York City employees must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to an announcement by Mayor de Blasio. The mandate, which will take the form of an order issued by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, will apply to nearly 184,000 businesses and will not be limited to businesses in certain industries or based on company size. The mandate will most likely parallel the city worker mandate in that employers will, in certain instances, be permitted to make reasonable accommodations to mandatory vaccination policies for employees with legitimate religious or medical reasons, but will not permit any testing options in lieu of the vaccine. The mandate will not apply to fully remote employees or those who are alone at a worksite. The city has not yet announced whether employers will face inspections or fines if they fail to follow the mandate, but it intends to release implementation and enforcement guidelines by December 15, 2021.

The new mandate is the first of its kind on a local level while the federal vaccine rule for private employers with 100 or more employees remains on pause amid several legal challenges. The city mandate is also set to go into effect only days before the New York City mayoral transition, leaving future enforcement of the mandate uncertain.

 Employer Takeaways

  • Stay abreast of further city announcements concerning additional guidance on the vaccine mandate.
  • Operate under the assumption that the vaccine mandate will take effect December 27, 2021, and notify employees of the new mandate so unvaccinated employees have sufficient time to get vaccinated.
  • Implement procedures to verify applicable in-person employees vaccination status and prepare to collect vaccination records as confidential medical information.
  • Prepare to establish a mandatory vaccination policy and a process for employees to request exemptions, to the extent your business has not already done so.
  • Begin considering operational contingency plans if your business expects that a significant portion of the workforce will not get vaccinated.


Continue Reading Top 10 New York Employment Law Updates For 2021/2022

We are pleased to invite you to our webinar series on the Subcontracting Reform in Mexico this Tuesday, May 4. We will offer one session in Spanish and one in English.

During the first part, our specialists will discuss the impact of the Reform on companies operating in Mexico from the perspective of the different

We are pleased to share a recent SHRM article, “Restructuring Your Organization Post-Pandemic? Maintain DE&I Commitments,”  with quotes from Mike Brewer. The articles discusses employers should be careful not to backtrack on progress made last year toward diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) as they prepare for a post-pandemic world, restructuring and reorganization to account for

On April 16, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a statewide right of recall law (Senate Bill 93). SB 93 is similar to the Los Angeles City recall ordinance and the San Francisco right to reemployment legislation. It is effective immediately and will remain in effect through December 31, 2024.

Here’s what you need to know:  

Covered Employers

The new law does not apply to all employers. It applies generally to hotels, private clubs, event centers, airport hospitality operations, and airport service providers, while also applying specifically to janitorial, building maintenance and security services provided to office, retail and other commercial buildings.

Important Definitions:

  • “Hotel” means a residential building that is designated or used for lodging and other related services for the public, and containing 50 or more guest rooms, or suites of rooms (adjoining rooms do not constitute a suite of rooms). “Hotel” also includes any contracted, leased, or sublet premises connected to or operated in conjunction with the building’s purpose, or providing services at the building.
  • “Private club” means a private, membership-based business or nonprofit organization that operates a building or complex of buildings containing at least 50 guest rooms or suites of rooms that are offered as overnight lodging to members.
  • “Event center” means a publicly or privately owned structure of more than 50,000 square feet or 1,000 seats that is used for the purposes of public performances, sporting events, business meetings, or similar events, and includes concert halls, stadiums, sports arenas, racetracks, coliseums, and convention centers.
    • The term “event center” also includes any contracted, leased, or sublet premises connected to or operated in conjunction with the event center’s purpose, including food preparation facilities, concessions, retail stores, restaurants, bars, and structured parking facilities.
  • “Airport hospitality operation” means a business that prepares, delivers, inspects, or provides any other service in connection with the preparation of food or beverage for aircraft crew or passengers at an airport, or that provides food and beverage, retail, or other consumer goods or services to the public at an airport.
  • “Airport service provider” means a business that performs, under contract with a passenger air carrier, airport facility management, or airport authority, functions on the property of the airport that are directly related to the air transportation of persons, property, or mail, including, but not limited to, the loading and unloading of property on aircraft, assistance to passengers under Part 382 (commencing with Section 382.1) of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, security, airport ticketing and check-in functions, ground-handling of aircraft, aircraft cleaning and sanitization functions, and waste removal.
  • “Building service” means janitorial, building maintenance, or security services.


Continue Reading California Establishes Statewide Right to Recall for COVID-Related Layoffs Limited to Certain Industries

We are pleased to share a recent Law360 article, “3 Ways To Protect Diversity If Layoffs Are Unavoidable,” with quotes from Mike Brewer. This article discusses three tips employers can use to help safeguard diversity when reductions in force cannot be avoided due to economic havoc caused by COVID-19.

Click here to view the article.

As a result of the pandemic, many companies have been forced to consider layoffs and furloughs. In this video, our Labor and Employment attorneys discuss how employers should approach such cost-cutting measures to ensure they are not discriminatory and to avoid allegations of differential treatment.

Click here to watch the video.

For the last year, employers have faced unprecedented challenges navigating the impact of the pandemic. Keeping up with scores of new laws, evolving standards, shelter-in-place orders (see our tracker here), quarantine restrictions and more has meant no rest for the weary. And, in the backdrop, there’s the looming threat of employment litigation arising from

We are excited to invite you to our virtual Annual California Employer Update on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, from 1:00 – 2:15 PM PT.

“Quick Hits: California’s Top 10 & What You Need To Know In 2021” is designed to ensure that in-house counsel are up to speed on what changed in 2020 and prepared

On June 23, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to approve “right to reemployment” legislation that requires large employers to first offer laid-off workers their old jobs back before offering employment to new applicants (“Ordinance”). It will become effective immediately upon Mayor London Breed’s signature and will expire upon the 61st day following enactment unless extended.

Advocates of the Ordinance argued the requirement is necessary to ensure employers don’t use the pandemic as an opportunity to simply replace old workers with new employees who are younger and less expensive. Organizations lobbying against the Ordinance argued that it is overly burdensome; violates core constitutional principles; runs counter to several federal and state laws; and is extremely vulnerable to abuse. Similar legislation has surfaced in Los Angeles County as well.

Covered Employers

“Covered employers” are defined as for-profit and non-profit employers that directly or indirectly own or operate a business in the City or County of San Francisco and employ, or have employed, 100 or more employees on or after February 25, 2020.

Continue Reading San Francisco Provides Temporary Right to Reemployment Following Layoff Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

With many thanks to Chris Guldberg for this post. 

Employers considering COVID-19-related layoffs and RIFs right now should add one more item to their checklist of considerations: the possibility of inadvertently triggering a “partial termination” of their tax-qualified retirement plan.

Where plan participant numbers decrease substantially, the plan may incur what’s known as a “partial termination.” This is significant because, once triggered, the IRS requires the benefits of all “affected employees” be fully vested. Failure to provide such vesting could put the plan’s tax-qualified status at risk.

Continue Reading Beware — COVID-19 Layoffs May Trigger Liability for Partial Plan Terminations