Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

What You Should Know as an Employer Sexual harassment in the restaurant industry is more extensive than in any other industry (that reports sexual harassment). This may come as a shock to employers. If you are a restauranteur, it is wise to take preventative measures. Eliminating sexual harassment is vital for protecting your business against lawsuits. Facts Uncovered About Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry In January 2021, Social Science Research Solutions (SRSS) conducted a national survey in the restaurant industry. Here were some of the findings: The percentage of women restaurant workers that experienced sexual harassment at work was 71%. This statistic was significantly higher than in any other industry. Not only did customers harass female restaurant workers, so did supervisors, managers and restaurant owners. The combined total of tipped and non-tipped workers experiencing sexual harassment from someone in an ownership or management role was 44%. Tipped workers experienced sexual harassment at a far higher rate than non-tipped workers in four out of five states. The ratio was 76% compared with 52%. The types of sexual harassment tipped workers experienced included: sexist treatment, sexually aggressive and degrading behavior, persistent and intrusive sexual attention, and being coerced or threatened into unwanted sexual activity. Harassment was not a one-time experience but often persisted for days, weeks and in some instances, months. In fact, 37% described harassment that lasted a month or more. In some cases, frequent harassment behavior occurred during almost every shift. Tipped workers reported that they were encouraged to forget about the harassment more frequently than non-tipped workers (39% vs. 23%). In general, 71% of female tipped workers...

Employers’ Responsibility for NY Work Schedules

Work Schedule Limitations As an employer, you should know what laws to follow regarding NY work schedules. The following are some FAQs about setting schedules for employees. Is there a limit to the number of work hours per day? Except for children under 18 and for workers in certain occupations, there are no limits. If you want to extend the work day to 12 hours, you can do that. However, you may also have to pay the employee for overtime unless the employee is exempt. Overtime is one and one-half times the regular hourly rate for all hours over 40 in a calendar week. For farm workers, overtime applies for hours worked over 60 hours in a calendar week. What industries or occupations must include time off work? Employers in the following industries must provide employees with 24 hours of rest in each calendar week: Factories Mercantile establishments Hotels (exception is resort/seasonal hotels) Restaurants (exception is small, rural restaurants) Elevator operator Watchman Janitor Superintendent Farm worker (A complete list is available at https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/LAB.) How early in the day can the workday begin for an adult employee? Employers have no limitation on how early work can start. How late in the day can an adult employee work? Employers have no limitation on how late the workday can extend. (Reference: Dol.ny.gov) Employers in the fast food industry in New York City must comply with the NYC Fair Work Week law. This law has different rules. For example, workers must receive their schedules 14 days in advance of the schedule’s start date. They also have the right to say “no” to extra...

New York Employers Must Notify Employees About Electronic Monitoring

A New Amendment to the New York Civil Rights Law New York employers must notify employees about electronic monitoring. This new amendment to the New York Civil Rights Law went into effect on May 7, 2022. Furthermore, the notification must be in writing, and there are additional provisions employers must follow. FAQs about How to Notify Employees about Electronic Monitoring What businesses must give prior notice? Based on the new electronic monitoring amendment, the law applies to any NY business. This includes individuals, partnerships, firms, corporations or associations that have a place of business in New York. It does not apply to the state government or any state political subdivision. Who must the employer notify? Prior to hiring employees for electronically monitored positions, the employer must provide the applicants with a written notice. For already existing electronically monitored employees, the employer must post a notification. What does “in writing” mean? The notice must be either in physical writing, in an electronic record or another electronic form. Also, the employee must acknowledge in writing or electronically that they have seen the notice. Furthermore, the employer must post the notice about electronic monitoring in a conspicuous workplace area. It must be readily available to view by employees who are subject to electronic monitoring. What qualifies as electronic monitoring? The following are types of electronic monitoring interception: Telephone conversations or transmissions Electronic mail or transmissions Internet access or usage by any electronic device or system. For example, by a computer, telephone, wire, radio or electromagnetic, photoelectronic of photo-optical system. What are the potential penalties for violating this law? Potential penalties include: $500...

New York Restaurant Law on To-Go-Alcohol

Temporary Legalization of To-Go-Alcohol Governor Kathy Hochul signed the New York restaurant law on to-go-alcohol on April 12, 2022. As part of the 2023 fiscal budget deal, restaurants and bars have temporary legalization for to-go-alcohol. Details of the Restaurant To-Go-Alcohol Law According to Restaurant Dive the underlying reason for passing the law was to “modernize and simplify the state’s alcohol laws and regulations.” The law stays in effect for three years, through 2025. This means that the sale and delivery of to-go-alcohol is legal for the next three years. Who does the law apply to? The law applies to restaurants and other retail license holders selling alcohol on their premises. Even so, the law requires customers also to buy a “substantial food item.” In addition, sales can only take place during the restaurant’s regular hours of operation. The history behind the new law In an effort to support restaurants and bars during the Covid-19 pandemic, former Governor Cuomo allowed them to serve to-go drinks. At that time, restaurants had to serve food along with the to-go beverages. This was helpful because the pandemic caused a number of eateries to close permanently. As the pandemic ended, the temporary order eventually expired. What qualifies as a substantial food item? The State Liquor Authority (SLA) considers the following to be substantial items: Soups Sandwiches Salads Chicken wings Hot dogs Items that would not be substantial include chips, bar nuts and candies. Furthermore, SLA guidance takes into consideration the serving size of substantial items. A small portion of soup, a side of green beans or handful of lettuce would not qualify as substantial....

Changes in NYC Employment Laws

Staying on Top of Employment Law Changes Changes in NYC employment laws can be challenging for business owners. Many changes have occurred within the last few years. In fact, the New York City Council recently amended a date when the city’s salary transparency would become effective. They delayed the May 15, 2022 date to November 1, 2022. Delay in Employer Requirement to Disclose Salary Ranges The amendment in New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) requires employers to be transparent about salary ranges. They must disclose compensation ranges for job postings. This also includes postings for promotion or transfer opportunities available to current employees. The amendment clarified that while the original version used the word “salary,” the posting also applies to positions paid by hourly wages. The range the employer posts must be in good faith based on the range at the time of posting. Remote Positions Included The above law also applies to remote positions being promoted where employees will do not work in a NYC office. Work done for a NYC business can be done in the field or from a remote home office. It does not matter that the employee does not maintain a NYC office or that the employer does not require the employee to work from a city location. Claims and Penalties At this time, the amendment allows only current employees to file a claim against their employer for failing to post the minimum to maximum hourly wage or salary range. If the employer corrects the posting within 30 days, there is no penalty for the first violation. However subsequent violations may be subject...