Employment & Business Litigation Pointers - Volume I, No. 17


Employment & Business Litigation Pointers

Volume I, No. 17
Friday, February 26, 2021


As a public service, we are pleased to present this issue of Employment & Business Litigation Pointers, which aims to provide our clients and subscribers with timely information and practical, business-oriented solutions to the latest employment and general business litigation developments.  In some jurisdictions, newsletters such as this may be considered: Attorney Advertising.
If you know of others who may wish to subscribe to this free publication, please feel free to forward it. If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe, please do so at the bottom of this newsletter.


A Note from Joseph S. Brown, Esq.

Do you have a situation?  We love situations. 

This is the familiar marketing tagline used by our highly regarded Insurance Coverage Group led by Dan Kohane.  But it applies with equal force to our Labor & Employment Group. Give us a call, send an email, or drop by—in newly renovated conference rooms with glass partitions.  We truly enjoy solving complex Labor & Employment Law issues.  

Businesses are increasingly calling about “situations” regarding New York’s Paid Sick Leave Law, COVID-19 Vaccination Policies, and COVID-19 safety related claims.  This edition of Employment & Business Litigation Pointers tracks those topics following a recent webinar with our partners at the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York entitled “Three Things Employers Need to Know about COVID-19 and the Workplace in 2021” that you can access here

In this edition, we provide answers to several pressing workplace issues:

Lastly, our Estate Planning team provides an important update to virtual document signing under NY pandemic relief executive orders.

Let us know how we can help with your workplace situations.

My Employee is Fully Vaccinated: Now What?
By Joseph S. Brown, Esq.

In a previous alert, the firm’s Labor & Employment Group tackled Six FAQs About Employer COVID-19 Vaccination Policies in New York. That alert provides a good overview of some of the basic questions that employers may have about making a vaccination policy mandatory as well as providing incentives or encouragement for employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

But what does the federal and state guidance say about safety and quarantine protocols for those employees who have been fully vaccinated?  We address those questions – as best we can – below.  We also provide a reminder about consistently applying health and safety protocols in the light of increased enforcement activity by federal and state authorities. 

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NYS Paid Sick Leave: 9 Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)
By Katherine L. Wood, Esq.

Employers who still have questions about their obligations under New York State’s paid sick leave law are not alone.  By now, many employers are familiar with the basic requirements of this new law (our in-depth article on the basic requirements of the law can be found here).  However, many questions remained even after the Department of Labor issued guidance (our article on the guidance can be found here.  This article aims to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from the employer’s perspective on the paid sick leave law. 

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Six FAQs About Employer COVID-19 Vaccination Policies in New York
By Joseph S. Brown, Esq.

The development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines late last year has offered a glimmer of optimism for businesses hoping to return to “normal” in 2021.  But how will the increased availability of COVID-19 vaccines impact the workplace?  At this point, most employers – and their lawyers – have just as many questions as they do answers about vaccine programs.

Just this past week, a New York City restaurant came under fire when it terminated a waitress who refused to get vaccinated because she wanted more time to study the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine on fertility.  The restaurant owner conceded that the issue could have been handled differently and that it had resulted in an immediate change to the restaurant’s employee guidelines for requesting an exemption.

This story highlights the potential legal pitfalls and bad publicity that employers may have to confront when an employee refuses vaccination.  It also highlights the importance of contacting experienced employment counsel to avoid a messy situation that ends up on the front page of the New York Times.  With that in mind, below are answers to six commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination policies.

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Virtual Notary Public and Witnessing of Estate Documents Continue Under NY Pandemic Relief Executive Orders
By Carly M. Speyer, Esq. of our Estate Planning team

In the early days of the Covid-19 crisis, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Orders that specifically addressed the challenges presented for two common situations in the legal field: the notarization of signatures and the witnessing of estate planning documents, like Wills and Health Care Proxies. Under NY law, a notary or witness generally needs to be physically present with the signing individual at the time a valid act of notarizing or witnessing takes place.  In recognition of the fact that the pandemic would make physical presence inadvisable or sometimes impossible, relief from the strict requirements of the statutes was granted by Executive Orders that authorized a “virtual” process.

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Joseph S. Brown, Esq.

Hurwitz & Fine's Labor & Employment team is here
to answer your questions:

Labor & Employment Law
Ann E. Evanko, Esq. ([email protected])
Andrea Schillaci, Esq. ([email protected])
Amber E. Storr, Esq. ([email protected])

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