Governor Cuomo signed a legislation yesterday that will help protect employees from unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices. The legislation will protect employees through a multi-agency task force, which will address and investigate all issues discovered by complaints made directly to the State. The task force will also rely on referrals from advocacy organizations. The employees most likely to be affected by this legislation are those that have been victims of wage theft; human trafficking; retaliation; unsafe or unsanitary working conditions; unstable or unscheduled hours; and illegal deductions for supplies, training or uniforms. The joint task force will investigate and focus on abuse and exploitation of day laborers, farm, domestic, and restaurant and car wash workers in New York.
“If there is a state that is going to take a stand against worker exploitation, it is New York,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York offers a promise that our arms and hearts are open to those who come here to work and build a better future for them—and we will not tolerate worker exploitation,” he added. According to Cuomo, this issue “is not a Democratic or a Republican issue—it’s what we believe, and together we’re going to make this a reality.
The enforcement efforts will focus on the industries with the highest rates of employer non-compliance, and the industries in which workers are least likely to come forward for fear of retaliation. Cuomo demonstrated his support for immigrant workers by stating, “we celebrate immigration and we demand you respect the human dignity of workers and immigrants.”