NYS Legislature Holds Hearing on Sexual Harassment
For the first time in 25 years, the NYS Senate and Assembly held a joint hearing on sexual harassment. The majority of the testimony from the 11-hour hearing focused on instances of sexual harassment within the NYS legislature and how the state government can take steps to better protect their employees.

There was also a lengthy discussion surrounding the new mandatory sexual harassment training that the State passed last year. Commissioner of the Department of Labor, Roberta Reardon, began the day in front of the legislature answering questions about the training and how it will be enforced. The Commissioner acknowledged that the Department of Labor is responsible for the education of the employers to ensure they are properly instituting the training, while some aspects of enforcement are still being determined.

REMINDER: All employees must complete sexual harassment prevention training by 10/9/19. NYSRA has worked with ServSafe to offer training for restaurant employees that is cost-effective and satisfies NYS and NYC requirements. NYSRA members get a 15% discount on ServSafe products. For more information and to order click here .

NYC Council to Introduce Legislation that Impacts the Restaurant Industry
Yesterday, two new proposals were submitted that are likely to affect the food service industry, and both were accompanied by press events during the day.

At the Williamsburg store Package Free, Councilman Rafael Espinal held a press conference regarding Int. 1407, which he is sponsoring. This proposal would require the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, in conjunction with the Department of Health, to periodically conduct environmental and economic feasibility studies for substitutes of single-use plastics used in food service (ie. utensils, plates, containers, cups, etc.). If there is determined to be a feasible substitute, this proposal would mandate the Commissioner to ban the use of the plastic product. Details on what the economic feasibility study would consist of are still being worked through and we plan on talking with the Councilman to gain further insight in the near future.

Later in the afternoon, there was a rally on the steps of City Hall in favor of two proposals, Ints. 1415 and 1396, co-sponsored by Council Members Adrienne Adams and Brad Lander. The first would require fast-food employers to provide “just-cause” in writing, to any employee that is let go or has their hours reduced by more than 15%. The second would require fast food employers to prove “bonafide economic reason” before proceeding with layoffs, and to lay off employees based on inverse-seniority - rather than an evaluation of quality, performance, or necessity. At the rally were various other proponents, including 32BJ, The Center for Popular Democracy, and the National Employment Law Project. Council Members Lancman, Eugene, Rosenthal, Treyger, Kallos, and Espinal all attended, and made statements in favor of the legislation.

NYSRA sees these proposals as a major overstep of New York State labor law, and intends to challenge them vigorously .

Suffolk County Introduces Legislation on Single-Use Straws and Polystyrene
A growing trend in many counties around the State is the introduction of legislation surrounding bans on single use plastic straws and foam carryout containers. Suffolk County is the latest region to introduce bills dealing with these issues and the Association is monitoring the progress of both bills closely.
  • Single-use plastic straws – the bill would prohibit these at restaurants except for customers with a disability or medical condition. Single-use straws instead would have to be made out of biodegradable material, like paper.
  • Polystyrene – this legislation would ban restaurants and other food service establishments from having takeout containers made of polystyrene. The bill also would prohibit the sale of foam peanut packaging material.
NYSRA Compliance Hotline
833.682.6411 | advocate@nysra.org