Legal Analysts

Showing posts with label covid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label covid. Show all posts

Monday, December 13, 2021

Supreme Court Denies Healthcare Workers' Injunction Request on Vaccinate Mandate

The Supreme Court denied an injunctive request by healthcare workers who were required, by regulation, to be vaccinated over dissents by Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito who said the mandate violated The Free Exercise Clause. 

The basis of the request was that the regulation included exemptions for medical reasons, but not for sincere religious beliefs. According to the 20 workers seeking the injunction, "their religion teaches them to oppose abortion in any form, and because each of the currently available vaccines has depended upon abortion-derived fetal cell lines in its production or testing." 

According to New York State, the reason that no religious exemption existed was because no "sanctioned religious exemption from any organized religion" existed and in fact, religions were "encouraging the opposite." 

Interestingly, the Gorsuch dissent explains that his views on a religious exemption aren't absolute. Instead, he explains that "a State might argue, for example, that it has a compelling interest in achieving herd immunity against certain diseases in a population. It might further contend the most narrowly tailored means to achieve that interest is to restrict vaccine exemptions to a particular number divided in a nondiscriminatory manner between medical and religious objectors. With sufficient evidence to support claims like these, the State might prevail." As such, his main issue is allowing for medical related exemptions and not religious exemptions violates The Free Exercise Clause. 

Regardless, the vaccine mandate may be enforced in the healthcare setting moving forward throughout NYS.  As background, the Second Circuit had previously denied the injunction and also permitted the mandate to be enforced.


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

NYS Bill to Allow Unemployment Benefits to Vaccine Refusal Firings

NYS Senator Alexis Weik Sponsored a bill that provides eligibility for unemployment insurance for "unemployment due to such employee's choice not to receive a coronavirus vaccine."

While this bill is nowhere near being enacted, do you agree with the Senator?

Is this bill perpetrating the spread of a deadly virus by empowering people to make stupid decisions that will lead to deaths or is it the right move to support liberty - my body my choice?

You decide - tell your NYS representatives if you support this bill or strongly oppose it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Hiring an At-Home-Teacher for Your Kids? 5 Legal Issues You Will Face

Are schools opening in the fall?

It's looking less likely with each passing day as we are experiencing a national death uptick from COVID and it has invaded Major League Baseball.

Even if schools do open, are you comfortable sending your children?

Maybe you are considering hiring an at-home teacher because you can't possibly continue to work, care for your children and play teacher simultaneously.

Before you do, read our 5-Point Plan to do this legally:

1. Minimum Wage/Overtime/Notice of Pay: Pursuant to the NYS "Domestic Workers Bill of Rights", an at-home teacher must be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked. The current minimum wage for workers on Long Island is $13 an hour. Domestic workers must be paid at a rate of time and a half for all hours worked over forty (40) in a given week. In addition, employers must provide a Notice of Pay Form to the worker at the commencement of employment which includes the employee's regular hourly rate, overtime rate and regular pay day. Employers of domestic workers can face significant damages if they fail to comply with these wage and hour laws, including but not limited to backpay, double damages, and attorneys' fees.

2. Tracking Hours Worked: Even if you pay a domestic worker for all hours worked in accordance with the law, you can still face liability if you do not accurately and contemporaneously track hours worked. If the employer fails to keep contemporaneous records of hours worked (e.g. sign-in sheets), a court will presume that the employee's account of hours worked is accurate.

3. Workers Compensation Insurance: If a domestic worker works forty (40) or more hours per week or lives on-premises (e.g. a live-in nanny who also teaches the kids), the worker must be covered by workers compensation insurance. While coverage is not required if the domestic worker works less than forty (40) hours per week, obtaining a policy, even if not required, is advised because it protects you from a personal injury lawsuit brought by the teacher.

4. Potential Liability for Covid-19 Exposure: Individuals hiring a domestic worker may be exposed to a potential lawsuit if the domestic worker tests positive for Covid-19. While courts have not yet ruled on the admissibility of liability waivers for Covid-19, having a domestic worker sign a waiver that he/she assumes the specific risks associated with exposure to the virus may mitigate exposure. However, gross negligence cannot be waived. Therefore, employers should implement a safety plan including but not limited to: PPE, health screenings, prohibiting people in the house who are symptomatic/have had recent exposure to Covid-19, to mitigate potential liability.

5. Use of Nanny Cams: While use of nanny cams (i.e. video recording a nanny/at-home teacher without his/her consent) is generally permitted under New York State law, nanny cams may not be installed where a nanny has a reasonable expectation of privacy, (e.g. a bathroom or nanny's bedroom). In addition, recording audio, without the consent of at least one party to the conversation, may constitute a felony pursuant to New York State law.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

NY's Eviction Moratorium is Constitutional - Read What Else the Court Tells Us

If you are a NYS landlord, you MUST read the decision from the case Elmsford Apartment Associates LLC v. Cuomo if you want to be on the top of your game.

We aren't going to discuss the results, beyond saying the Court ruled that Governor Cuomo can legally suspend evictions and more during a pandemic.

We focus on these other gems given to us by the Court - Every property investor (landlord, property manager, broker, flipper, etc.) should read and accept this reality before getting into the investment game:
Evicting a tenant – especially a residential tenant – in New York is a slow, cumbersome and extremely tenant-favorable process, especially when compared to analogous procedures in other states.
Governor Cuomo did nothing to impede the commencement of holdover proceedings… Nor does EO 202.28 suspend[] the landlords’ right to initiate a common law breach of contract action in the New York State Supreme Court to redress a tenant’s failure to perform its payment obligations under his or her lease.
Tenants will continue to accrue arrearages, which the landlord will be able to collect with interest once the Order has expired.
One who chooses to engage in a publicly regulated business… by so doing surrenders his right to unfettered discretion as to how to conduct same.
The expected costs of foreseeable future regulation are already presumed to be priced into the contracts formed under the prior regulation
New York landlords do not enjoy a constitutional right to realize a profit from their rental properties – let alone all the profits contemplated in each of their individual rental agreements.
If the tenant uses the security deposit to pay a month’s rent, and the tenancy ends before the deposit is fully replenished, the landlord can obtain a judgment for the amount expended in repairs.
A special shout-out to the eviction explanation -
To secure an eviction warrant from the housing courts, a New York landlord must serve the tenant a notice of nonreceipt of payment, and give the tenant one final chance to pay by making a demand of payment within 14 days. If the landlord is still owed payment after two weeks have passed, he may commence what is known as a summary proceeding by filing a petition in the civil court, returnable by the tenant within 10 days. If the tenant does not respond in ten days, the court may (but rarely does) issue an eviction warrant immediately. However, if the tenant does respond, however, a trial is set for eight days hence. The trial may be adjourned up to ten additional days if the parties so require in order to produce their witnesses. If, after trial, a judgment is entered for the landlord and the court issues a warrant for eviction, the Sheriff must give the tenant 14 days’ notice in writing prior to execution. There are the usual provisions for appeal and stays issue routinely so that non-defaulting tenants are not evicted before their cases are fully reviewed. But even if the evidence supports a judgment for the landlord, the housing court is not required to order the tenant’s immediate eviction. A tenant may obtain a stay of the issuance of the warrant for up to one year by showing that ‘it would occasion extreme hardship to the tenant or the tenant’s family if the stay were not granted’. Such stays are far from uncommon.
Still think that being a landlord is for you?

This hasn't diminished our motivation to invest in real estate, but as the Court makes clear - we respect the rules and adjust our prices / reserves to account for more rules in the future.

Some years there are less rules and other years there are more, but we know that a keen understanding of the rules will make us profitable as property investors.

If you want profitability too, you need to increase your compliance budget immediately and respect the rules of the game because, as you can see, fighting the governor's office is a losing battle.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Are You Ready to Reopen Your Business? Here is Your 5-Step Plan

5-Step Plan to Reopen Your Long Island Business

We are reopening throughout Long Island!

Phase 2 is Wednesday - Are you ready to open your business?  

Reopening isn’t just going back to work – there are 5 steps that businesses must take to open their doors if they want to avoid legal troubles.

Step 1. Review the applicable guidance for reopening & affirm that you will comply.

Each industry has tailored guidelines from NYS DOH, which represents the minimum requirements for you to reopen.
Before you open your doors, you MUST affirm that you have read the guidelines at this link.
Guidance for your industry can be located here.

Step 2. Formulate a business safety plan.

Each business MUST develop a written safety plan to prevent the spread of COVID.

The plan must be retained on the premises of the businesses and made available for inspection by DOH or your local health and safety authorities (zoning) upon request.

The sample plan provided by NYS is 7 pages long and includes a daily mandatory health screening assessment for employees and essential visitors, a requirement to record a log of all those physically present at the premises, cleaning requirements, and much more.

Start writing your plan now in compliance with the law if you plan to reopen.

Step 3. Create logbooks to comply and maintain policies.

You need to create forms to implement your plan. You need the health screening assessment developed, a logbook for cleaning, and a logbook for visitors. These can be inspected by DOH and other authorities so they better exist before you open your doors.

Step 4. Floor markings and PPE.

You are required to provide your entire team with PPE so it’s time to start ordering supplies yesterday. Plus, you need to place signage and floor markings throughout your premises to maintain proper social distancing. So, take out your tape and measuring stick to get going.

Step 5. Craft your message.

Your team and your customers need to understand your plan and how it impacts them, or they won’t follow it. So, you need to create a message, start getting it out there via email and make it available to everyone at your business. This message must explain your safety plan and the new policies that you will enforce for the rest of COVID. Getting buy-in is the key to proper implementation and protecting you from suit and negative PR.

Here is a radio clip with our employment lawyer, Mordy Yankovich, discussing how to comply and protect your business when you are ready to reopen – have a listen - Real Estate Investing with Andrew Lieb 6/7/20 - Seg 3: Advice for Phase 2 Business Owners Reopening.