Law and the Workplace
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Laura Fant

Special Employment Law Counsel

As a special employment law counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-administrative leader of the Counseling, Training & Pay Equity Practice Group, Laura Fant frequently counsels on a wide variety of employment matters, including employee leave and accommodation matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and related state and local laws. She also regularly drafts and advises on implementation and enforcement of employment and separation agreements, employee handbooks and company policies, as well as provides training on topics such as discrimination and harassment in the workplace, performance management, and the accommodation of physical and mental disabilities. Laura is a frequent contributor to Proskauer’s Law and the Workplace blog.

Before joining the Firm, Laura was assistant general counsel to the City of New York's Office of Labor Relations. Prior to that, she was law clerk to Judge Jose L. Fuentes of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, and a judicial intern to Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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Sweeping Expansion of Protections Relating to Workplace Discrimination on the Horizon in New York State

A suite of bills aimed at further enhancing protections for both employees and independent contractors regarding discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace are on the horizon in New York State.  Several of these bills, if ultimately enacted, would potentially lead to a groundbreaking shift in how employers approach settlement of discrimination, harassment and retaliation … Continue Reading

Tennessee Expands Employee Protections Relating to COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed into law a bill that expands protections for employees who are subject to employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The new law supplements existing state law that prohibits private employers and other entities from compelling or otherwise taking “adverse action” against a person to compel the person to provide proof of … Continue Reading

EEOC Releases New Guidance on COVID-related Caregiver Discrimination

On March 14, 2022, the EEOC released new guidance regarding caregiver discrimination and the COVID-19 pandemic, in light of many workplaces returning to in-person work. The new guidance supplements earlier guidance regarding the treatment of workers with caregiving responsibilities. The new guidance reiterates that while the status of being a caregiver is not a protected … Continue Reading

Mayor Adams Ends Vaccine Requirements For Indoor Dining, Entertainment and Fitness Venues Under Key to NYC Program

On February 27, 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that he will lift the Key to NYC vaccine requirements for entry to indoor dining, entertainment and fitness venues on March 7, 2022, contingent on COVID-19 indicators continuing to show a low level of risk. As we have previously reported, the Key to NYC … Continue Reading

New York Department of Labor Issues Required Posting for Expanded Whistleblower Protection Law

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) has issued a form of required notice regarding the dramatically expanded whistleblower protections under New York Labor Law § 740 that took effect last month. As we previously reported, the expanded law – which took effect on January 26, 2022 – significantly bolsters protections for private-sector workers … Continue Reading

UPDATED: President Biden Signs Bill Prohibiting Mandatory Arbitration and Class Action Waivers for Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Claims

***UPDATE: President Biden signed the bill into law on March 3, 2022.  The law takes effect immediately.*** Today, the Senate passed H. 4445, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (the “Act”), by a voice vote.  The bill had previously passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 335-97. The … Continue Reading

Governor Hochul Lifts New York State Indoor Mask Mandate

On February 9, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate will expire on February 10, 2022. Governor Hochul noted that while the statewide mandate has been lifted, counties, cities, and individual businesses can elect to continue to voluntarily enforce the mandate or put in place their own masking or other COVID-19 … Continue Reading

New York State Department of Health Provides Self-Attesting Quarantine and Isolation Forms for COVID-19 Quarantine Leave Law Eligibility

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has made available on its website self-attesting quarantine and isolation forms that employees may use to demonstrate eligibility for the state’s COVID-19 quarantine leave law or for other purposes in which they must verify quarantine or isolation for themselves or their child/dependent (such as for return to … Continue Reading

(UPDATED) New York State Court Strikes Down Statewide Mask or Vaccine Requirement for Indoor Public Places

***UPDATE: In a whiplash-inducing turn, on January 25, 2022, the New York State Appellate Division granted a stay of the Nassau County court’s decision pending determination of the State’s appeal.  As such, the mask-or-vaccine requirement remains in effect for the moment.  We will continue to monitor and report on further developments.*** On January 24, 2022, … Continue Reading

OSHA Withdraws Emergency Temporary Standard Mandating Vaccination or Testing/Masking Policies for Employers with 100 or More Employees

On January 25, 2022, OSHA filed a notice withdrawing its Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”).  The ETS had mandated that employers with 100 or more employees require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or to wear face coverings and undergo weekly testing. As we previously reported here, on January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme … Continue Reading

New York City and State Update COVID Quarantine and Isolation Guidance to Align With CDC’s Shortened Timeframes

On January 22, 2022, New York City updated its quarantine and isolation guidance to align with the CDC’s recent shortening of both (i) the recommended timeframe for isolation following a COVID-19 diagnosis for individuals regardless of vaccination status, and (ii) the recommended quarantine period following a COVID-19 exposure for vaccinated individuals. New York State has … Continue Reading

CDC Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Periods for COVID-19 Illness and Exposure

On December 27, 2021, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) updated its guidance regarding quarantine and isolation periods for the general population after testing positive for or being exposed to COVID-19.  The updated guidance shortens the recommended timeframe for isolation following a COVID-19 diagnosis for individuals regardless of vaccination status.  It also shortens … Continue Reading

New York City Council Approves Bill Requiring Including Salary Ranges in Job Postings

***UPDATE: The bill was enacted into law on January 15, 2022 upon no action by the Mayor.  The law takes effect on May 15, 2022.*** The New York City Council has approved a bill that would require NYC employers with four or more employees to include in job postings – including those for promotion or … Continue Reading

New York State Announces Proof of COVID-19 Vaccine or Masking Requirement for All Indoor Public Places

**UPDATE: On January 24, 2022, a Nassau County State Supreme Court struck down this COVID-19 mask or vaccination requirement statewide. Our post on this decision can be found here.** New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that, effective December 13, 2021, masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places in New … Continue Reading

New York City Announces Private Employer COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate and Expansions to Key to NYC Program

***UPDATE: New York City has issued further guidance regarding implementation of the private employer vaccine mandate.  Read more here.*** Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that New York City will become the first major city in the United States to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for private sector workers across industries. The mandate will take effect on … Continue Reading

Florida Issues Emergency Rule and Additional Guidance Regarding Vaccine Mandate Exemption Law

The Florida Department of Legal Affairs has issued an emergency rule and other additional guidance regarding the recently enacted House Bill HB-1B, which, among other things, requires private employers who mandate COVID-19 vaccination in the workplace to recognize additional exemptions from such vaccine requirements beyond what is required under federal law.  The law, which applies … Continue Reading

New York State Enacts Phone, Email, and Internet Monitoring Notice Law for Private Employers

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law a bill that will require employers to provide notice to employees of electronic monitoring of telephone, email, and internet access and usage. The law, which takes effect on May 7, 2022, will require all private employers, regardless of size, with a place of business in New … Continue Reading

Designation of COVID-19 Under New York HERO Act Extended Once Again

***UPDATE: On February 15, 2022, the New York State Commissioner of Health continued the designation of COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease” pursuant to the HERO Act until March 17, 2022. According to the designation, on  March 17, the Commissioner “will review the level of transmission of COVID-19 in New York State and determine … Continue Reading

New York State to Require Certain Private Employers to Automatically Enroll Employees in State Retirement Program

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law a bill that will require certain private employers in the state to automatically enroll their employees in a state-administered retirement savings plan if the employer does not offer its own qualified retirement plan.  The law took effect immediately upon signing on October 21, 2021, though employers … Continue Reading

New York Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Cannabis and the Workplace

The New York State Department of Labor (“NYDOL”) has issued FAQ guidance addressing common questions regarding recreational cannabis use by employees in and outside of the workplace in light of the enactment earlier this year of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (“MRTA”). The MRTA legalized the use of recreational marijuana for individuals ages 21 … Continue Reading

Texas Governor Issues Executive Order Aimed at Prohibiting Vaccine Mandates for Private Employers

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an Executive Order (GA-40) prohibiting the enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Texas against employees and customers of private businesses who object on certain bases, including “personal conscience.” Effective immediately, GA-40 states: “No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee … Continue Reading

D.C. Paid Leave Program Amended to Expand Benefits

Significant changes have arrived for paid medical, parental, and family care leave in Washington, D.C following the recent enactment of the Universal Paid Leave Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (“PLEAA”).  Effective October 1, 2021 (with a minor exception for expanded personal medical leave, discussed below), the PLEAA amends the D.C. Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of … Continue Reading

New York State Issues Updated Model Workplace Safety Plans and FAQ Guidance Under the HERO Act

***UPDATE: On September 30, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor released updated FAQs regarding the HERO Act. Our blog post on this development is available here.*** On September 23, 2021, New York State issued updated model airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans for employer use pursuant to the HERO Act. As we previously … Continue Reading

New York State Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Healthcare Workers

***UPDATE: On September 14, 2021, a New York district court issued an order temporarily blocking New York State from enforcing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate “to the extent it categorically requires health care employers to deny or revoke religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination mandates.”  The temporary restraining order is currently in effect through October 12, 2021.  … Continue Reading
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