***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, the New York State Supreme Court in Nassau County struck down, effective immediately, the State’s COVID-19 mask-or-proof of vaccination requirement for indoor public places, holding that the State Department of Health did not have the legal authority to implement the regulation without the approval of the State legislature.  A hearing before the New York State Appellate Division on a request for stay of the Nassau County court’s ruling has been scheduled for January 25, 2022 and we will provide updates on further developments.

As we originally reported, the now overturned directive took effect on December 15, 2021, through a rule promulgated by the State Commissioner of Health.  Under the directive, all indoor public places were ordered to require masks to be worn by all individuals regardless of vaccination status unless the business or venue required proof of full COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entry. The order was initially effective through January 15, 2022, however Governor Kathy Hochul later extended it through February 1, 2022.

The state court’s ruling has no effect on local mask requirements, including the New York City mask order for schools.  Further, pursuant to the New York State HERO Act, where not all individuals on premises, including but not limited to employees, are fully vaccinated, employers must require employees wear appropriate face coverings in accordance with guidance from the New York State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as applicable.

We will continue to monitor and report on further developments with regard to this ruling and statewide COVID-19 requirements.

Photo of Steven Hurd Steven Hurd

Steve has extensive trial and appellate experience, in both federal and state courts focusing on claims of alleged individual and class discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour violations, FINRA, whistleblowing and retaliation, defamation, fraud, breach of contract, wrongful discharge and other statutory and…

Steve has extensive trial and appellate experience, in both federal and state courts focusing on claims of alleged individual and class discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour violations, FINRA, whistleblowing and retaliation, defamation, fraud, breach of contract, wrongful discharge and other statutory and common law claims. Steve also advises clients on employment litigation avoidance, litigation strategy and alternative forms of dispute resolution.

Steve is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Practice Group and Media & Entertainment Industry Group.

Steve helps his clients stay in compliance with the ever-changing employment regulations with respect to FLSA and state law wage and hour requirements by providing advice and conducting comprehensive audits. Steve conducts investigations pertaining to reductions-in-force and individual employee terminations, and claims of gender, race, national origin, and disability discrimination.

Photo of Evandro Gigante Evandro Gigante

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of…

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, defamation and breach of contract. Evandro also counsels employers through reductions-in-force and advises clients on restrictive covenant issues, such as confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicit agreements.

With a focus on discrimination and harassment matters, Evandro has extensive experience representing clients before federal and state courts. He has tried cases in court and before arbitrators and routinely represents clients before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as state and local human rights commissions.

Photo of Laura Fant Laura Fant

As an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-chair of the Disability, Accommodations & Leave Management Practice Group, Laura Fant frequently counsels on employee leave and accommodation matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act…

As an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-chair of the Disability, Accommodations & Leave Management Practice Group, Laura Fant frequently counsels on 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 provides general employment counseling and has experience reviewing and updating employee handbooks and company policies, as well as providing training on topics such as discrimination and harassment in the workplace, social media, 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.

Photo of Rebecca Fishbein Rebecca Fishbein

Rebecca Fishbein is a law clerk in the Labor & Employment Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group.