Effective March 17, 2022, the New York State Commissioner of Health has ended the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the New York HERO Act.  As a result, employers are no longer required to enforce their workforce safety plans related to COVID-19.

With the expiration of the designation of COVID-19 under the HERO Act, most private employers in New York (excepting some employers in healthcare and congregate care settings or other high-risk sectors) are now no longer mandated to implement COVID-related safety protocols, such as daily health screenings.  However, New York City private employers are still required to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirements for their employees.

Even when a designation of an airborne infectious disease is not in effect, the HERO Act requires New York employers to:

  • create an airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan (if they have not already);
  • provide a copy of the plan to employees within 30 days after creating one;
  • provide a copy to any new employees upon hire;
  • post the plan in each work site so employees can view it; and
  • update the plan as needed.

Further, as we have previously reported, the HERO Act also requires employers with 10 or more employees to allow employees to “establish and administer a join labor-management workplace safety committee.”  While there is no affirmative obligation for employers to create a workplace safety committee under the Act, covered employers must allow employees to create a committee upon request.  The New York Department of Labor is currently in the process of reviewing public comments to a proposed rule it issued in December 2021 regarding the workplace safety committee requirement, and a final rule is expected sometime in the future.

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Proskauer’s cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus Response Team is focused on supporting and addressing client concerns. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for guidance on risk management measures, practical steps businesses can take and resources to help manage ongoing operations.

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.