New Legal Protections for New York Warehouse Workers

 In Employment Law, Overtime Law, Wage Law

New York Warehouse Workers Get More Legal Protections

In December 2022, New York passed a new law giving additional legal protections to workers in warehouses and distribution/fulfillment centers. The new law is called the New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act (“WWPA”). The New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act will take effect on February 19, 2023. See here for the text of the law.

New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act

According to the Legislative Findings set out at the beginning of the new law, the New York Legislature’s intent was to protect workers who were subject to employer-mandated quantity quotas. That is, an employer would require a given warehouse worker to handle or process X number of packages or products per specific time period, often measured down to the minute or second. Generally, these types of employer practices punish workers who fail to meet their processing quotas. The definition of “quota” in the New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act is actually a bit broader and includes work conditions where a worker’s tasks are measured by “time performing task” vs. “time not performing task” and failure to complete a task in the prescribed time results in termination or other “adverse impact.” These types of quota metrics result in underpayment for workers and health/safety dangers, including:

  • Workers who fail to meet their quotas are often paid less — this means potential minimum wage violations
  • To avoid being terminated, workers may feel the need to engage in unclocked work to meet their quotas — this leads to workers being underpaid
  • Workers fail to be given proper rest, meal, and bathroom breaks which are violations of NY labor laws
  • Workers must work so quickly that it can become difficult to comply with safety guidelines — this endangers workers and their co-workers
  • Workers struggle to recover from such strenuous activity, leaving them vulnerable to post-work risks of injury and illness
  • Workers struggle to recover between work shifts/days, leaving them and their co-workers more vulnerable to injuries in the next work shift/day

The New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act aims to combat these pernicious employer practices by first requiring notice. Starting February 19, 2023, employers will be required to provide written notice to employees of the productivity quotas that must be met. The notice must specify the production quotas, and adverse consequences for failing to meet the quota and must be provided at least two days in advance of any change in the quota. The New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act applies to any company with 100+ workers at one site or 500+ workers at multiple warehouse distribution/fulfillment centers.

In addition, the New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act states that a worker “shall not be required to meet a quota that has not been disclosed…” Further, a worker “shall not” be required to meet a quota that “… prevents compliance with meal or rest periods or use of bathroom facilities, including reasonable travel time to and from bathroom facilities.” The New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act also bans an employer from retaliating against workers for exercising their rights under the New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act.

The Employee Rights Lawyers and Wage & Hour Litigators here at Herrmann Law applaud the new law, although we think that the New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act did not go far enough. The New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act could have provided even more protections for New York warehouse workers.

Call the Employee Rights Attorneys at Herrmann Law Today

For more information, call the Employee Rights attorneys at Herrmann Law. If you think that your employer has violated your rights as an employee, call us. We are proven, experienced, employee-focused attorneys representing workers across the United States, including workers in New York, in all types of workplace disputes. Use our Online Contact page or call us at (817) 479-9229. We are more than just a law firm for employees – we are an employee’s fiercest advocate, equipping employees with the legal representation needed to achieve the best result possible.


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