The New York state Labor Department will start to monitor stronger protections for warehouse workers in the state, including mandates they quickly receive data about their work speed and company-set quotas after legislation took effect Monday.
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Warehouse Worker Protection Act in December, which requires distribution centers to disclose work performance data to current and former employees and to the state. The bill, passed during last year's legislative session, also protects workers from being fired or disciplined for failing to meet required quotas, or performance rules including not allowing breaks mandated under state labor law or being forced to work through meals.
"New York's warehouse workers deserve to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect and we are making a significant stride toward achieving that," Hochul said in a statement Monday. "I was proud to sign the Warehouse Worker Protection Act to address unreasonable work quotas and provide warehouse workers with protections from retaliation by their employers. With this legislation now in effect, we are holding firm to our commitment to ensure fairer and safer workplaces for all New Yorkers."
Employees can request information about their personal performance and quota at any time under the new law, and must receive the information from their employer within 14 calendar days. The changes also protect against retaliation for requesting the information or a company limiting employees' use of restroom facilities to make quota.
The bolstered protections apply to warehouse distribution centers, or a company classified as warehousing and storage, merchant wholesalres, electronic shopping and mail-order houses and couriers and express delivery services. It excludes farm product warehousing and storage, according to the governor's office.
"Our warehouse workers play a significant role in keeping our supply chain moving, and they deserve to be treated fairly and equitably," state Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said in a statement. "I thank Gov. Hochul and the Legislature for putting the Warehouse Worker Protection Act in place to ensure these workers are not taken advantage of and are given the protections they deserve."
Employees who suspect their employer is in violation of the new protections should request information about their required quota in writing and 90 days of data about their personal work speed, comparable aggregate work speed data for employees in similar positions, according to Hochul's office.
"Warehouse workers suffer serious work-related injuries at a rate more than twice the average for all private industries," said state AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento. "These workers routinely spend entire shifts speeding through tasks in an attempt to meet quotas mandated by their employers, all too often suffering musculoskeletal and repetitive stress injuries as a result. The Warehouse Worker Protection Act provides long overdue limits to protect warehouse workers from inhumane quotas, and to protect them from retaliation for asserting their rights under this law."
To report a violation of this law, email email@example.com.