New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoes bill requiring New York nonprofits to create and implement workplace violence prevention programs

December 10, 2015

Employment Law Alert

Author(s): Anita L. Pelletier, Michael J. Cooney

We previously reported that the New York legislature passed a bill requiring New York nonprofits to create and implement workplace violence prevention programs. At the time, Governor Andrew Cuomo was expected to sign the bill into law. In a surprising reversal, Governor Cuomo recently vetoed the proposed bill. The law would have extended a requirement, which was implemented in 2006 for all public sector employers, to all New York nonprofit corporations that receive at least 50% of their funding from municipal, state or federal government sources, including Medicare or Medicaid.

The governor’s veto memorandum cited “significant flaws” with the current bill. First, the governor noted that the bill excludes for-profit organizations that receive a majority of their funding from government sources from having to create and implement workplace violence prevention programs, thereby “inequitably target[ing] not-for-profit organizations that already have significant resource allocation restraints.” Second, the governor observed that “the Department of Labor (DOL) has no mechanism to identify and track which not-for-profits receive at least 50% of their funding from government sources. Without such a mechanism, DOL cannot identify which entities should be targeted for education, compliance, or enforcement.” Finally, the governor also indicated that “administering and implementing the bill’s requirements would impose a significant fiscal [burden] on the State Budget.”

The governor’s decision to veto the proposed law is a positive development for New York non-profits, many of which are already struggling to deal with a significant increase in regulation from the state. The veto may indicate a renewed awareness of the power of the state to encourage or impede the valuable work of the nonprofit sector.

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