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Employee Handbooks - Work Rules - Employee Conduct: New York

Employee Handbooks - Work Rules - Employee Conduct requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Jason Habinsky, Haynes & Boone


  • New York is an employment at-will state. When an employee signs and acknowledges an employee handbook, this does not generally create a contract of employment. The employee can still be terminated at-will. See At-Will Nature of Employment.
  • Employers generally may not discriminate against employees for lawful activities outside of the workplace, including political activities. See Employee Personal Activities Outside of Work.
  • Employers may prohibit dating or sexual fraternization amongst employees. See Employee Personal Relationships.
  • New York employers may not discriminate or retaliate against employees due to their reproductive health decisions. See Reproductive Health Decisions.
  • New York requires employers to accommodate employees who need to express breast milk in the workplace. See Lactation Accommodation.
  • The New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act), requires employers to implement a model infectious disease exposure prevention standard. See New York Health and Essential Rights Act.
  • New York has particularly strict laws banning smoking in the workplace. However, there are no express employment drug or alcohol testing laws in New York, so private and public employers can administer such tests. See Work Rules Concerning Smoking, Alcohol and Drug Use.
  • Private employers should attempt to develop workplace prevention programs as a matter of public safety. See Work Rules on Violence.
  • It is a crime to carry a firearm onto private property unless the owner or lessee has given express consent. See Firearms.
  • New York employers may not mechanically eavesdrop or record an employee's private conversations. See Work Rules on Privacy Rights of Employees.
  • New York employers may establish dress codes for employees so long as they do not violate any of the state's laws prohibiting discrimination. See Work Rules Regulating Employee Dress, Grooming, and Personal Appearance.
  • Employers in New York must provide employees with notice of the employee's pay rate, scheduled pay date, and exempt status. See Work Rules Regarding Employee Work Schedules and Attendance.
  • Numerous types of leave are available to employees in New York that are required by federal, state or local law, and may be affected by an individual employer's policies. See Leaves of Absence.
  • Localities including Albany County, New York City and Westchester County have laws pertaining to work rules. See Local Requirements.