Representing Victims of Workplace Injuries 

Weitz & Luxenberg represents victims of workplace injuries in New York state. New York has enacted specific laws to protect its workers. 

These special laws include Labor Laws 200, 240, and 241. In particular, Law 240, helps workers injured in construction related accidents.

What Is New York Labor Law 240? 

Construction workers perform some of our country’s most dangerous work. New York recognizes the inherent danger of construction work. The legislature has enacted certain enhanced protections for construction workers in New York state. 

Labor Law Section 240 is also known as the scaffold law. This law addresses the dangers of gravity on a jobsite. Basically, owners and contractors are fully liable when they fail to protect workers on a construction site from gravity related risks. (3)

Law 240 protects workers who are at risk of falls from heights while on the job. This could mean falling from an elevated platform — such as a scaffold or a ladder. Or by getting struck by something falling from above. (4)

Labor Law 240(1) directs all contractors and owners to provide appropriate safety equipment, including: (5)

  • Scaffolding.
  • Hoists.
  • Stays.
  • Ladders.
  • Slings.
  • Hangers.
  • Blocks.
  • Pulleys.
  • Braces.
  • Irons.
  • Ropes. 

These and other devices are supposed to properly protect workers erecting, demolishing, repairing, or altering a building or structure. (6)

If you have suffered an on-the-job-injury from construction equipment, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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What Is New York Labor Law 241? 

Labor Law 241 addresses construction, excavation, and demolition work. Labor Law 241(6) basically says an owner or contractor must provide safeguards at a building or construction site — so workers are protected from potential dangers. This group of regulations is known as the NYCRR. Many specific regulations make up the New York Industrial Code. (7)

The owner of a property where construction is taking place, and the general contractor, can both be sued for the negligent acts of a subcontractor. This is true even if they did not control the work being performed on any given day. They can also be held responsible even if they did not know what the subcontractor’s employees were doing on a day-to-day basis. (8) 

New York State Labor Law 241(6) recognizes the unique risks involved at a construction site. This regulation holds owners and general contractors accountable if they violate certain regulations. (9)

An owner or contractor hires someone — or hires someone to hire someone else. If the person hired violated a labor law regulation, the owner or contractor is responsible if something goes wrong. (10)

What Is New York Labor Law 200? 

Labor Law 200 covers workplaces in general. Basically, employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of employees. This regulation is meant to cover everything about your workplace, including how it is: (11)

  • Constructed.
  • Equipped.
  • Arranged.
  • Operated.
  • Conducted.

Employers must “provide reasonable and adequate protection to the lives, health and safety” of its employees or people “lawfully frequenting such places.” Also, all machinery, equipment, and devices at workplaces must be “operated, guarded, and lighted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to all such persons.” (12)

Potential Limitations to Labor Law 200

There are some potential limitations to Labor Law 200. According to New York law, “Employees are entitled to lawful pay for the work performed, to a safe work environment and to be treated in a non-discriminatory manner.” (13)

But also, “Employers are entitled to their Employees’ full performance of legally assigned duties, timely attendance, and compliance with employment policies and procedures.” An employee “can be disciplined or terminated for not keeping up their side of the bargain.” (14) 

Reporting a N.Y. Labor Law Violation

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Office of Labor Policy & Standards is New York City’s “central resource for workers.” This department protects and promotes “labor standards and policies that create fair workplaces to ensure all workers can realize their rights, regardless of immigration status.” (15)

The department’s website includes an overview of the protections available to New York workers. In addition, the site provides a Workers’ Bill of Rights. (16)

If you believe your employer has violated your rights, contact the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Office of Labor Policy & Standards. You can file a workplace complaint online. (17)

Make sure you save all the documents you have to help make your cases. Medical records, time clock information, witness statements, and police reports can help provide proof of your injury.

How Does Liability Work? 

Employers are responsible for following New York State labor laws. The person who violated your rights can be held responsible if they do not do so.

If this happens, you can file a complaint. Your complaint gets investigated. If found guilty, your employer can be punished.

Suffering from an injury that occurred at a construction site? Contact us to understand your legal rights.

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Retaliation Protection

Employers are not allowed to retaliate against an employee for reporting a labor law violation. Retaliation is when an employer takes an action against an employee and punishes you for: (18)

  • Complaining about labor law violations.
  • Providing information to the Department of Labor.
  • Participating in proceedings at the Department of Labor. 

Depending on the circumstances, retaliation can take many forms, including: (19)

  • Dismissing a worker from employment.
  • Cutting an employee’s work hours.
  • Rescheduling someone’s work hours for less desirable hours.
  • Cutting an employee’s pay.
  • Taking disciplinary action.
  • Supervising an employee more critically or intensively.
  • Demoting or transferring an employee.
  • Assigning more difficult tasks.
  • Withdrawing previously allowed privileges.
  • Threatening an employee with deportation, a lawsuit, or any of the above.

There may be instances where you get injured on the job. But your employer believes you intentionally got hurt or did not follow proper protocol, just to start a claim against them. 

Employers may retaliate in a way to push you to resign. If so, they are violating labor law.

New York Labor Law Penalties

New York Labor laws are complex. Sometimes the first thing to do if you believe your employer has violated New York labor law is file a complaint. 

The appropriate department investigates. Sometimes employers are fined hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sometimes they are given jail time.

In many cases, you want to consult with an attorney. Weitz & Luxenberg always is happy to talk with you and investigate the facts. 

In particular, when it comes to construction accidents, we might be able to assert separate claims both under New York State Labor Law Section 240(1) and New York State Labor Law Section 241(6), and other statues and regulations.

W&L Wins N.Y. Labor Law Lawsuits

Generally, New York law prevents workers from suing their employer. Often, if you are injured at work, you can file a workers compensation claim against your employer’s insurance company. 

The insurance company then covers your medical bills. They may also pay you a portion of any lost wages you may have accrued if you are physically unable to work while recovering from your injury. 

However, in some circumstances, New York State’s Labor Law offers enhanced protections. For example, New York Labor Laws also allow injured workers at a construction site to file additional claims against the job site’s property owner. You can also file a lawsuit against the general contractor who oversaw the project.

Weitz & Luxenberg is often called upon by clients and other law firms to investigate whether, in addition to a workers compensation claim, you can file a third-party lawsuit. If we believe property owners and general contractors at construction sites violated certain sections of the New York State Labor Law, we can file a lawsuit against those negligent parties. 

Attorneys at W&L have won many successful cases for our construction clients. Their employers had to pay for violating New York labor laws.