Scope of Displaced Building Workers Protection Act Expanded

June 2016

New York City recently amended the Displaced Building Service Workers Protection Act (the “DBSWPA”), which was adopted in 2002. The DBSWPA required successor building owners, managers and contractors to offer employment to its predecessor’s part-time and full-time building service employees for a 90-day period.

The new revisions significantly expands the original law. Since employees who are terminated in violation of the DBSWPA have a private right of action, and can seek injunctive and monetary relief including back pay, benefits, attorney fees and costs, appropriate care should be taken to make sure that issues raised by the DBSWPA are addressed in every real estate transaction.

Original Scope of DBSWPA

As originally enacted, the DBSWPA applied to all successor building owners, managers and contractors, except owners and managers of (i) residential buildings with less than 50 units, (ii) commercial office, institutional or retail buildings with less than 100,000 square feet, or (iii) buildings in which the City of New York occupied more than 50% of the rentable square footage of the building.

The DBSWPA also excluded coverage for (i) managerial and supervisory employees, (ii) employees earning more than $25 per hour and (iii) employees scheduled to work less than eight hours per week at a building. In addition, while the DBSWPA generally applies to both union and non-union employees, a successor employer is exempt from the DBSWPA if the successor assumes or agrees to be bound by a collective bargaining agreement that provides terms and conditions for laying off employees.

To assist the successor employer with its obligations, the DBSWPA requires that predecessor employers provide the successor with a detailed list of employees 15 days before the successor assumes control of the operations.

DBSWPA Scope Now Significantly Expanded:

On May 10, 2016, the scope of the DBSWPA was expanded:

  • In addition to building owners, managers and contractors, “covered employers” now include commercial lessees and tenants with more than 35,000 square-feet of space.
  • The exemption for buildings in which the New York City government leased more than 50% of the space in a building has been eliminated.
  • Security officers and fire safety director job titles are now explicitly covered by the DBSWPA.
  • The salary cap for building service employees covered by the DBSWPA is increased from $25 per hour to $35 per hour.

For more information on the DBSWPA, please contact:

Belinda G. Schwartz at +1 212 592 1544 or [email protected]
Fred R. Green at +1 212 592 5910 or [email protected]

© 2016 Herrick, Feinstein LLP. This alert is provided by Herrick, Feinstein LLP to keep its clients and other interested parties informed of current legal developments that may affect or otherwise be of interest to them. The information is not intended as legal advice or legal opinion and should not be construed as such.