NYS Attorney General addresses workplace compliance and safety concerns amid COVID-19 crisis

Local News

NewsChannel 9 has received many calls from viewers about workplace safety and compliance issues amid the COVID-19 crisis. Many of you want to know where do you turn if you have concerns about a company that’s staying open and possibly violating Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order. NewsChannel 9’s Jennifer Sanders spoke with New York State Attorney General Letitia James by phone.


The Attorney General said her office is currently investigating more than 2000 calls surrounding workplace safety and compliance across New York. There have not been any cease and desist letters issued to any business owners because all of them have complied when her office reached out to them. Many of those calls are from people who want to get clarity on if they are essential employees and if their employer is in compliance with Governor Cuomo’s executive order. The governor recently announced a list of essential services including most health care facilities, grocery stores, gas stations and more. The attorney general is working closely with the governor’s office to provide clarity to callers on if their roles are essential if they are working at a business on the governor’s list.


There’s not a regional breakdown available at this time of complaints in the Central New York area. NYS Attorney General James did walk us through the process from the initial call to a potential investigation.

“We are also sending out investigators based on complaints, we are sending our customary informal inquiries and if we can confirm the allegations we are sending out cease and desist orders and there is usually some negotiation. If the business refuses to cease operation or refuses to comply with our directives then we will take action,” said NYS Attorney General James.

Do you have an issue with a business or a concern, call the NYS AG’s Office at (212) 416-8700 or labor.bureau@ag.ny.gov. The attorney general also says her office is cracking down on scammers and businesses that are price-gouging, which includes raising prices on things like hand sanitizer and masks.

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