New York Workers' Compensation Law Section 141-A - Civil enforcement.

141-a. Civil enforcement. 1. To investigate violations of sections fifty-two, one hundred thirty-one and two hundred thirteen of this chapter, the chair or his or her designees shall have the power to:

(a) Enter and inspect any place of business at any reasonable time for the purpose of investigating employer compliance.

(b) Examine and copy business records.

(c) Administer oaths and affirmations.

(d) Issue and serve subpoenas for attendance of witnesses or production of business records, books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, and other records. Such subpoenas may be served without the state on any defendant over whom a New York court would have personal jurisdiction under the civil practice law and rules as to the subject matter under investigation, provided the information or testimony sought bears a reasonable relationship to the subject matter under investigation.

2. The chair shall specify by rule the business records that employers must maintain and produce to comply with this section.

3. If a person has refused to obey a subpoena, the chair may commence an action in supreme court of any county where venue is proper for an order requiring compliance with the subpoena. Costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, incurred by the chair to obtain and enforce an order granting, in whole or in part, a petition to enforce a subpoena shall be taxed against the subpoenaed party.

4. (a) Whenever the chair determines that an employer who is required to secure compensation in accordance with this chapter has failed to secure such compensation, or where an employer has failed to pay penalties assessed against it pursuant to this chapter, or failed to pay a judgment under section twenty-six of this chapter within ninety days after notice to the employer and has not moved to modify or vacate such judgment, such failure shall be deemed an immediate serious danger to public health, safety, or welfare sufficient to justify service by the chair of a stop-work order on the employer, requiring the cessation of all business operations effective immediately, except where the employer's failure concerns only domestic or child care workers in his or her own household. The chair may issue such order, which shall take effect as to a particular employer worksite when served at that worksite, or as to all employer worksites in the state for which the employer is not in compliance when served on the employer. A stop-work order may be served with regard to an employer's worksite by posting a copy of the stop-work order in a conspicuous location at the worksite. The order shall remain in effect until the chair directs that the stop-work order be removed, upon a determination that the employer has come into compliance with the coverage requirements of this chapter and has paid any penalty assessed under this chapter. If the employer shall within thirty days after notice of the stop-work order make an application in affidavit form for a redetermination review of such order the chair shall make a decision in writing on the issues raised in such application. The chair may direct a conditional release from a stop-work order upon a finding that the employer has complied with coverage requirements of this chapter and has agreed to remit periodic payments of the penalty pursuant to a payment agreement schedule with the chair. If an agreement or order of conditional release is issued, failure by the employer to meet any term or condition of such payment agreement shall result in the immediate reinstatement of the stop-work order and the entire unpaid balance of the penalty shall become immediately due. The chair may require an employer who is found to have failed to comply with the coverage requirements of this chapter to file with the board, as a condition of release from a stop-work order, periodic reports for a probationary period that shall not exceed two years, and that demonstrate the employer's continued compliance with this chapter. The board shall by rule specify the reports required and the time for filing under this subdivision.

(b) A stop-work order issued against an employer under this section shall be in effect against any non-compliant substantially-owned affiliated entity.

5. The chair may file a complaint in the supreme court of any county where venue is proper: (a) to enjoin any employer from violating a stop-work order; or (b) to enjoin any other practice prohibited by section fifty-two or one hundred thirty-one of this chapter. In any action brought by the chair pursuant to this section in which it prevails, the court may award costs, including the reasonable costs of investigation and reasonable attorneys' fees.

6. Any judgment obtained by the chair and any penalty due under this section shall, until collected, constitute a lien upon the entire interest of the employer, legal or equitable, in any property, real or personal, tangible or intangible; however, such lien is subordinate to claims for unpaid wages and any prior recorded liens, and a lien created by this section is not valid against any person who, subsequent to such lien and in good faith and for value, purchases real or personal property from such employer or becomes the mortgagee on real or personal property of such employer, or against a subsequent attaching creditor, unless, with respect to real estate of the employer, a notice of the lien is recorded in the public records of the county where the real estate is located, and with respect to personal property of the employer, the notice is recorded with the secretary of state.

7. In any court proceedings under this section, the chair shall be represented by the attorney general.

Last modified: February 3, 2019