Carlos’ Law —named after Carlo Moncayo, an undocumented worker from Ecuador who was fatally injured when a trench collapsed on him at a worksite in New York City on April 6, 2015,— would raise the minimum fines for companies found criminally liable for a worker’s death to $500,000.00 for felonies and $300,000.00 for misdemeanors.
IMAGE: ADOBE STOCK
Carlos’ Law was proposed for legislation by city councilman Francisco Moya in 2016 and passed the New York General Assembly in 2017. It has been shuffled on and off the state congressional agenda for years, lastly tied up in the code committee before its amended version being moved to the assembly floor and then the senate where the measure passed in January of 2021.
Governor Hochul has been reviewing it in this current legislative session and has asked for input and comment from the concerned constituencies most affected by the passage of the bill into law. It is understood that the governor’s signature is required before the end of this year for it to become NY State law.
The Real Estate Board Of New York (REBNY) expressed their concerns for protecting developers and proposed to eliminate language that could allow interpretation of “supervisors” to include developers where legal liability is involved.
IMAGE LEFT: NYC.GOV - IMAGE RIGHT: BTEA
Carlos’ Law was proposed for legislation by city councilman Francisco Moya (above left) in 2016 and passed the New York General Assembly in 2017. BTEA President Louis Coletti (right) and other organizations in the construction industry are "concerned about the potential impact the legislation will have on Minority and Women-Owned businesses, small contractors, and small businesses," and have urged the Governor to amend Carlos' Law before it’s signed.
In a June 30 letter, BTEA, NAMC, WBC, and MWCDA —organizations representing hundreds of contractors— urge the Governor of NY to amend Carlos’ Law before it’s signed, and they propose the following:
Removing the minimum requirements, which handcuff prosecutors and judges, and threaten to put MWBEs, small contractors, and small businesses out of business.
Including “recklessly” as a standard to avoid drastic fines for companies, which will put them out of business for any misdemeanor or violation related to conduct of any agent, not just a high managerial agent, of a corporation.
Including “serious physical injury” instead of just injury, which is undefined in the penal code.
Clarifying that the bill should apply prospectively.
The Penal Law already allows prosecutors to bring criminal proceedings against a corporation for assault and manslaughter and they have shown their willingness to do so where the facts determine they do so. The language that makes a corporation strictly liable for actions that are in relation to a crime involving the death or injury of a worker is unnecessary and should be stricken.
As Louis Coletti, president of the BTEA, says in a recent Op-Ed in the Gotham Gazette, “in trying to solve the very real problem of having an ineffectual law on the books, legislators have gone too far in the other direction. If Carlos’ Law is signed by Governor Hochul without being adjusted, it will have a punitive effect on contractors in the state, putting New York, and its $40 billion per year construction trade, at further risk of a recession.”