On December 23, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation establishing Carlos’ law. Named after Carlos Moncayo, a 22 year old construction worker who was killed while working at a construction site in New York City, Carlos’ law seeks to provide greater protections to employees by holding employers accountable for maintaining a safe work environment.
With this new legislation, a corporation is guilty of criminal corporate liability for the death or injury of an employee when the employer negligently, recklessly, intentionally or knowingly causes the death of one of its employees on the job.
Carlos’ law was initially written in 2016. The law passed the New York Assembly in 2017 and was supported by a majority of Senate Democrats. Nevertheless, it took until 2022 for it to become law.
Carlos Moncayo was an Ecuadorean immigrant working at a construction site in New York City’s meatpacking district. He died on the job site in the collapse of an unreinforced 13 foot deep trench which had been cited by safety inspectors. The company responsible for safety at the site had ignored safety warnings for months.
Following the accident that took Moncayo’s life, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the employer approximately $10,000 for its negligence. This was the maximum possible fine. Eventually, the employer was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree, criminally negligent homicide, and reckless endangerment. This level of punishment against a contractor was unusual in the industry. Despite these criminal convictions, the Moncayo family did not receive any compensation.
With the passage of Carlos’ law at the end of last year, the New York State Penal Law now allows a fine of up to $500,000, a very significant increase from the $10,000 maximum fine applicable at the time of Carlos Moncayo’s death.
To read the press release issued by Governor Hochul’s office, visit https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-establishing-carlos-law#:~:text=Governor%20Kathy%20Hochul%20today%20signed,fine%20of%20up%20to%20%24500%2C000.