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New York City Now Requires Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers

On October 2nd, Mayor Bloomberg signed into law an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law requiring employers with four or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers.  The legislation, which was earlier passed unanimously by the New York City Council, becomes effective in January 30, 2014.

According to the Council’s legislative findings accompanying the amendment, reasonable accommodations for an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition may include “bathroom breaks, leave for a period of disability arising from childbirth, breaks to facilitate increased water intake, periodic rest for those who stand for long periods of time, and assistance with manual labor.”  Provided that an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition is known or should have been known to the employer, the employer must provide an accommodation unless it can demonstrate either that: (i) the accommodation would impose an “undue hardship” on the employer’s business; or (ii) the employee could not perform the essential requisites of the job even with the accommodation.

Significantly, employers will also be required to provide a written notice to both existing and newly hired employees concerning their pregnancy-related rights.  This notice will be developed by the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Conclusion

The amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law will provide additional protections to pregnant workers as neither Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, nor the New York State Human Rights Law explicitly require employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant workers beyond certain pregnancy-related disabilities.  In light of this new legislation, employers with operations in New York City should ensure that their reasonable accommodation policies reflect the amendments to the City Human Rights Law. Employers should also train managers and human resources personnel to recognize and effectively respond to requests for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy.

Copyright © 2020, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume III, Number 276

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Christopher J. Collins, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm, Labor Law Attorney
Partner

Christopher Collins is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's New York office.

Areas of Practice

For more than 20 years, Chris has represented management clients in litigation alleging employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, as well as cases involving non-compete agreements and compensation disputes.  In litigated matters, he has represented clients in a wide range of fields, including financial services, insurance, technology,...

212-634-3089
Jonathan Sokolowski, Labor and Employment Legal Specialist, Sheppard Mullin
Associate

Jonathan Sokolowski is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's New York office.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Sokolowski's practice focuses on Labor and Employment matters, including client counseling and litigation. In particular, he has experience defending employers against single plaintiff and class action wage/hour and discrimination claims, drafting employment, severance, non-compete, and non-solicitation agreements, as well as drafting employee handbooks in compliance with state and federal law. Mr. Sokolowski also conducts discrimination and harassment prevention trainings as well as investigations into harassment allegations and other employment matters.

212-634-3047