July 22, 2019

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New York City Releases Model Lactation Room Policies

As we previously reported, pursuant to a recent amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law, covered employers must now develop and implement a written policy regarding the provision of a lactation room, to be distributed to all new employees upon hire.  Among other requirements, the policy must include a statement that employees have the right to request a lactation room, as well as identify a process by which employees can make such a request.

To that end, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) has launched a new website on Lactation Accommodations that includes, among other things, model policies and a model request form that may be used by employers to satisfy their requirements under the new law. The website also includes FAQs on the new requirements, as well as a “What NYC Employers Need to Know” document, which provide information about the rights and basic needs of employees who need to pump and/or express breast milk.

The following policies are available for download:

  • A policy for workplaces with dedicated lactation room(s);
  • A policy for workplaces with a multi-purpose room, other than a restroom, that may be used as a lactation room; and
  • A policy for workplaces with no available space for a lactation room.

The model policies include a notice and discussion obligation that is not expressly set forth in the law. It would obligate employers to resend the policy to employees before their return from parental leave to request information regarding their need for a reasonable accommodation to express breast milk at work. The policies also make clear that while employers have up to five business days to respond to a request for a lactation accommodation, they should respond “as quickly as possible.”

Employers are not required to adopt the City’s model policies and request form. The documents, however, are indicative of what the agency will find acceptable and compliant in the event of a complaint or investigation. As always, Proskauer attorneys are available to answer questions regarding these new developments.

© 2019 Proskauer Rose LLP.

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About this Author

Allan Bloom, Litigation Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law Firm
Partner

Allan Bloom is an experienced trial lawyer who represents management in a broad range of employment and labor law matters. He has successfully defended a number of the world’s leading financial services, investment management, technology, consumer products, telecommunications, publishing, insurance, construction, and lodging companies, as well as global law firms and cultural institutions, against claims for unpaid wages, employment discrimination, breach of contract, and wrongful discharge, both at the trial and appellate court levels.

212.969.3880
Arielle Kobetz, Proskauer Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney
Associate

Arielle Kobetz is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. She assists employers in a wide range of areas, including discrimination, wage and hour, and traditional labor.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Arielle served as a law clerk at the New York City Human Resources Administration, Employment Law Unit, where she worked on a variety of employment discrimination and internal employee disciplinary issues. 

212-969-3304