September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019

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New York Revises Employment Protections for Domestic Violence Victims, Adds Accommodation Obligations

New York has amended its Human Rights Law to expand protection from employment discrimination for victims of domestic violence.

Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on August 20, 2019, the new law amends the New York State Human Rights Law with respect to victims of domestic violence. It also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations. The new law will become effective on November 18, 2019.

Victim of Domestic Violence

A “victim of domestic violence” is defined as any person who is older than 16, married, or a parent accompanied by the parent’s minor child in a situation where the person or their minor child is the victim of an act committed by a family or household member that would violate the penal law. The act must have resulted in actual physical or emotional injury or created a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm to the person or their child.

Unlawful Discriminatory Practices

It will be an unlawful discriminatory practice for employers to:

  • Refuse to hire or employ someone because they are a victim of domestic violence;

  • Terminate someone because they are a victim of domestic violence;

  • Discriminate against a victim of domestic violence with respect to compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of their employment;

  • Print or circulate a statement, advertisement, or publication that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination about someone’s status as a victim of domestic violence; or

  • Use an employment application or make an employment inquiry that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination about someone’s status as a victim of domestic violence.

Reasonable Accommodations

Employers will be required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are known to be victims of domestic violence who must be absent from work for a reasonable time, unless such accommodation would pose an “undue hardship” on the employer’s business.

Covered employees may take reasonable time off:

  • To seek medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence, including for a child who is the victim of domestic violence;

  • To obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center as a result of domestic violence;

  • To obtain psychological counseling related to an incident or incidents of domestic violence, including for a child who is the victim of domestic violence;

  • To participate in safety planning or other action taken to increase safety from future incidents of domestic violence (e.g., temporary or permanent relocation); or

  • To obtain legal services, assist in the prosecution of an offense, or appear in court related to an incident of domestic violence.

The time off may be charged against any paid time off to which the employee may be entitled. If the employee has no available paid time off (such as vacation), the time off may be treated as unpaid time.

Notice

The new law requires employees to provide their employers with reasonable advance notice, if possible.

Employees who must be absent from work without advance notice must provide a certification of the need for an accommodation when requested by the employer.

Other Provisions

The law also addresses existing collective bargaining agreements, employee handbooks or policies, and continuation of health insurance coverage.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019

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Joseph J. Lynett, Jackson Lewis, educational institutions lawyer, disabled students litigation attorney
Principal

Joseph J. Lynett is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on assisting employers, businesses, and educational institutions in meeting the legal and practical challenges posed by federal and state laws protecting injured and ill employees, as well as disabled students and members of the public.

Mr. Lynett defends employers, business and educational institutions in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies, including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity...

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Richard Greenberg, Jackson Lewis, workplace grievances lawyer, arbitrations litigation attorney
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Richard Greenberg is a Principal in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He advises both unionized and union-free clients on a full-range of labor and employee relations matters.

With respect to traditional labor matters, Mr. Greenberg represents clients in collective bargaining negotiations, labor disputes, grievances and arbitrations, proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, and in state and federal court. Mr. Greenberg also advises clients on the legal aspects of remaining union-free. With respect to employee relations matters, Mr. Greenberg has extensive experience assisting clients in numerous industries with the development and maintenance of personnel policies and personnel infrastructures. In this regard, Mr. Greenberg often works on these issues with clients as business needs and culture change as a result of business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions.

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Arin Liebman Employment Lawyer Jackson Lewis Law FIrm
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Arin M. Liebman is an Associate in the White Plains, NY office of Jackson Lewis, P.C. She advises and represents employers in a broad range of employment law matters.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Mrs. Liebman was a law clerk for the Honorable Lisa Perez-Friscia of the New Jersey Superior Court, Civil Division, in Bergen County, New Jersey and a law clerk for the Honorable Jeannie J. Hong of the Baltimore City Circuit Court in Baltimore, Maryland.

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