Employment-NYC Passes Law Requiring Reasonable Accommodation Of An Employee’s Pregnancy, Childbirth Or Related Medical Condition

The New York City Council has passed a new law which requires NYC employers to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition. The new law applies to an employer with at least 4 employees (including independent contractors). It becomes effective on January 30, 2014. Here is what the new law provides:

Unlawful Discriminatory Practice. It is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to refuse to provide a reasonable accommodation (see definition below) to the needs of an employee for her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition, that will allow the employee to perform the essential duties of the job.

A Reasonable Accommodation. For these purposes, a “reasonable accommodation” is an accommodation that can be made, and does not cause an undue hardship to the employer. The employer has the burden of proving undue hardship. Factors which may be considered to determine whether an undue hardship will exist include, but are not limited to: (1) the nature and cost of the accommodation; (2) the overall financial resources of the facility or the facilities involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodation; the number of persons employed at such facility; the effect on expenses and resources, or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the facility; (3) the overall financial resources of the employer; the overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of its employees, and the number, type, and location of its facilities; and (4) the type of operation or operations of the employer, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of the employer; the geographic separateness, administrative, or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the employer.

Condition of Application. The unlawful discriminatory practice will not arise, unless the employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition is known or should have been known by the employer. In any case in which the need for reasonable accommodation is placed in issue, it will be an affirmative defense of the employer that the employee could not, with reasonable accommodation, perform the essential duties of the job.

Notice of rights. The employer must provide written notice, in a form and manner to be determined by the NYC Commission on Human Rights, of the right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions to: (1) new employees at the commencement of employment and (2) existing employees by May 30, 2014 . This notice may also be conspicuously posted at an employer’s place of business in an area accessible to employees.