Putney, Twombly, Hall & Hirson LLP
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New York, NY 10175
Tel: (212) 682-0020


January 15, 2016

NYC Human Rights Law Extends Employment
Protection to Caregivers

On January 5, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a New York City Council bill prohibiting employment discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived status as a “caregiver.” The law will take affect on May 3, 2016. The law amends the New York City Human Rights Law to include caregiver status as a protected category against employment discrimination.

The law defines “caregiver” as a “person who provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or a care recipient.” A care recipient is a “person with a disability” who is either a “covered relative” or a “person who resides in the caregiver’s household” and who “relies on the caregiver for medical care on to meet the needs of daily living.” A “covered relative” is broadly defined as a caregiver’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild, grandparent, child or parent of the caregiver’s spouse or domestic partner, or any individual in a familial relationship with the caregiver.

Take Away for Employers

The NYC law means that employers may not refuse to hire, terminate, or discriminate against an employee with respect to compensation or terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on an employee’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver. Employers should review and update their human resource policies on flexible schedules, leave, and performance management to avoid differential treatment to employees who have caregiver responsibilities. Employers should also be aware that an employers request for FMLA leave may constitute notice to the employee if an employee’s caregiver status.

The Commission has not yet issued formal guidance or institutes rulemaking proceedings regarding the protection afforded to caregivers. As such, it is unclear whether the law requires an affirmative accommodation of caregiver needs. We will keep you apprised of developments.

We remind employers that, while narrower than the protections under the new City law, State law also prohibits discrimination based on “familial status,” which includes prohibiting discrimination against anyone who is pregnant, has a child or is in the process of securing legal custody of a child.

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If you have any questions regarding the caregiver protectors or other job protections under applicable law, please do not hesitate to contact us.