Enhanced Workplace Protections for Domestic Violence Victims

Employment and Labor Law Tip of the Month

Effective November 18, 2019, amendments to the New York State Human Rights Law will provide enhanced protections to employees who are victims of domestic violence. In particular, unless an employee’s absence would create an “undue hardship,” New York employers will be required to provide employees with reasonable time off as an accommodation to obtain domestic violence-related medical treatment, psychological counseling, or legal services. Further, the amendments make it unlawful to: (i) discriminate against a domestic violence victim with respect to compensation, or terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; (ii) use an employment application or otherwise make an inquiry about prospective employment expressing any limitation, specification, or discrimination about an individual’s domestic violence victim status, or (iii) decline to hire, or to terminate, an individual on account of being a domestic violence victim. Employers must once again update their policies and carefully train their human resources professionals so as to comply with, and avoid disputes regarding, these newly enhanced protections.

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