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New York City Pregnancy Discrimination Law Becomes Effective on January 30: Are You Prepared?

January 17, 2014

Employers in New York City are reminded to prepare for a new addition to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), effective January 30, which requires employers with four or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and employees with pregnancy- or childbirth-related medical conditions. Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the bill into law in October 2013.

Examples of reasonable accommodations listed in the statute include “bathroom breaks, leave for a period of disability arising from childbirth, breaks to facilitate increased water intake, periodic rest for those who stand for long periods of time, and assistance with manual labor.” 

The term “reasonable accommodation” is defined by the NYCHRL as an accommodation that will not cause undue hardship to the employer’s business. The employer has the burden of proving undue hardship. Some factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of an accommodation include: 

  • nature and cost of the accommodation
  • financial impact of the accommodation on the employer
  • impact upon the operation of the facility
  • overall size of the employer
  • number of employees
  • type of operation or operations of the employer 

Employers must provide written notice of the right to be free from discrimination based on pregnancy and pregnancy- and childbirth-related medical conditions to new employees upon their hiring and to existing employees within 120 days after the effective date of law (May 30). Employers must also conspicuously post a notice of the rights contained within this law in an area accessible to employees.

For more information about how this case may impact your business, contact: