New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) signed a city council bill (Int. No. 0108-2014-A) on Jan. 5, which expanded the protections of the New York City Human Rights Law against employment discrimination to include “caregiver status” as a protected category. The bill prohibits any employee or job candidate who “provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or a care recipient” from being subject to adverse employment actions by employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations (and any employees or agents of such entities) because of his/her status (or perceived status) as a caregiver. A “minor child” is one who is under the age of 18 and a “care recipient” is defined as “a person with a disability who: (i) is a covered relative, or a person who resides in the caregiver’s household; and (ii) relies on the caregiver for medical care or to meet the needs of daily living.”

While the city commission has the authority to expand or clarify what constitutes a “covered relative” under the law, the current definition includes: the caregiver’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild or grandparent, the child or parent of a spouse or domestic partner, or any other individual in a familial relationship with the caregiver. The bill also clarifies that the term “parent” includes biological, foster, step-or adoptive parents; a legal guardian of the caregiver; or a person who stood in loco parentis when the caregiver was a minor child. Likewise, the term “sibling” refers to brothers and sisters, half-siblings, step-siblings and siblings related through adoption; and a “child” means a biological, adopted or foster child, a legal ward, or a child of a caregiver standing in loco parentis. “Domestic partners” are defined as those individuals who have a domestic partnership registered in accordance with particular New York City code or executive ordinance provisions.

The new law will take effect 120 days from enactment, and the city commission on human rights is authorized to take any necessary actions prior to such time, such as the adoption of any new rules deemed necessary to effectuate/implement the law.