On October 2, 2013, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law an amendment to the city’s Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), expanding the scope of the pregnancy discrimination protections provided under the law. Although discrimination on the basis of an employee’s pregnancy has long been prohibited under the NYCHRL, as well as under state and federal law, the new amendment makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse to reasonably accommodate “the needs of an employee for her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”
The new law goes into effect on January 30, 2014, and requires employers to provide written notice to current employees and to new employees at the time of hire of their “right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.”
New York City’s new law follows closely on the heels of Maryland’s expansion of its pregnancy discrimination law. The Maryland statute -- which went into effect on October 1, 2013 -- also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who give notice of a disability “caused or contributed to by pregnancy.” Maryland and New York City now join a handful of other jurisdictions -- including California, Hawaii, and Louisiana -- that require employers to reasonably accommodate the restrictions of pregnant workers.