Slightly less than four months ago, on January 30, 2014, an amendment to the already-expansive New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) took effect, requiring NYC employers to provide reasonable accommodations due to an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition. Such accommodations may include, among other things, bathroom breaks, leaves of absence for childbirth-related disabilities, breaks to facilitate increased water intake, periodic rest for those who stand for long periods, and assistance with manual labor.
Employers are reminded that they must distribute, to all existing employees by May 30, 2014 (and to all new hires upon commencement of employment), written notice of the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. In order to facilitate distribution of the notice, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the agency tasked with enforcing the NYCHRL, has created a poster and information card summarizing such rights. And because neither the law nor the Commission specifies the precise form that the notice should take, employers are encouraged to disseminate both the poster and the information card in order to satisfy their obligations. Copies of the poster and information card, in a multitude of dialects, can be found here and here, respectively. Although employers may, but are not required, to display the poster and information card in a visible location in the workplace, this alone will not satisfy the law’s notice provision.
Employers should therefore consult with counsel immediately about the new law, attendant obligations, and any necessary revisions to company policies.