NYC Human Rights Law Expanded to Cover Caregivers by Scott Matthews

Monday, June 20, 2016

As of May 4, 2016, job applicants and employees who have caregiving responsibilities are specifically covered by the New York City Human Rights Law. The New York City Commission on Human Rights has issued guidance concerning the law's application prohibiting employers from discriminating against job applicants or employees who have caregiving responsibilities.

A. Who Qualifies?

Under this new provision, job applicants or employees cannot be discriminated against if:

  • They are a parent with a child under the age of 18, including adopted or foster children, and provide direct and ongoing care for that child; or
  • They provide direct and ongoing care to a parent, sibling, spouse, child (of any age), grandparent, or grandchild with a disability or a person with a disability who lives with them, and that person relies on them for medical care or to meet their needs of daily living.
B. What is Covered?

New York City deems caregiver discrimination as employment decisions based on caregiver status, including deciding not to hire or promote someone because he or she is a caregiver or is believed to be a caregiver of someone who has a disability. Employers cannot refuse to hire, fire, or otherwise discriminate against job applicants or employees in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of their caregiving responsibilities. Employers also cannot provide certain benefits, such as flexible scheduling, to some employees and refuse to provide the same benefits to employees who request them because of their caregiving responsibilities. Significantly, however, employers are not required to offer accommodations to employees because of their caregiving responsibilities if they do not offer such accommodations to other, non-caregiving, employees. Thus, employers are not required to change an employee's hours to allow the employee to leave work early because they have caregiving responsibilities if they do not permit other employees to leave work early. Employers cannot, however, deny these benefits to employees with caregiving responsibilities if they provide them to other, non-caregiving, employees.

C. Who is Covered?

The law applies to all New York City employers with 4 or more employees. Part-time and full-time employees, as well as paid and unpaid interns, are covered by the law.

D. Recommended Course of Action

Employers should review their job applications, advertisements and flexible work policies to ensure compliance with this expansion of New York City law.


Please do not hesitate to contact Scott R. Matthews at (212) 237-1025, or, with any questions or comments.


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