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Labor & Employment Alert >> NYC Enacts Law Prohibiting Caregiver Discrimination

January 11, 2016

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed a bill (available here) amending the New York City Human Rights Law to prohibit employment discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver. The new law will take effect on May 4, 2016.

Under the new law, New York City employers cannot refuse to hire, terminate, or otherwise discriminate against an employee or applicant based on his or her actual or perceived status as a "caregiver." While New York state law already prohibits familial status discrimination against parents (to read a previous D&G Alert on this topic, please click here), the New York City law protects a broader group of caregivers.

"Caregiver" is defined as a person who provides "direct and ongoing care" for a child under the age of 18 or a "care recipient." A "care recipient" is "a person with a disability who relies on the caregiver for medical care or to meet the needs of daily living," and is either a "covered relative" or resides in the caregiver's household. This means that the care recipient does not have to be related to the individual, as long as the care recipient resides in the caregiver's home and relies on them for medical care or daily living needs.

A "covered relative" includes the caregiver's spouse, domestic partner, child (biological/adopted/foster-child), parent (biological/foster/step/adoptive-parent), legal guardian, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, half-sibling, step-sibling and sibling related through adoption, as well as the child or parent of the caregiver's spouse or domestic partner.

Although the new law prohibits caregiver discrimination, it does not explicitly require employers to make reasonable accommodations for caregivers. Davis & Gilbert will be monitoring this closely to see how the law develops further in this area.

Bottom Line

New York City employers should review their anti-discrimination policies and related training practices to cover and protect against caregiver discrimination prior to May 4, 2016.