The New York City Human Rights Law protects against workplace discrimination based on status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking. If you are a survivor of domestic violence, a sex offense, or stalking, it is important to understand your rights in the workplace.
How Are Victims of Domestic Violence, Sex Offenses, or Stalking Defined?
Under New York City law, a victim of domestic violence is defined as someone who has been subjected to acts or threats of violence in a manner constituting a crime that were committed by: a current or former spouse; current or former romantic or intimate partner; a person with whom the victim shares a child; a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim; or someone who lives or has lived in the victim’s household at regular intervals.
A victim of sex offenses or stalking refers to someone who has been victimized by sex offenses or stalking that would constitute violations under criminal law.
Who Is Protected Under NYC Workplace Discrimination Laws?
The workplace protections under New York City Human Rights Law apply to all employers who have four or more employees or one or more domestic workers. They also apply to employment agencies and labor organizations of any size. All persons who work for or apply for jobs at covered New York City employers are entitled to the protections, regardless of where they live.
Unlawful Discriminatory Practices
It is unlawful for covered employers or their agents to refuse to hire or employ, or to discharge or bar someone from employment, based on their actual or perceived status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking. For instance, an employer cannot dismiss a victim to avoid drama in the office, or because the company is worried that employing that individual will endanger other employees. It is also unlawful to discriminate with regard to the terms, conditions, or other privileges of employment, such as denying a victim a promotion or an assignment because of their status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking.
Covered employers are also required to provide a reasonable accommodation to allow a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking to satisfy the essential requirements of their job. To be deemed reasonable, the accommodation cannot cause an undue hardship for the employer. Depending on the employee’s specific needs and various other factors, a reasonable accommodation may include modifications to the employee’s schedule, a change to where the employee sits, time off for counseling or other services, or a transfer to another location.
Prior to providing an accommodation, your employer is entitled to ask you to certify that you are a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking. You can do so by providing documentation from an employee, volunteer, or agent of a victim services organization, an attorney, a clergy member, or a medical or other professional service provider from whom you have sought assistance. Other evidence may include police or court records. Your employer is legally required to keep this documentation, along with the fact that you requested and/or were granted the accommodation, in the strictest confidence.
Protect Your Rights
If you believe you have been unlawfully discriminated against due to your protected status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking, or another matter, speaking to an experienced employment attorney can help you protect yourself and your rights. Contact Katz Melinger PLLC at 212-460-0047 or online.