Executive Summary: New York City employers should be aware of local laws that directly affect a company’s hiring and termination practices, including a recent one that makes it illegal for employers to discriminate based on “caregiver status.”
Although a new business-friendly administration is set to take over at the federal level next year, employers should not overlook more protective state and local laws, including the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The NYCHRL applies to any employer with four or more employees (a count that includes unpaid interns as well as certain independent contractors) and prohibits, among other things, employment discrimination. Several key distinctions set the NYCHRL apart from Title VII and its state employment discrimination counterpart, the New York State Human Rights Law, including the fact that the NYCHRL is more liberally construed by courts and allows for greater potential recovery of punitive damages.
Another important difference? “Caregiver status” is now a recognized characteristic protected from employment discrimination. As of May 4, 2016, it became illegal for NYC employers to make employment decisions based on the fact that an employee is a caregiver.
Who Is a Caregiver? Any person who “provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or a care recipient.” See NYC Admin. Code 8-102(30)(a).
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