- New York City Council Adds Caregiver Status to List of Protected Classifications
- January 5, 2016 | Authors: Ellen M. Bandel; Richard I. Greenberg; Daniel J. Jacobs
- Law Firm: Jackson Lewis P.C. - New York Office
- Following other recent pro-employee legislation enacted in New York City, the New York City Council on December 16, 2015, passed a bill banning employment discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver. (See our articles, New York City Issues Enforcement Guidance Related to City’s Fair Chance Act and City Agency Issues Guidance on New York City’s Newly Effective Credit Check Law.)
Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law.
The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) prohibits discrimination in employment based on:
- national origin,
- gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment),
- marital status,
- partnership status,
- sexual orientation,
- alienage, and
- citizenship status.
This means that an employer will not be able consider caregiver status in any decision-making, such as choosing not to hire a working mother with young children due to concerns the mother will be unable to meet the demands of the job, for example.
“Caregiver” is defined as “a person who provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or care recipient” A “care recipient” is also defined under the law and means “a person with a disability who: (i) is a covered relative, or a person who resides in the caregiver’s household; and (ii) relies on the caregiver for medical care or to meet the needs of daily living.”
The definition of “covered relative” is also broad, and includes a caregiver’s:
- domestic partner,
- grandchild or grandparent, or
- the child or parent of the caregiver’s spouse or domestic partner, or any other individual in a familial relationship with the caregiver, as designated by the City Commission on Human Rights.
All employers with New York City operations should review policies and practices and consider training programs to familiarize managers, particularly those with authority to make employment decisions, with the anti-discrimination law.