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Protections at work for domestic violence victims are sweeping the nation. New York is continuing its support of such laws. The new amendment expands protections previously provided by the State. 

Under a recent New York State law, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire, employ, or discharge employees or applicants because they are victims of domestic violence. It is also unlawful for an employer to advertise in job postings which expresses any limitations pertaining to domestic violence victims. 

Additionally, an employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee who is a victim of domestic violence and who must be absent from work in order to:

  • Seek medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence including for a child who is a direct victim of domestic violence; or
  • Obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center as a result of domestic violence; or
  • Obtain psychological counseling related to an incident or incidents of domestic violence, including for a child who is a victim of domestic violence, provided that the employee is not the perpetrator of the domestic violence the against the child; or
  • Participate in safety planning and taking other actions to increase safety from future incidents of domestic violence, including temporary or permanent relocation; or
  • Obtain legal services, assisting in the prosecution of the offense, or appearing in court in relation to the incident or incidents of domestic violence.

An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s absence unless the employer can demonstrate an undue hardship to the employer. The following factors will be considered in determining whether an undue hardship exists (1) the overall size of the business, program or enterprise with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities, and size of budget and (2) the type of operation in which the business, program or enterprise is engaged, including the composition and structure of the workforce.

In terms of notice, an employee must give the employer reasonable notice of an intended absence if possible. If advance notice is not possible, the employee must give the employer, when requested, certification supporting the absence in a reasonable time after the fact. 

Employers in New York State should train managers on this new law. For employers in New York City, domestic violence victims have long been protected.  However, it is always good to remind the manager and supervisors of these obligations.  After all, it is also the right thing to do.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest state and federal employment laws. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560. 

Additionally, if this article generated any additional questions for you, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com.  We may address your question in a future post.