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New York’s Laws Protecting Job Safety for Domestic Violence Survivors

Life preserverNew York Job Safety for Domestic Violence Survivors

New York recently implemented additional job protection for survivors of domestic violence.

The new law and took effect in November 2019. It expands employment protection for those who are dealing with issues related to domestic violence and amends the existing law that is part of New York State’s Human Rights Law.

Previously, the Human Rights Law prohibited discrimination against survivors of domestic violence. Now, that protection extends further. New York State employers cannot:

  • Refuse to hire or choose to terminate an employee due to domestic violence issues
  • Discriminate against those who are survivors of domestic violence regarding compensation or any other terms of employment
  • Include in a job posting or application anything that expresses limitation or discrimination in hiring practices against those affected by domestic violence

Additionally, the amended law re-defined “domestic violence victim” according to the definition of the term in New York’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act. You can learn more about New York’s overall efforts to support domestic violence victims here.

Employers in the state must also provide employees who are survivors of domestic violence accommodations for/time to:

  • Medical attention needed due to injuries caused by domestic violence
  • Services provided by a shelter, program, or rape crisis center, including psychological counseling
  • Safety planning or other actions intended to improve protection against future domestic violence incidents 
  • Obtain legal services, assistance with prosecution, or appear in court concerning the incident

The New York Human Rights Law already required employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who were survivors of domestic violence, stalking, or sex offenses before the latest updates. The existing law already stipulated victims are entitled to leave in situations in which the affected employee’s absence would not cause the business undue hardship. Employers are permitted to charge leave to an employee’s paid time off or if none is available, the time away can be unpaid.

When possible, employees are asked to provide advance notice of a domestic violence-related absence. If advanced notice is not possible, employers may request certification. This can include:

  • Documentation from a doctor
  • Documentation from a counselor or domestic violence advocate
  • Police report
  • Court order

New York Joins Other States in Offering Enhanced Protection for Domestic Violence Survivors

New York is one of many states promoting support for employees who are survivors of domestic violence.

Other states including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, and Rhode Island have also implemented laws protecting those affected by domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault. In all cases, laws now exist that make it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or applicants due to any of these issues. Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations to help employees stay safe and cope with domestic violence issues. These states have implemented protection in addition to resources provided under any federal laws regarding domestic violence.

Any New Yorker who has been a victim of workplace discrimination due to domestic abuse has the right to protection under the updated laws. No employee should be forced to work in fear or fear retaliation from an employer due to an abusive situation outside of the workplace. For more information or to speak to someone about your situation, contact the employment lawyers at Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to schedule a free consultation.


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