Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on 1) new guidance on NYC's lactation room in the workplace requirements; 2) the expansion of NYC Human Right's Law's protection to reproductive choices; and 3) the release of sexual harassment training materials by New York City and State.
As we covered in a previous post, as of March 18, 2019, New York City employers are required to provide their employees with access to a lactation room, a lactation policy, and a refrigerator for the storage of expressed milk. Recently, the New York City Commission on Human Rights released additional guidance on employers' obligations and employees' rights under this law. The Commissions has created a Lactation Accommodation's webpage that contains a plethora of resources, including a model lactation accommodation request form and as well as different sample lactation policies businesses can use depending on the resources they currently have and provide. These policies are extremely detailed, impose specific requirements on employers that might not be obvious from the plain text of the statute, and should be read carefully by employees to understand their rights and employers to ensure they are fulfilling all their obligations under the statute and guidelines.
Effective May 20, 2019, the New York City Human Rights Law will be expanded to protect against discrimination based upon an individuals sexual and reproductive health decisions. The law defines sexual and reproductive health decisions to include decisions by an individual to received services related to fertility, sexually transmitted disease prevention, testing and treatment, and family planning services, such as birth control, emergency contraception, sterilization procedures, pregnancy testing, and abortion. In context of the workplace, any employer, employment agency, or labor organization that takes an adverse action towards and employee or prospective employee because of that individual's sexual or reproductive health decision will have committed an unlawful discriminatory practice and be subject to the penalties provided for by the NYC Human Right Law.
As all employees and employers are hopefully already aware, employers in New York State must start providing annual training sexual harassment training to their employees. New York City has passed similar requirements, and in anticipation of both, the City and State have released online training materials that business may use. The materials also contain posters, fact sheets, and model policies that employers are required to provide. The City materials can be found here; the State's are here. Employees are encouraged to understand their rights under the law and Employers are encouraged to ensure they have the right training, materials, policies, and procedures in place before the deadline to do so passes.
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