Caregivers are Protected from Discrimination Under New 2016 Law in NYC

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Mayor Bill de Blasio expands New York City Human Rights Law to include Caregivers as a protected category against employment discrimination.

On January 5, 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law expanding The New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) to include adding “caregiver status” as an additional protected category for which employment discrimination is prohibited. This change in the NYCHRL will go into effect beginning May 4, 2016 and prohibits employment discrimination against employees caring for a minor child or an individual with a disability.

NYCHRL prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of a number of protected characteristics, such as race, creed, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation, alienage, and citizenship status. The NYCHRL applies to employers with four or more employees. With this new amendment, to the NYCHRL, has defined “caregiver” is defined as “a person who provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or care recipient.” The “Care recipient” is defined as “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.” New York City Commission on Human Rights (“NYCCHR”) has defined “Covered relatives” under the amendment to include spouses, domestic partners, parents, siblings, grandchildren, grandparents, biological, adopted and foster children or parents of the caregiver’s spouse or domestic partner, or any individuals in a familial relationship with the caregiver. This broad definition of “covered relatives” have not been interpreted by the NYCCHR therefore it is possible that a covered relative could include almost every member of the employee’s family.

The NYCCHR is expressly authorized to adopt rules to implement the amendment’s provisions and a violation of the NYCHRL is a civil penalty of a maximum of $50,000, with additional penalties of up to $100 per day for each day that the violation continues.