Recently, the New York City Council amended the New York City Human Rights Law to specifically require that a covered employer is specifically required to reasonably accommodate the pregnancy of an employee. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as New York state and New York City law already requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who suffer from disabilities, including those related to pregnancy and child birth, the New York City amendment specifically address pregnancy, regardless of whether it leads to conditions deemed to be disabilities under the law.
According to the New York City amendment, which takes effect on January 30, 2014, employers with four or more employees must accommodate an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical condition, if such accommodation would permit the employee to perform the “essential requisites of the job.”
An employer is not required to provide a reasonable accommodation if (1) the employer is unaware that the employee is pregnant, has given birth, or has a related medical condition; (2) providing the reasonable accommodation would cause the employer an “undue hardship”; or (3) the employee would not be able to perform the essential requisites of the job even with the reasonable accommodation.
As a consequence of the new law, employers must provide written notice of these new rules to all new employees who start working on January 30, 2014. Employers have until May 30, 2014 to provide the notice to all existing employees. The New York City Commission on Human Rights has prepared a Pregnancy & Employment Rights notice for employers to use.