Legal Protections

N.Y. Administrative Code Title 8 (NYC Human Rights Law)

§ 8-101 Policy

In the City of New York, with its great cosmopolitan population, there is no greater danger to the health, morals, safety and welfare of the city and its inhabitants than the existence of groups prejudiced against one another and antagonistic to each other because of their actual or perceived differences, including those based on race, color, creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, partnership status, any lawful source of income, status as a victim of domestic violence or status as a victim of sex offenses or stalking, lawful occupation, whether children are, may be or would be residing with a person or conviction or arrest record. The council hereby finds and declares that prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination and disorder occasioned thereby threaten the rights and proper privileges of its inhabitants and menace the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state. A city agency is hereby created with power to eliminate and prevent discrimination from playing any role in actions relating to employment, public accommodations and housing and other real estate, and to take other actions against prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, discrimination and bias-related violence or harassment as herein provided; and the commission established hereunder is hereby given general jurisdiction and power for such purposes.

§ 8-102 Definitions

When used in this chapter:

  1. The term "person" includes one or more, natural persons, proprietorships partnerships, associations, group associations, organizations, governmental bodies or agencies, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, or receivers.
  2. The term "unlawful discriminatory practice" includes only those practices specified in sections 8-107 and 8-107.1 of this chapter.
  3. For purposes of subdivisions one, two, three, eleven-a, twenty-two, subparagraph one of paragraph a of subdivision twenty-one, and paragraph e of subdivision twenty-one of section 8-107 of this chapter, the term "employer" does not include any employer with fewer than four persons in his or her employ. For purposes of this subdivision, natural persons employed as independent contractors to carry out work in furtherance of an employer's business enterprise who are not themselves employers shall be counted as persons in the employ of such employer.
  4. The term "covered entity" means a person required to comply with any provision of section 8-107 of this chapter.
  5. The term "reasonable accommodation" means such accommodation that can be made that shall not cause undue hardship in the conduct of the covered entity's business. The covered entity shall have the burden of proving undue hardship. In making a determination of undue hardship with respect to claims filed under subdivisions one (or) two, or twenty-two of section 8-107 or section 8-107.1 of this chapter, the factors which may be considered include but shall not be limited to:
    1. The nature and cost of the accommodation;
    2. The overall financial resources of the facility or the faculties involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodation; the number of persons employed at such facility; the effect on expenses and resources, or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the facility;
    3. The overall financial resources of the covered entity; the overall size of the business of a covered entity with respect to the number of its employees, the number, type, and location of its facilities; and
    4. The type of operation or operations of the covered entity, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of such entity; the geographic separateness, administrative, or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the covered entity.
      In making a determination of undue hardship with respect to claims for reasonable accommodation to an employee's or prospective employee's religious observance filed under subdivision three of section 8-107 of this chapter, the definition of "undue hardship" set forth in paragraph b of such subdivision shall apply.

§8-107.1 Victims of Domestic Violence, Sex Offenses or Stalking

  1. Definitions. Whenever used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
    1. a. "Acts or threats of violence" shall include, but not be limited to acts, which would constitute violations of the penal law.
    2. b. "Victim of domestic violence" shall mean a person who has been subjected to acts or threats of violence, not including acts of self-defense, committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim, by a person who is or has been in a continuing social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, or a person who is or has continually or at regular intervals lived in the same household as the victim.
    3. c. "Victim of sex offenses or stalking" shall mean a victim of acts which would constitute violations of article 130 of the penal law, or a victim of acts which would constitute violations of sections 120.45, 120.50, 120.55, or 120.60 of the penal law.
    4. d. Practices "based on," "because of," "on account of," "as to," 'on the basis of," or "motivated by" an individual's "status as a victim of domestic violence," or "status as a victim of sex offenses or stalking" include, but are not limited to, those based solely upon the actions of a person who has perpetrated acts or threats of violence against the individual.
  2. Unlawful discriminatory practices. It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, or an agent thereof, to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment, or to discriminate against an individual in compensation or other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of the actual or perceived status of said individual as a victim of domestic violence, or as a victim of sex offenses or stalking.
  3. Applicability; actual or perceived victims of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking.
    1. Requirement to make a reasonable accommodation to the needs of victims of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking. Except as provided in paragraph (c), any person prohibited by this section 8-107.1 from discriminating on the basis of actual or perceived status as a victim of domestic violence or a victim of sex offenses or stalking shall make a reasonable accommodation to enable a person who is a victim of domestic violence, or a victim of sex offenses or stalking to satisfy the essential requisites of a job provided that the status of a victim of domestic violence or a victim of sex offenses or stalking is known or should have been known by the covered entity.
    2. Documentation of status. Any person required by paragraph (a) to make a reasonable accommodation may require a person requesting the reasonable accommodation pursuant to paragraph (a) to provide certification that the person is a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking. The person requesting the reasonable accommodation pursuant to paragraph (a) shall provide a copy of such certification to the covered entity within a reasonable period after the request is made. A person may satisfy the certification requirement of this paragraph by providing documentation from an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, or a medical or other professional service provider, from whom the individual seeking a reasonable accommodation or that individual's family or household member has sought assistance in addressing domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking and the effects of the violence or stalking; a police or court record; or other corroborating evidence. All information provided to the covered entity pursuant to this paragraph, including a statement of the person requesting a reasonable accommodation or any other documentation, record, or corroborating evidence, and the fact that the individual has requested or obtained a reasonable accommodation pursuant to this section, shall be retained in the strictest confidence by the covered entity, except to the extent that disclosure is requested or consented to in writing by the person requesting the reasonable accommodation; or otherwise required by applicable federal, state or local law.
    3. Affirmative defense in domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking cases. In any case where the need for a reasonable accommodation is placed in issue, it shall be an affirmative defense that the person aggrieved by the alleged discriminatory practice could not, with a reasonable accommodation, satisfy the essential requisites of the job or enjoy the right or rights in question.

New York State Laws

N.Y. Executive Law (New York State Human Rights Law) Article 15 §292(34)

  1. The term "domestic violence victim", when used in this article, means an individual who is a victim of an act which would constitute a family offense pursuant to subdivision one of section eight hundred twelve of the family court act.

N.Y. Executive Law 296-1(a)

  1. It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice:
    1. For an employer or licensing agency, because of an individual's age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, [Effective January 19, 2016: familial status,] marital status, or domestic violence victim status, to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment such individual or to discriminate against such individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

N.Y.S. Penal Law §215.14 Employer unlawfully penalizing witness or victim.

  1. Any person who is the victim of an offense upon which an accusatory instrument is based or, is subpoenaed to attend a criminal proceeding as a witness pursuant to article six hundred ten of the criminal procedure law or who exercises his rights as a victim as provided by section 380.50 or 390.30 of the criminal procedure law or subdivision two of section two hundred fifty-nine-i of the executive law and who notifies his employer or agent of his intent to appear as a witness, to consult with the district attorney, or to exercise his rights as provided in the criminal procedure law, the family court act and the executive law prior to the day of his attendance, shall not on account of his absence from employment by reason of such service be subject to discharge or penalty except as hereinafter provided. Upon request of the employer or agent, the party who sought the attendance or testimony shall provide verification of the employee`s service. An employer may, however, withhold wages of any such employee during the period of such attendance. The subjection of an employee to discharge or penalty on account of his absence from employment by reason of his required attendance as a witness at a criminal proceeding or consultation with the district attorney or exercise of his rights as provided under law shall constitute a class B misdemeanor.
  2. For purposes of this section, the term "victim" shall include the aggrieved party or the aggrieved party`s next of kin, if the aggrieved party is deceased as a result of the offense, the representative of a victim as defined in subdivision six of section six hundred twenty-one of the executive law, a good samaritan as defined in subdivision seven of section six hundred twenty-one of such law or a person pursuing an application or enforcement of an order of protection under the criminal  procedure law or the family court act.

NYS Labor Law 593(1) (a)

  1. Voluntary separation; separation for a compelling family reason.
    1. No days of total unemployment shall be deemed to occur after a claimant's voluntary separation without good cause from employment until he or she has subsequently worked in employment and earned remuneration at least equal to ten times his or her weekly benefit rate.  In addition to other circumstances that may be found to constitute good cause, including a compelling family reason as set forth in paragraph (b) of this subdivision, voluntary separation from employment shall not in itself disqualify a claimant if circumstances have developed in the course of such employment that would have justified the claimant in refusing such employment in the first instance under the terms of subdivision two of this section or if the claimant, pursuant to an option provided under a collective bargaining agreement or written employer plan which permits waiver of his or her right to retain the employment when there is a temporary layoff because of lack of work, has elected to be separated for a temporary period and the employer has consented thereto.
    2. A claimant shall not be disqualified from receiving benefits for separation from employment due to any compelling family reason.  For purposes of this paragraph, the term "compelling family reason" shall include, but not be limited to, separations related to any of the following:
      1. Domestic violence, verified by reasonable and confidential documentation which causes the individual reasonably to believe that such individual's continued employment would jeopardize his or her safety or the safety of any member of his or her immediate family.