New York State recently expanded protections under the New York Human Rights Law to victims of domestic violence. NYS already bans discrimination against victims of domestic violence and this new amendment adds to those protections. The law has now added new requirements concerning an employer’s obligation to reasonably accommodate employees who have been victims of domestic violence and need to take time off from work. Employers are now required to allow employees to take time off (unless it would cause undue hardship) to:
- seek medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence;
- obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center as a result of domestic violence;
- obtain psychological counseling related to domestic violence, including for a child who is a victim of domestic violence;
- participate in safety planning relating to domestic violence; and
- obtain legal services or participate in legal processes relating to an incident of domestic violence.
Employers may require employees to use any available paid time off during any leave provided as an accommodation. If the employee doesn’t have any accrued time, the leave may be unpaid. Employers are not required to provide an accommodation where it would pose undue hardship.
Employees are required to provide “reasonable advance notice” to their employers unless it is not feasible. If advance notice is not feasible, employers may require the employee to provide “certification” of their need for leave including a police report, court order or other court document, or document from a medical professional, domestic violence advocate, health care provider, or counselor.
Please contact our Director of Human Resources, Caroline Organ, at [email protected] or 716-854-5034 if you have any questions about this new amendment.