Employers in New York City are required to provide their employees with reasonable accommodations related to childbirth and pregnancy. The New York City Commission on Human Rights has published a new factsheet and notice. The notice should be provided to all employees upon hire, and posted in the workplace to provide employees with notice of their rights under the NYC Human Rights Law.

The notice and factsheet outline employers’ responsibilities with respect to pregnant employees, and recommend that employers work with employees to implement accommodations that recognize employee contributions to the workplace and help keep them in the workplace for as long as possible. The notice and factsheet also provide employees with examples of reasonable accommodations, such as breaks to rest or use the bathroom while at work, and time and space to express breast milk at work.

Our Epstein Becker Green colleagues Susan Gross Sholinsky and Nancy L. Gunzenhauser discuss “Five New Challenges Facing Retail Employers” in this month’s Take 5 newsletter. Below is an excerpt:

Retailers face new challenges every day as a result of legislation, litigation, and technology. This Take 5 addresses some of these challenges. …

  1. Pregnancy Accommodation
  2. Releases and Other Considerations Attendant to Layoffs
  3. Racial Profiling
  4. Data Security
  5. Social Media in Hiring

Read the full newsletter here.

By: Maxine Neuhauser

Retail industry employers are likely to be particularly impacted by amendments to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), which became effective January 22, 2014.  The primary focus of the amendments was the addition of pregnancy as a protected classification and the requirement for employers to provide reasonable accommodation to allow women to maintain a healthy pregnancy or to recover from childbirth.[1] Employers should be aware, however, that the new law also added a provision to the LAD expressly prohibiting employer retaliation against employees for requesting information about any current or former employee’s:

  • job title,
  • occupational category,
  • rate of compensation (including benefits),
  • gender,
  • race,
  • ethnicity,
  • military status, or
  • national origin.

The law expressly protects information requests made for the purpose of assisting “in investigating the possibility of the occurrence of, or in taking of legal action regarding, potential discriminatory treatment concerning pay, compensation, bonuses, other compensation, or benefits.” The provision applies whether the requests have been made to current or former employees.

Of note, the law does not require an employee to whom an inquiry is made to disclose the requested information.  Requesting employees are, however, protected from reprisal regardless of whether the request was responded to.

Available remedies under the LAD include back pay, reinstatement or front pay, compensatory damages (e.g., for emotional distress), and punitive damages.  In addition, prevailing plaintiffs are entitled to their reasonable attorneys’ fees along with the potential for enhancement.  The LAD also permits individual liability for “aiding and abetting” a violation of the law.


[1] The amendment adding pregnancy as a protected classification and requiring reasonable accommodation because of pregnancy is discussed in our Act Now Advisory.