Employers Must Comply With New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act as of January 30, 2014
On October 2nd of 2013, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into effect the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which applies to all New York City employers with at least 4 employees. This act is designed to bolster accommodations required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which are federal laws.
The ordinance states that employers must provide reasonable accommodation to pregnant employees, including bathroom breaks, leave for disability arising from childbirth, water breaks, and periodic rest periods for those who have jobs that require long periods of standing, among other items. Employers are not required to provide accommodations that would cause them undue hardship, but the employer has the burden of proof in these instances.
Covered employers are required to provide notifications of rights to affected employees in a one time distribution as well as at the time of hire. The notices are available in English and four other languages and can be found on the New York City government website. http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/html/publications/pregnancy-infocard.shtml
Employees who believe they have not been provided reasonable accommodation may bring suit under the ordinance, with uncapped punitive damages available to them.
Employers are encouraged to post the notice in a conspicuous manner in addition to distributing it as prescribed. The date for compliance is January 30, 2014.