“On August 20, 2019, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed A5618/S1040 (the “Amendment”) into law, amending the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) with respect to protections for victims of domestic violence. The Amendment becomes effective November 18, 2019.
The Amendment broadens the definition of “victim of domestic violence” to make it consistent with the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (NY Soc. Serv. L § 459-A). In addition, although the NYSHRL previously prohibited discrimination against victims of domestic violence, the Amendment explicitly adds victims of domestic violence as a protected class under the NYSHRL. Further, the Amendment requires employers to reasonably accommodate victims of domestic violence who must be absent from work “for a reasonable amount of time” 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.”