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Employment Discrimination and Domestic Violence Victims

Employment Discrimination and Domestic Violence Victims

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law changes to New York State’s Executive Law so that it will now protect victims of domestic violence from employment discrimination. Governor Cuomo reported that law enforcement in New York receives reports of almost 400,000 domestic violence incidents every year.

Under the new law, “It shall be unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to refuse to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee who is known by the employer to be a victim of domestic violence.” The exception to this rule is if the employer can demonstrate that the employee’s absence from work would cause an undue hardship on the business due to the company’s size, number of employees, etc.

Victims of domestic abuse can now charge time off against any paid time off to which the employee is entitled, or, if no time is available, he or she can have unpaid absences. Such time can be used to seek medical attention, obtain the assistance of a shelter provider or other social services, obtain legal representation, or appear in court.

If possible, employees are asked to give their employers reasonable notice of their impending absences. If notice cannot be given, such as in instances where the victim was recently attacked, the employee can provide certification from a police department or medical professional.