Governor Cuomo Enacts New Laws to Quell Sex Discrimination in New York State

What do employers need to know about recently enacted sex discrimination laws?

Gender-based employment discrimination is still a major problem in New York, even though it is illegal at both the state and federal level. In late October of 2015, Governor Cuomo approved several new laws to enhance discrimination laws.

Under the new Achieve Pay Equality Law, the punishments for breaking the current state law were greatly increased. Employees must be allowed to disclose and discuss their wages with one another, although this exchange must take place at a reasonable time and place. The law also forbids one employee from discussing another employees pay information without consent, even if this employee is privy to this information due to the nature of his job.

According to the Protect Women from Pregnancy Discrimination Law, employers must consider reasonable accommodations for every pregnant woman individually. Standard accommodations provided to every worker are no longer enough to satisfy the law.

The new Protect Victims of Sexual Harassment Law allows those that work for a company with less than 4 employees to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against his or her employer. Under the Remove Barriers to Remedying Discrimination Law, plaintiffs that win employment sex discrimination lawsuits are permitted to collect attorney’s fees from their adversaries.

The End Family Status Discrimination Law makes it illegal for employers to base employment decisions on an employee’s familial status, such as parent or child.

In addition to these new laws, Governor Cuomo is also supporting legislation that would address employment discrimination based on gender identity. This law would classify discrimination based on gender identity as sex discrimination and also designate gender dysphonia as a disability entitled to legal protection from discrimination.

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or potential employees based on protected characteristics such as race, religion or age. If you believe you have been discriminated against, an experienced discrimination attorney can help to protect your rights and secure monetary damages.