Clarifications for Employers for Women in the Workplace
In June of 2014, the Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed amendments to the New York State Human Rights Law, which bolstered civil rights for women.
It’s important for employers understand the changes under the Women’s Equality Act so they can abide by the law and avoid discrimination disputes in the workplace.
How does the act affect pay equity?
Women must receive the same pay as men when performing the same work. However, the previous law enabled employers to suspend or terminate employees for discussing their wages with each other. This law prevents employers from firing or suspending employees who discuss wages with each other and also increases the amount in damages an employee can seek if an employer violates the new law.
How did the definition of “employer” change in respect to sexual harassment?
Previously, business owners with four or fewer employees were not considered “employers” under the Human Rights law, and therefore the sexual harassment law did not apply to them. The new law eliminates this distinction, and employees subjected to sexual harassment while working for any size company may file sexual harassment complaints.
Is it lawful to not hire or promote a woman because of her status of being a parent and her familial duties?
The new law prohibits employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations from discriminating against women based on their familial status. They cannot assume that because a women has children or plans to have a family that this fact disqualifies her for hiring or job promotion.
What changes were included in the act that affects pregnancy discrimination?
Employers are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant women, due to the fact that certain pregnancies involve medical conditions. The previous law was confusing and often was wrongly interpreted. The new act clarified employers’ responsibilities to perform a reasonable analysis for pregnant employees.
Do You Have Questions about Women’s Rights in the Workplace?
Our attorneys are glad to answer your questions and address your concerns.
Stephen Hans & Associates provides decades of experience to business owners regarding employment related issues.