This week, the New York City Council passed new amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law, which prohibit employment discrimination, discriminatory harassment and violence on the basis of an individual’s sexual and reproductive health decisions. A copy of the new, amended law can be found here.

The amended law defines “sexual and reproductive health decisions” as any decision by an individual to receive services, which are arranged for, or offered or provided to individuals, relating to their sexual and reproductive health, including the reproductive system and its functions.

Examples of protected decisions relating to sexual and reproductive health include:

  • Fertility-related medical procedures
  • In-vitro fertilization
  • Sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment
  • HIV testing and counseling
  • Family planning services and counseling
  • Access to birth control drugs and supplies
  • Emergency contraception
  • Sterilization procedures
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Abortion procedures.

Violations of the amended law include the risk of:

  • Civil penalties of up to $250,000
  • Hiring the complainant
  • Reinstatement of the complainant
  • Promotion of the complainant
  • Back pay
  • Front pay
  • Compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorney’s fees and costs.

Employers should update their handbooks, anti-discrimination and related policies to reflect these new amendments. If you have any questions or concerns about the new amendments, Reed Smith’s experienced Labor & Employment Group is ready to speak with you. For more information regarding this amendment and the accompanying guidance, please contact your Reed Smith attorney.