As of May 4, 2016, it will be unlawful for any employer in New York City to discriminate on the basis of “caregiver status.” The new law, signed by the mayor earlier this month, is an expansion of New York State’s protection of “familial status,” which took effect on January 19.
An employee is deemed to be a caregiver if he or she “provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or a care recipient.” A care recipient is any person with a disability that is a member of the caregiver’s family or household, and “relies on the caregiver for medical care or to meet the needs of daily living.”
The list of “covered relatives” in a caregiver’s family is very comprehensive. Spouses, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings of the caregiver are all covered by New York City’s law, whereas New York State currently only protects parents who care for minor children. A covered relative has a disability if he or she suffers from “any physical, medical, mental or psychological impairment.”
As with any other unlawful discrimination in New York City, the penalty for each violation can amount to $125,000. The penalty doubles for willful violations.