This is the second in a series of articles on the employment protections that are now law as part of the Women’s Equality Agenda, a series of eight bills signed by Governor Cuomo on October 21, 2015. Part I may be found here. Part III may be found here. Part IV may be found here. Part V may be found here.
Ending Familial Status Discrimination
New York State’s Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in employment based on a number of characteristics. Up until now, discrimination has been prohibited based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, or domestic violence victim status.
S.2 / A. 7317 adds familial status as a prohibited category of discrimination. The Human Rights Law previously prohibited familial status discrimination in housing and credit but not employment. The new law now prohibits such discrimination in employment.
Familial status is defined as:
(a) any person who is pregnant or has a child or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of eighteen years, or
(b) one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of eighteen years) being domiciled with: (1) a parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals, or (2) the designee of such parent.
The bill sponsor memorandum notes that women with children are less likely to be recommended for hire, less likely to be promoted, and often receive less in salary than similarly situated men. Furthermore, 70% of children living with single mothers are poor or low income.
It should be noted, however, that like several other provisions of the Women’s Equality Agenda, the law protects men from such discrimination as well as women.