Amended Law Requires NYC Employers to Engage in Accommodations Dialogue

By Katherine Muniz
May 25, 2018

A new amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) will require NYC employers to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” within a reasonable amount of time with any employee who may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation, effective October 15, 2018.

Int. No. 804-A

While the NYCHRL has long established that employers must make reasonable accommodations to victims of domestic violence and individuals with pregnancy and medically related conditions, religious needs, and disabilities, an amendment signed into law on January 19, 2018, imposes additional requirements on employers.

With respect to employees who may be entitled to reasonable accommodations, it will soon be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any employer to “refuse or otherwise fail to engage in a cooperative dialogue within a reasonable amount of time with a person who has requested an accommodation,” or has given notice that they may require such an accommodation.

Employers must specifically engage in a good faith written or oral dialogue addressing the individuals:

  • accommodation needs;
  • potential accommodations that may address the person’s accommodation needs, including alternatives to a requested accommodation;
  • difficulties that such potential accommodations may pose for the covered entity

Upon reaching a final determination at the conclusion of the “cooperative dialogue,” employers must provide the employee with a written final determination stating whether their accommodation is granted or denied.

In order to ensure compliance by the time the law is implemented, you should review and update your current policies and practices, and train your HR professionals and managers on engaging in a “cooperative dialogue” moving forward.

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