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New York City Council Passes Bill Requiring Employers to Engage Employees in Accommodations Dialogue

By Jonathan L. Bing, Richard I. Greenberg, Daniel J. Jacobs and Brian R. DeShannon
  • December 19, 2017

The New York City Council has passed a bill requiring entities covered by the New York City Human Rights Law (HRL) to engage in cooperative dialogue with individuals who may be entitled to reasonable accommodations under the Law. Passed on December 19, 2017, Int. 804-A applies to employers, providers of public accommodations, and providers of housing accommodations.

The bill makes it “an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, or employment agency or an employee or agent thereof to refuse or otherwise fail to engage in a cooperative dialogue” required under Int. 804-A.

The Mayor is expected to sign Int. 804-A into law.

The HRL requires the entities it covers to make reasonable accommodations for the following:

  • Victims of domestic violence;
  • Individuals with pregnancy and related conditions;
  • Religious needs; and
  • Disabilities.

Int. 804-A clarifies HRL’s reasonable accommodation requirement by expressly requiring covered entities to engage in or seek to engage in a cooperative dialogue with individuals who may be entitled to such accommodation. The purpose of the dialogue is to identify what reasonable accommodations are available to assist the individuals.

The bill requires the covered entity to provide the person requesting an accommodation a written final determination identifying any accommodation granted or denied.

Significantly, the bill states:

The determination that no reasonable accommodation would enable the person requesting an accommodation to satisfy the essential requisites of a job or enjoy the right or rights in question may only be made after the parties have engaged, or the covered entity has attempted to engage, in a cooperative dialogue.

Int. 804-A will become effective six months after the date of enactment.

Please contact the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work for assistance to determine whether and how this affects your organization. At the least, it will require a review of internal practices related to accommodation and related requests.

©2017 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm with more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries. Having built its reputation on providing premier workplace law representation to management, the firm has grown to include leading practices in the areas of government relations, healthcare and sports law. For more information, visit www.jacksonlewis.com.

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