Search form

New York City to Prohibit Retaliation for Requesting Reasonable Accommodation

By Richard I. Greenberg and Ellen M. Gustafson
  • June 25, 2019

On June 13, 2019, the New York City Council passed Intro 799 to prohibit retaliation against individuals who make a request for a reasonable accommodation under any applicable provision of chapter 1 of the New York City Human Rights Law.

The bill awaits Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature. The Mayor is expected to sign it. The bill takes effect 120 days after it is signed.


Under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), an employer must provide reasonable accommodations to employees that allow them to perform the essential functions of their job in connection with disability, pregnancy, domestic violence victim status, or membership in another protected class, unless doing so would cause “undue hardship” to the employer.

The NYCHRL expressly prohibits employers, landlords, and other covered entities from retaliating against individuals who engage in a “protected activity,” such as filing a discrimination complaint, assisting in discrimination proceedings and investigations, or opposing behavior that could be deemed as discriminatory under NYCHRL. 

Some recent rulings by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court have adopted a highly restrictive view of the NYCHRL, excluding requests for reasonable accommodations from the list of protected activities. (See, e.g., Witchard v. Montefiore Medical Center, 960 N.Y.S.2d 402 (1st Dep’t 2013); McKenzie v. Meridian Capital Group, LLC, 35 A.D.3d 676 (2nd Dep’t 2006).) Subsequent to these decisions, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance on retaliatory actions, classifying a request for reasonable accommodation as a protected activity for the purposes of retaliation. (EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues, August 25, 2016.)

Citing the EEOC in the Committee on Civil and Human Rights’ Report on the bill, Intro 799 “affirms” the EEOC guidance and adds “requested a reasonable accommodation” to the list of protected activities. The addition clarifies that, rather than the protections being limited to opposing an unlawful discriminatory act, individuals are indeed protected from retaliation when they request a reasonable accommodation.

Specifics and Adoption

Chapter 1 of § 8-107(7) of the NYCHRL, with the addition of a new subparagraph (v), now reads as follows: 

It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person engaged in any activity to which this chapter applies to retaliate or discriminate in any manner against any person because such person has

(i) opposed any practice forbidden under this chapter,
(ii) filed a complaint, testified or assisted in any proceeding under this chapter,
(iii) commenced a civil action alleging the commission of an act which would be an unlawful discriminatory practice under this chapter,
(iv) assisted the commission or the corporation counsel in an investigation commenced pursuant to this title,
(v) requested a reasonable accommodation under this chapter, or
(vi) provided any information to the commission pursuant to the terms of a conciliation agreement made pursuant to section 8-115 [Mediation and conciliation] of this chapter.

The Jackson Lewis Government Relations practice monitors and tracks all legislation introduced in New York and advocates for client positions at all levels of city and state government.

Please contact Jackson Lewis with any questions about Intro 799, compliance, or government relations.

©2019 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 that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

August 23, 2019

New York Revises Employment Protections for Domestic Violence Victims, Adds Accommodation Obligations

August 23, 2019

New York has amended its Human Rights Law to expand protection from employment discrimination for victims of domestic violence. Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on August 20, 2019, the new law amends the New York State Human Rights Law with respect to victims of domestic violence. It also requires employers to provide reasonable... Read More

August 22, 2019

Illinois Expands State Human Rights Act to Include Employers with One or More Employees

August 22, 2019

An amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) expands the definition of “employer” from employers with at least 15 employees to those with one or more employees. The legislation, House Bill 252, was signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker on August 21, 2019, and enacted as Illinois Public Act 101-0430. The new law will become... Read More

August 13, 2019

New York Expands Harassment Laws, Protections of Religious Attire, Clothing, or Facial Hair

August 13, 2019

New York state has enacted sweeping new workplace harassment protections for employees, including lowering the standard for when harassment is actionable. It also has adopted new law prohibiting employment discrimination based on religious attire, clothing, or facial hair. Workplace Sexual Harassment On August 12, 2019, Governor... Read More