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NYS Follows NYC to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence By Alexandra Lapes, Esq

    Joining New York City in expanding protected classes, New York State amended its Human Rights Law to explicitly include "victims of domestic violence" as a protected class and require that, unless it poses an undue hardship, employers must provide reasonable accommodations of time off for employees who are themselves victims of domestic violence or whose child is a victim in order to:

    • seek medical attention for resulting injuries;
    • obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center;
    • obtain related psychological counseling;
    • participate in related safety planning, including actions to prevent future incidents or temporary or permanent relocation; and
    • obtain or participate in related legal services or processes.


    Similar to other types of accommodation obligations, employers may require reasonable advance notice and certification of the need for accommodation.  The time off need not be paid, and employers may require employees to use any available paid time off during any leave provided as an accommodation.  Time off for victims of domestic violence is not required where it will cause an undue hardship, with consideration given to the overall size and structure of the employer’s business, budget and workforce.  The law took effect November 18, 2019.