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Employment Laws in New York

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on December 13, 2011.

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Employers in New York must conform to these state rules relating to the employment relationship.

Employee does not include an individual employed by his or her parents, spouse or child or in the domestic service of any person.

Employer does not include an employer with fewer than four persons in its employ.

Prohibited Employment Discrimination

It is an unlawful discriminatory employment practice for employers to base hiring or employment decisions on:

  • age
  • race
  • creed
  • color
  • national origin
  • sex
  • disability
  • marital status
  • sexual orientation
  • genetic condition

Use of lawful products. Discrimination based on legal use of consumable products outside the course of employment is also prohibited.

Religious accommodation leave. It is an unlawful discriminatory employment practice for employers to refuse to permit employees to use leave solely because the leave will be used to accommodate the employees' religious observances or practices.

Displaying the American flag. Employers may not discriminate against employees for displaying the American flag on themselves or at their work stations.

Nursing in the workplace. An employer can not discriminate in any way against an employee who chooses to express breast milk in the workplace.

Arrest records. It is an unlawful discriminatory practice, unless specifically permitted or required by statute, for any person, agency, bureau, corporation, or association to make any inquiry about or to act upon adversely to the individual involved any arrest or criminal accusation of the individual which is not pending and which was followed by termination in favor of the individual, including youthful offender adjudication or by a conviction that is sealed by law.

Health care whistle-blower law. New York's health care whistle-blower law bars retaliation against employees who render medical treatment.

Domestic violence victims. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against victims of domestic violence or stalking based upon status as a domestic violence victim.

New York Marriage Equality Act. Effective June 24, 2011, marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples are treated equally under the law.

Recordkeeping/Posting Requirements

Every employer that is subject to the Human Rights Law must post and maintain at its workplaces, notices furnished by the Division of Human Rights, excerpting the law. Notices must be conspicuously displayed in easily accessible and well-lighted places customarily frequented by employees and applicants for employment.

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