FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2011
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION AMENDING THE CITY’S HUMAN RIGHTS LAW REGARDING THE DUTY OF EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES
Remarks by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
“The final bill before me today is Introductory Number 632-A, sponsored by Council Members Weprin, Chin, Fidler, James, Koslowitz, Van Bramer, Rose, Levin, Jackson, Dromm, Gennaro, Nelson, Crowley, Lander, Williams and Ulrich.
“Introductory Number 632-A amends the City’s Human Rights Law with respect to the duty of employers to provide a reasonable accommodation for religious observances of their employees and prospective employees. Our City Human Rights Law already requires employers to “make reasonable accommodation to the religious needs” of employees, and specifies that a “reasonable accommodation” shall not cause undue hardship on the employer’s business. This bill adds clarity to our local law by providing that “undue hardship” for the employer is something involving “significant expense or difficulty”, which is language already used in the State Human Rights Law, with which the City already complies.
“This legislation contains a non-exhaustive list of factors to be considered in determining whether an accommodation would pose an undue economic hardship, and also provides that an accommodation poses undue hardship if it results in an employee being unable to perform the essential functions of the employee’s job. Our City government already follows this standard as an employer, and has an EEO Policy (available on the web site of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services) which prohibits denial of reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs that do not create an undue hardship.
“I would like to thank Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Patricia Gatling and her staff for their work on this bill along with my Office of City Legislative Affairs. I would also like to thank the City Council for approving this legislation.”
Stu Loeser/Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958
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