Employment Law Developments for New York Brewers

Needless to say, it is tough to be an employer in New York. The laws and legal requirements relating to the employer-employee relationship are constantly changing and it takes a lot to be compliant and up to date. Let’s see if we can help just a bit. The following is a list of recent amendments to the New York State Human Rights Law and its regulations that all craft brewers (with at least four or more employees) should be aware of when making employment decisions:

  • Pursuant to the New York State Human Rights Law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees based on their “familial status.” Employers may not base any employment-related decision on the fact that an employee is pregnant, has a child or is in the process of obtaining custody of any individual who has not attained the age of eighteen years. According to the sponsor’s memorandum, this law was intended to protect women with children because they were less likely to be hired and recommended for promotion and are frequently offered less salary than men, but the law also equally applies to men with children;
  • Employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants and employees “because of that individual’s known relationship or association with a member or members of a protected category.” Otherwise known as “associational discrimination,” recent regulations extend protection against “unlawful discriminatory practices” not only to individuals who are actually members of a protected category, but also to an individual who has a “known relationship” or “association” with someone who is a member of a protected category;
  • Employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants and employees because of their gender identity or transgender status and must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who have gender dysphoria, which is a medical condition where an individual has a gender identity different than the sex assigned at birth; and
  • Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees for “pregnancy related medical conditions,” unless those accommodations would create an undue hardship. Possible accommodations include a stool to sit on, extra restroom breaks, transfer away from hazardous duties, a temporary reprieve from heavy lifting or a reasonable time for child-birth recovery.

Take a breath and relax. I know the foregoing is a lot to take in. If you have any questions regarding any of the above-listed requirements, please contact your local labor and employment attorney.


Christopher Gegwich