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THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL PASSES BILLS MANDATING PROCEDURES ON REQUESTING FLEXIBLE WORK SCHEDULES AND REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULES

On December 6, 2017, The New York City Council passed the “Fair Workweek Law” which protect employees who seek temporary changes to work schedules for personal events.

This amendment entitles New York City employees to request temporary schedule changes twice per calendar year, without retaliation, in certain situations, e.g., caregiver emergency, attendance at a legal proceeding involving subsistence benefits, or safe or sick time under the New York City administrative code.

The bill establishes procedures for employees to request temporary work schedule changes and employer responses.
Not all employees are protected by the Fair Workweek Law. If the employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement; or have been employed for fewer than 120 days; or work less than 80 hours in the city in a calendar year; or work in the theater, film, or television industries, then they may not avail themselves of the Fair Workweek Law.

REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS

The New York City Human Rights Law defines “reasonable accommodation” as “such accommodation that can be made that shall not cause undue hardship in the conduct of the covered entity’s business. The covered entity shall have the burden of proving undue hardship.”

On December 19, 2017, the New York City Council amended the New York City Human Rights Law to require covered organizations to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with individuals who may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation.

Covered organizations include employers, providers of public accommodations and providers of housing accommodations.
The term “cooperative dialogue” means the process by which a covered entity and an individual who may be entitled to an accommodation engage in a discussion to identify what reasonable accommodations are available to assist the individual. The bill requires the covered organization to provide the individual requesting an accommodation a written final determination identifying any accommodation granted or denied.

This determination may only be made after the parties have engaged, or the covered entity has attempted to engage, in the “cooperative dialogue.”

New York City employers should be prepared to comply with the new requirements.