New York State Takes an Ax to the Workplace Glass Ceiling: New Legislation to Advance the Rights of Women and Transgender Individuals in the Workplace

November 24, 2015

On October 21, Governor Cuomo signed into New York State law five bills aimed at eliminating discrimination against women in the workplace. These laws, which take effect on January 19, 2016, add new protected classifications and remedies for workplace discrimination. Among other things, they strengthen the State’s existing pay equality law, require the provision of reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees, and protect workers against discrimination on the basis of family status.

In addition, on October 22 Governor Cuomo introduced new regulations protecting transgender workers. These regulations will go into effect after a 45-day comment period. They will carry the full force of law because the New York State Division of Human Rights has statutory authority to promulgate regulations interpreting the State Human Rights Law. However, it is possible that there will be legal challenges to Governor Cuomo’s use of his executive authority instead of the legislative process.

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