The NY Working Woman's Pocket Guide
If you are a victim of domestic violence, New York State provides certain rights and protections to ensure that you remain safe in the workplace.
Am I covered?
If you are a domestic violence victim and work for, or are applying to work for, an employer in New York State, then you are covered.
You are also be covered by the law if you are an independent contractor.*
*New York State law defines “non-employees” as contractor, subcontractor, vendor, consultant or other person providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace or who is an employee of such contractor, subcontractor, vendor, consultant or other person providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace.
What rights do I have as a domestic violence victim?
Your employer cannot discriminate against you (i.e. treat you less favorably than other employees because you are a victim of domestic violence). Domestic violence can include harassment, stalking, menacing, and disorderly conduct.
Your employer’s behavior has to have some kind of negative effect on your employment. This can include not being hired or fired, changes to your job role and responsibilities, changes to your schedule or job location, changes to your pay, or failure to get a promotion because you are a victim of domestic violence.
Your employer cannot punish you if you need to take time off to appear as a witness in a criminal case, consult with the District Attorney, or attend to other criminal legal matters related to the domestic violence you experienced.
In certain cases, if you leave your job voluntarily due to circumstances related to domestic violence, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
Do I have additional rights if I work in New York City?
Yes. If you work in New York City, you are legally protected from discrimination and are entitled to reasonable accommodations if you are a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking, regardless of employer size.
If you work in New York City, your employer must provide you with “reasonable accommodations” related to your needs as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking, unless it would be very difficult or expensive for them to do so.
- A reasonable accommodation might include your employer changing your phone number so that your abuser cannot call you at work.
Note: These laws apply to you regardless of your immigration or citizenship status.
Disclaimer: This information does not constitute legal advice.