Thursday, August 11, 2016
CAN YOU REFUSE TO SERVE PREGNANT WOMAN ALCOHOL?
Not in NYC! Under Local Law No. 78 (2013); N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107(22):
"22. Employment; Pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.
(a) It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to refuse to provide a reasonable accommodation, as defined in subdivision eighteen o f section 8-102 of this chapter, to the needs of an employee for her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition that will allow the employee to perform the essential requisites of the job, provided that such employee's pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition is known or should have been known by the employer. In any case pursuant to this subdivision where the need for reasonable accommodation is placed in issue, it shall be an affirmative defense that the person aggrieved by the alleged discriminatory practice could not, with reasonable accommodation, satisfy the essential requisites of the job.
(b) Notice of rights. (i) An employer shall provide written notice in a form and manner to be determined by the commission of the right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions pursuant to this subdivision to: (1) new employees at the commencement of employment; and (2) existing employees within one hundred twenty days after the effective date of the local law that added this subdivision. Such notice may also be conspicuously posted at an employer's place of business in an area accessible to employees. (ii) The commission shall develop courses of instruction and conduct ongoing public education efforts as necessary to inform employers, employees, employment agencies, and job applicants about their rights and responsibilities under this subdivision.
(c) This subdivision shall not be construed to affect any other provision of law relating to sex discrimination or pregnancy, or in any way to diminish the coverage of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth under any other provision of this section."
That didn't cover it so in May, 2016, the Commission on Human Rights NYC Commission on Human Rights issued Legal Enforcement Guidance on Discrimination on the Basis of Pregnancy: Local Law No. 78 (2013); N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107(22) and stated in Section III (a) (2) (emphasis supplied):
"...While covered entities may attempt to justify certain categorical exclusions based on maternal or fetal safety, using safety as a pretext for discrimination or as a way to reinforce traditional gender norms or stereotypes is unlawful.
Examples of Violations
• A restaurant policy that prohibits staff from serving pregnant individuals raw fish or alcohol."
To view the guidelines, see http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/downloads/pdf/publications/Pregnancy_InterpretiveGuide_2016.pdf
Of course, under City Council Law 63, all food establishments selling alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption must still put up signs warning pregnant women that consuming alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects. It's just that woman are now free to drink anyway.