senate Bill S6578B

Relates to the prohibition of discrimination based on an individual's or a dependent's reproductive health decision making

download pdf

Sponsor

Co-Sponsors

view all co-sponsors

Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
view actions

actions

  • 07 / Feb / 2014
    • REFERRED TO LABOR
  • 24 / Feb / 2014
    • AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO LABOR
  • 24 / Feb / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 6578A
  • 28 / May / 2014
    • AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO LABOR
  • 28 / May / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 6578B
  • 03 / Jun / 2014
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.1192
  • 09 / Jun / 2014
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 10 / Jun / 2014
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 20 / Jun / 2014
    • COMMITTED TO RULES

Summary

Relates to the prohibition of discrimination based on an individual's or a dependent's reproductive health decision making.

do you support this bill?

Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A8769A
Versions:
S6578
S6578A
S6578B
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Rules
Law Section:
Labor Law
Laws Affected:
Add §203-e, Lab L
Versions Introduced in 2013-2014 Legislative Cycle:
A8769

Votes

9
0
9
Aye
0
Nay
6
aye with reservations
1
absent
0
excused
0
abstained
show Labor committee vote details

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6578B

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the labor law, in relation to
discrimination based on an employee's or a dependent's reproductive
health decision making

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To prohibit employers from
discriminating against employees based on the employees' or
dependent's reproductive health decisions, and to provide remedies for
such violations.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 amends the labor law by adding a new section 203-e to
prohibit discrimination based on an employee's or an employee's
dependent's reproductive health decision making. This section
prohibits an employer from accessing an employee's personal
information regarding the employee's or the dependent's reproductive
health decision making, including but not limited to, the decision to
use or access a particular drug, device or medical service without the
employee's prior informed, affirmative written consent.

This section also prohibits discrimination against an employee on the
basis of the employee's or a dependent's reproductive health decision
making, including, but not limited to, a decision to use or access a
particular drug, device or medical service. It also prohibits
discrimination based on an employer's personal beliefs about such
services.

This section also makes clear that the bill does not conflict with any
other employee protections provided through any provision of law or
collective bargaining unit.

This section also provides that in a civil action alleging a violation
of this law, the court may award the plaintiff damages that include
back pay, benefits and reasonable attorney's fees and costs. In
addition, the court may order reinstatement or afford injunctive
relief against an employer in violation of this law. The court may
also award the plaintiff liquidated damages equal to one hundred
percent of the award for damages, unless an employer proves a good
faith basis to believe that its actions were in compliance with the
law.

This section also provides that retaliation against an employee
exercising rights granted under this law shall subject an employer to
separate civil penalties.

Section 2 establishes the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: This bill ensures that employees are able to make
their own reproductive health care decisions without incurring adverse
employment consequences because of their employers' personal beliefs
about those decisions.

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) recently required that health
insurance plans cover FDA-approved birth control methods without
out-of-pocket costs. Some for-profit employers have attempted to


prevent employees from accessing this benefit because it conflicts
with their personal beliefs. As a result, over 100 federal lawsuits
have been filed by employers to deny employees this benefit, including
employers operating in New York State.

Employers should not be able to discriminate or interfere in
employees' personal medical decisions because of the employer's
personal beliefs.

While federal and state laws have been enacted which demonstrate a
commitment to protect individuals against employment discrimination,
loopholes exist which leave employees vulnerable to discrimination
based on their reproductive health decisions. The Legislature must
ensure that the legal loopholes are corrected to ensure that
employees' decisions about pregnancy, contraception, and reproductive
health are also protected under state law.

This bill is not about insurance coverage and is not intended to
require coverage for any health care service, drug or device.

This bill would prevent an employer from discriminating against
employees based on reproductive health decisions, regardless of how
the employer became aware of those decisions. The Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does offer a high level of
confidentiality with regard to medical care and decisions. However, an
employer does receive health insurance utilization summaries, which
are distributed to each employer on a regular basis. In these reports,
personally identifiable information is excluded to comply with privacy
protections of HIPAA. However, in some cases, an individual's identity
may still be deduced by an employer based on the nature of the service
and composition of the insured class reported in the summaries. While
a violation of HIPAA would be an actionable violation of privacy,
there are other avenues in which an employer may become aware of their
employees personal information. It is not unlikely that this
information could be unintentionally disclosed by a co-worker,
discovered through social media or electronic surveillance currently
available, or even disclosed through a personal admission by the
employee. Reproductive health care decisions, while usually kept
private, should not become society's new version of "Don't Ask, Don't
Tell". Employees must be protected from discrimination based on the
reproductive health care decisions they make. This legislation will
provide that protection.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is new legislation.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This Act shall take effect immediately

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 6578--B

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 7, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens. KRUEGER, AVELLA, DILAN, HASSELL-THOMPSON, HOYLMAN,
  MONTGOMERY, PARKER, PERALTA,  SERRANO,  STAVISKY  --  read  twice  and
  ordered  printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on
  Labor -- committee discharged,  bill  amended,  ordered  reprinted  as
  amended  and  recommitted  to  said committee -- committee discharged,
  bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended  and  recommitted  to  said
  committee

AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to discrimination based on an
  employee's or a dependent's reproductive health decision making

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. The labor law is amended by adding a new section  203-e  to
read as follows:
  S  203-E.  PROHIBITION  OF  DISCRIMINATION BASED ON AN EMPLOYEE'S OR A
DEPENDENT'S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH DECISION MAKING. 1. AN EMPLOYER SHALL BE
PROHIBITED FROM ACCESSING AN EMPLOYEE'S PERSONAL  INFORMATION  REGARDING
THE  EMPLOYEE'S  OR THE EMPLOYEE'S DEPENDENT'S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH DECI-
SION MAKING, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE DECISION TO USE OR ACCESS
A PARTICULAR DRUG, DEVICE OR  MEDICAL  SERVICE  WITHOUT  THE  EMPLOYEE'S
PRIOR INFORMED AFFIRMATIVE WRITTEN CONSENT.
  2. AN EMPLOYER SHALL NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST AN EMPLOYEE WITH RESPECT
TO  COMPENSATION, TERMS, CONDITIONS, OR PRIVILEGES OF EMPLOYMENT BECAUSE
OF OR ON THE BASIS OF THE EMPLOYEE'S OR DEPENDENT'S REPRODUCTIVE  HEALTH
DECISION  MAKING,  INCLUDING,  BUT  NOT LIMITED TO, A DECISION TO USE OR
ACCESS A PARTICULAR DRUG, DEVICE OR MEDICAL SERVICE, OR BECAUSE OF OR ON
THE BASIS OF AN EMPLOYER'S PERSONAL BELIEFS ABOUT SUCH SERVICES.
  3. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO LIMIT ANY  RIGHTS  OF
AN  EMPLOYEE  PROVIDED  THROUGH ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW OR COLLECTIVE
BARGAINING UNIT.
  4. AN EMPLOYEE MAY BRING A CIVIL ACTION  IN  ANY  COURT  OF  COMPETENT
JURISDICTION AGAINST AN EMPLOYER ALLEGED TO HAVE VIOLATED THE PROVISIONS
OF  THIS  SECTION.  IN  ANY  CIVIL  ACTION  ALLEGING A VIOLATION OF THIS
SECTION, THE COURT MAY:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13689-06-4

S. 6578--B                          2

  (A) AWARD DAMAGES, INCLUDING BACK PAY, BENEFITS AND REASONABLE  ATTOR-
NEYS' FEES AND COSTS INCURRED TO A PREVAILING PLAINTIFF;
  (B)  AFFORD  INJUNCTIVE  RELIEF  AGAINST  ANY EMPLOYER THAT COMMITS OR
PROPOSES TO COMMIT A VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION;
  (C) ORDER REINSTATEMENT; AND/OR
  (D) AWARD LIQUIDATED DAMAGES EQUAL TO ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE AWARD
FOR DAMAGES PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION (A) OF  THIS  SUBSECTION  UNLESS  AN
EMPLOYER  PROVES  A  GOOD  FAITH  BASIS  TO  BELIEVE THAT ITS ACTIONS IN
VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION WERE IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW.
  5. ANY ACT OF RETALIATION FOR AN EMPLOYEE EXERCISING ANY RIGHTS GRANT-
ED UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL SUBJECT AN EMPLOYER TO SEPARATE CIVIL PENAL-
TIES UNDER THIS SECTION. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS  SECTION,  RETALIATION
SHALL MEAN DISCHARGING OR OTHERWISE PENALIZING AN EMPLOYEE FOR:
  (A)  MAKING  OR  THREATENING  TO  MAKE,  A  COMPLAINT  TO AN EMPLOYER,
CO-WORKER, OR TO A  PUBLIC  BODY,  THAT  RIGHTS  GUARANTEED  UNDER  THIS
SECTION HAVE BEEN VIOLATED;
  (B)  CAUSING  TO BE INSTITUTED ANY PROCEEDING UNDER OR RELATED TO THIS
SECTION; OR
  (C) PROVIDING INFORMATION TO, OR TESTIFYING BEFORE,  ANY  PUBLIC  BODY
CONDUCTING AN INVESTIGATION, HEARING, OR INQUIRY INTO ANY SUCH VIOLATION
OF A LAW, RULE, OR REGULATION BY SUCH EMPLOYER.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.