Senator Metzger’s ‘Boss Bill’ Signed Into Law, Protecting Employee Medical Privacy and Mending Holes in NY Anti-Discrimination Law

Albany, NY…Last Friday evening, State Senator Jen Metzger’s bill was signed into law ensuring that employees and their dependents will be able to make personal decisions about their reproductive healthcare without fear of reprisal from their employers. The bill passed the Legislature in January with overwhelming bipartisan support.

While HIPAA policies are in place to protect an employee’s medical privacy, employers can access information from insurance summaries and other human resources documents to learn about an employee’s healthcare decisions. Safeguarding New Yorkers and working families, the ‘Boss’ law prohibits employers from accessing an employee's personal information, and newly added section 203-e of New York State Labor law now also prohibits any subsequent discrimination or penalization for matters having nothing to do with job performance, namely an employee's or an employee's dependent's reproductive health decision-making.

“No one should have to fear that they will lose their job or be demoted because of their own, private reproductive health decisions,” said Senator Metzger. “Choosing if and when to have children, what prescription drugs to take or medical services to access, are decisions for individuals and their families and not their employers. With threats to basic reproductive healthcare looming at the federal level, protecting New Yorkers with this legislation is more vital than ever.”

Robin Chappelle Golston, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts said, “Thanks to the leadership of Senator Metzger, Assemblymember Jaffee, and Governor Cuomo, employees of New York are protected against discrimination in the workplace for their reproductive decision making. The decisions you make about your reproductive health care are your own and should be respected as personal and private by all – including employers.”

Carried by Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee (AD-97), a bill closing the loophole in New York’s workplace anti-discrimination laws had passed in the Assembly each year since 2014.

related legislation