Continuing with its’ busy employment legislation season, New York has amended the Human Rights Law to prohibit discrimination based on religious attire, clothing and facial hair. The law becomes effective on October 8, 2019. The law already prohibited employers from treating applicants or employees differently because of their religion, but the amendment makes clear that the definition of religion includes bias against any employee’s religious clothing, facial hair or attire. The law puts the burden on the employer to show that appearance, such as facial hair or the wearing of religious items would present a hazard or prevent a worker from doing his or her job. An employer engages in unlawful discrimination when it requires an employee to violate or forgo religious practice unless it demonstrates that it is unable to reasonably accommodate the employee’s religious practice without undue hardship on its’ business.
As always, check with us if you have questions regarding your employment practices.