Important reminder that, effective today, October 15, 2018, under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), employers must engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with applicants or employees in New York City with regard to reasonable accommodations in four (4) circumstances. More specifically, an employer must engage in the “cooperative dialogue” with:
- Victims of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking;
- Individuals with pregnancy and related conditions;
- Individuals with religious needs; and
- Individuals with disabilities.
It is important to remember that, under the NYCHRL, the following are defined very broadly:
- The definitions of the 4 circumstances set forth above under which there may be a duty to make reasonable accommodations.
- The triggering event for when the duty to engage in the cooperative dialogue may arise in determining whether a reasonable accommodation may exist.
- The scope of the cooperative dialogue (in contrast to the interactive dialogue under the ADA).
With regard to the last point, under the NYCHRL, employers must provide to the individual requesting an accommodation a written final determination identifying any accommodation granted or denied. This critical requirement does not exist under federal or any other state or local law (to the best of my knowledge). Note: even where there is no such legal requirement, documenting the analysis is generally recommended.
The City of New York has provided guidance on the cooperative dialogue with regard to disabilities: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/cchr/downloads/pdf/NYCCHR_LegalGuide-DisabilityFinal.pdf.
Guidance on the cooperative dialogue begins on page 51. The Guidance will be of some value for cooperative dialogues other than with regard to disabilities in terms of the process that New York City generally is looking for employers to follow.
Starting on page 112 are sample forms for the cooperative dialogue with regard to disabilities. These forms are a good starting point for employers, but should be reviewed by counsel for potential changes appropriate in light of other laws and/or the employer’s policies.
As always, this blog should not be construed as legal advice or as pertaining to specific factual situations.