‘Boss Bill’ Proposed in NY State in Response to Hobby Lobby Case

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A bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees on the basis of the employees’ use of reproductive healthcare services passed in a bipartisan Assembly vote in June. The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, passed by a margin of 106-30 and now awaits a vote in the state Senate.

In urging the Senate to vote on what has been dubbed the “Boss Bill,” Jaffee and Sen. Liz Krueger emphasized the importance of allowing New Yorkers to make their own health care decisions, particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s June 30 ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. That ruling allows closely held companies an exemption from a provision in the Affordable Care Act that mandates the coverage of contraceptives, provided that any such company objects on religious principle.

Although the “Boss Bill” would not affect employers’ health care offerings, the proposed legislation does close a loophole that would permit employers to discriminate against employees who use certain health care services, with controversial reproductive care being the likeliest target of any employer retaliation. The passage of the bill would be in line with New York’s general pattern of providing the state’s working population with maximum protection from discrimination.

Issues surrounding pregnancy, reproductive health and family planning are rife with controversy, but the guiding principle of the “Boss Bill” is that people should be able to make their own choices when it comes to reproduction. Just as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects pregnant women from poor treatment in the workplace, including from discrimination in hiring, the “Boss Bill” hopes to protect women who choose to use birth control and other products and services related to reproductive health. Perhaps most importantly, it reinforces the idea that medical privacy should exist between workers and their employers.

If you believe you have experienced employment discrimination in NY-NJ-PA based on pregnancy or choices related to reproductive health, contact a Manhattan employment discrimination attorney with the Derek T. Smith Law Group right away.

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