June 12, 2017

Assembly Passes "Boss Bill" Legislation to Protect Employee Privacy in Reproductive Choice

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee today announced the passage of legislation that would bar employers from discriminating against an employee on the basis of the individual's or their dependent's reproductive health decision making (A.566-A, Jaffee).

"The Assembly Majority has been a longstanding defender of an individual's constitutional rights to privacy and freedom over their reproductive health choices," said Speaker Heastie. "It is an egregious violation of those rights for an employer to discriminate against an employee for exercising their own, or any of their dependents' reproductive health options."

Known as the "Boss Bill," this measure would prohibit employers from accessing an employee's personal information regarding reproductive health decision making or imposing any requirements that would obstruct an employee's ability to exercise their right to make these decisions and access related health and medical services. Additionally, the bill would take steps to ensure that employees are notified of their right to freely exercise their reproductive health choices and provides for remedies and penalties for employers who violate these rights.

"This legislation guarantees New York women the freedom and fundamental right to make personal reproductive health care decisions without fear of reprisal from their employers," said Assemblywoman Jaffee. "The Boss Bill continues New York's long history of protecting individuals from discrimination in the workplace by strengthening and expanding state law to ensure that an employer cannot retaliate against an employee because the employee or their dependent accessed care related to pregnancy, family planning or any reproductive health service."

Despite the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, women have faced numerous challenges in exercising their constitutionally protected right to make reproductive health decisions over their own bodies. The most recent efforts to block this cornerstone of women's equality have sought to limit access to the health services and contraceptive devices that women and families have come to rely on for family planning needs. By prohibiting workplace discrimination and outlawing retaliation against employees who excercise their constitutional right to choose, this legislation would continue New York's commitment to defending reproductive choice.