“Boss Bill” Passes Assembly with Bipartisan Support Jaffee and Krueger Call for Senate Vote before Close of Session

Legislation Would Prohibit Discriminating Against Workers on the Basis of Their Reproductive Healthcare Decisions
June 19, 2014

(Albany, NY) – Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) today announced Assembly passage of the “Boss Bill” she sponsored. The bill (A. 8769A / S. 6578B.) banning employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their personal reproductive health decisions, passed 106-30, with bipartisan support. State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) who sponsored the bill in the Senate, applauded the Assembly's passage of the bill. Jaffee and Kreuger together called on the co-leaders of the Senate majority to permit a floor vote on the bill before the 2014 session comes to a close.

“This legislation, which passed with bipartisan support, guarantees NY women and men the freedom and fundamental right to make personal reproductive health care decisions without fear of reprisal from their employers,” said Assemblymember 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 or reproductive health service.”

The “Boss Bill,” would close a glaring loophole in New York’s existing workplace anti-discrimination laws. The bill’s introduction was prompted by the proliferation of more than 100 federal lawsuits by employers seeking to deny their employees the birth control coverage benefits they are guaranteed through their healthcare plans under the federal Affordable Care Act. A large national chain store operating in New York, Hobby Lobby is among the growing number of employers trying to cut employees off from access to birth control and other reproductive health services and the ability to make their own healthcare decisions. While this legislation would not directly affect employers' health insurance offerings and covered services, it would prevent discrimination or retaliation against employees for their use of healthcare services and their healthcare decisions, and it would reinforce medical privacy protections for employees.

“In New York, in the 21st century, no boss should be able to tell employees whether they can have access to birth control, or whether they have the right to be pregnant,” said Sen. Krueger. “This bill to protect women's and men's basic right to make their own reproductive health decisions passed with bipartisan support in the Assembly today, and it should pass the Senate and go to the governor's desk this year. It would send a deeply disturbing message if it doesn't.”

“With some employers going out of their way to cut off workers’ access to reproductive health care, here’s the question: will this legislature act to protect employees’ right to make their own healthcare decisions?” continued Sen. Krueger. “Today, the Assembly answered with a ‘yes’. I thank my colleague Ellen Jaffee for sponsoring the bill in the Assembly, and I thank the bipartisan majority of Assemblymembers who understand that regardless of one's personal feelings on contraception or abortion, discriminating against employees on the basis of their personal healthcare decisions is wrong and has no place in New York State. I now call upon Senate Majority Co-Leaders Skelos and Klein to bring this bill -- which achieved bipartisan support in the Assembly -- to the floor before the end of session.”