New York Legislature Introduces “SIT Act” In Both Houses
Many New Yorkers have jobs where they are required to be up and around all day – but soon, they may have the ability to get off their feet for short periods of time, if it does not interfere with their work. In September 2022, the Standing Is Tiring (SIT) Act was introduced in both houses of the State Assembly. If passed, it would grant the ability for certain employees to sit while on the job, if they meet other criteria. This law may increase the ability of disabled workers to be self-sufficient in New York, if passed.
Bill Aims To Decrease Absenteeism Due To Injury
It is no secret that several studies have established a correlative link between standing for a period of hours and potentially serious health outcomes, including lower back pain, cardiovascular disease, and possible pregnancy complications. Many employers still ask their employees to stand all day, ostensibly out of concerns for ‘professionalism’ or ‘efficiency,’ but in many industries, the risk of injury and absenteeism must balance out those issues.
While some jobs cannot be done seated, some can, and the proposed bill would allow those employees whose work “reasonably permits” them to work in a chair. The decision as to whose duties would allow them to sit would be left not up to the employer, but to the New York Department of Labor, which would (at least in theory) eliminate any perceived bias if a worker decides to take advantage of this option. A private right of action (that is, the right to file suit) would be created against an employer who unjustly refused to allow an employee to sit.
Possible Boost To Disabled Applicants & Workers
In addition to the benefits of sitting for able-bodied workers, the SIT Act would be a demonstrable boon to disabled applicants and employees if passed. While New York State and City both provide significant protections for disabled workers, sometimes employers will still balk at granting reasonable accommodations to their disabled employees (with one of the most commonly sought accommodations being the right to sit down at work). This law might conceivably eliminate a barrier between disabled people and employment.
Under federal, state, and city law, an employer must grant an accommodation to a disabled employee if it is reasonable and would not be an undue burden on the employer. The term “undue burden” is subjective, with different companies being able to handle different degrees of accommodation – but allowing a person to sit while on the job is not an undue burden on the majority of employers. If the SIT Act passes, disabled applicants and employees will not have to fight for the right to sit down – they will simply be allowed to do so.
Contact A New York Employment Lawyer
While further discussion on the SIT Act has been shelved until the legislature reconvenes in January 2023, its possible passage would bring relief to many employees, particularly to disabled workers. If you have questions or concerns about reasonable accommodations at work, contacting a New York City employment discrimination attorney is a good idea. Mansell Law, LLC has handled many of these types of cases, and is ready to try and assist you with yours. Contact our office today at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation.