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Settlement Protects Hhc Workers’ Religious Rights

City Hospitals To Make Accommodations

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a settlement with the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country, and Jacobi Medical Center, a facility within that network, to safeguard all employees’ rights to religious accommodations.

The settlement requires the institutionalization of best practices at HHC’s several facilities, and ensures that employees’ religious accommodations requests will be handled in accordance with the New York State Human Rights Law, New York City Human Rights Law, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Protecting the religious rights of all New Yorkers is an important priority of my office,” said Schneiderman. “Our society honors the balance of a person’s religious commitments with his or her responsibilities in the workplace, and the law protects these rights. We are pleased that HHC and Jacobi have taken these critical steps to improve upon, and institutionalize, necessary religious accommodation policies to ensure a proper balance for all of their employees.”

After the Attorney General’s office began a formal investigation into religious observance practices, HHC and Jacobi agreed to make acrossthe board changes in order to amicably resolve this matter. The settlement requires all hospitals and medical facilities within the HHC network, including Jacobi, to implement a uniform policy on the review and granting of religious accommodations requests, conduct regular training on that policy and the law, and develop an internal complaint system. Additionally, Jacobi will regularly report to the Attorney General on the implementation of these procedures.

In November 2011, Schneiderman launched the Religious Rights Initiative, which is dedicated to combating religious discrimination, investigating religious freedom violations and ensuring that anti-discrimination laws are aggressively enforced. The Religious Rights Initiative targets faith-based discrimination and violations of religious rights through public education, outreach and law enforcement, including litigation.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Allegra Chapman and was previously also handled by former Assistant Attorney General Kayla Gassmann, under the supervision of Civil Rights Bureau Chief Kristen Clarke, Chief Counsel for Civil Rights Spencer Freedman, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Janet Sabel, with the assistance of Alyson Spindell, Director of Community Affairs and Engagement for Religious Rights.

The Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau is committed to combating discrimination and protecting the rights of all New Yorkers. To file a complaint with the Bureau, call 1- 212-416-8250 or send an e-mail to civil.rights@ag.ny.gov.

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