New York City Human Rights Law – Frequently Asked Questions

1. What legal protections are there for individuals who have been the victims of discriminatory conduct?

In New York, there are three broad sources of law that deal with discrimination against certain protected categories of individuals: federal, state and city laws. The applicable federal laws include, but are not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). New York state law includes the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). New York city law includes the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., has represented thousands of residents in the New York City area in discrimination related disputes. Our efforts have resulted in millions of dollars in monetary and non monetary benefits for our clients.

We would be happy to discuss your matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

2. What is the New York City Human Rights Law?

New York was the first state in the nation to enact a Human Rights Law (the New York State Human Rights Law), which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, credit, places of public accommodations, and non-sectarian educational institutions. New York City has also passed its own Human Rights Law (the New York City Human Rights law), which creates additional protections for all individuals within the city limits.

The New York City Human Rights Law, or Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, is one of the most comprehensive civil rights laws in the United States. The Law provides broader protection than either federal or state law. The Law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on an individual’s race, color, religion or creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, disability, marital status and partnership status, status as a victim of domestic violence or status as a victim of sex offenses or stalking, lawful occupation, family status, any lawful source of income, whether children are, may be or would be residing with a person or conviction or arrest record. In addition, the Law prohibits bias-related harassment and retaliation against employees for asserting their rights under the statute.

At Leeds Brown Law, PC, our reputation as leaders in the areas of discrimination, civil rights and sexual harassment law stems from the extensive experience and success our lawyers have had with such cases. We have achieved that success through hard work, devotion to our clients and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professional responsibility and ethical conduct.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

3.If I believe that I have been a victim of discrimination, whom should I contact?

If an individual believes that they have been discriminated against under the New York City Human Rights Law they can either file a lawsuit directly in court or file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR).

Under the dual filing arrangement between the NYCCHR and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an individual who believes their employer or potential employer has discriminated against them can file a complaint with the NYCCHR. Additionally, the individual can have the NYCCHR file that complaint with the EEOC if there is a claim under a federal law that the EEOC enforces, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On the other hand, if an individual files a complaint with the EEOC first, they can ask the EEOC to dual file with the NYCCHR.

Under dual filing arrangements, the dual filing preserves an individual’s rights under the federal, state or local law. Also, the entity with which an individual initially files a complaint typically retains the charge for investigation.

The specific rules and procedures for filing a complaint under the New York City Human Rights Law are complicated; an individual should first consult a qualified attorney.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., is dedicated to providing the highest quality guidance and representation to clients with a broad range of legal issues in Nassau County, throughout Long Island, and elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area. In many matters, our attorneys accept clients from throughout the United States as well. Over the last two decades, our attorneys have become widely known and respected, locally and nationally, for their ability to litigate complex legal issues effectively and for the results our firm has achieved, particularly in the areas of employment law, civil rights, discrimination and sexual harassment.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discuss your case with an attorney and discover how we can help you.

4. Is there a specific time period in which I must file my complaint?

Yes. The statute of limitations to file a charge of discrimination depends on where you file your complaint.

If you file a complaint under the New York City Human Rights Law in state court, you must file within three (3) years of the alleged discriminatory conduct or incident.

If you file a complaint under the New York City Human Rights Law with the NYCCHR, you must file within one (1) year of the alleged discriminatory conduct or incident.

If you file a complaint with the NYCCHR and have the NYCCHR dual file with the EEOC, you must file within 300 days in order to pursue your ADA claims in federal court. Similarly, if you file a charge initially with the EEOC and want the EEOC to dual file with the NYCCHR, you must file within the one-year deadline to preserve your rights with the NYCCHR. In order to protect your legal rights, it is advisable to contact the EEOC and/or an attorney as soon as discrimination is suspected.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., has extensive experience with discrimination and harassment matters. Our efforts have resulted in large monetary compensation for employees throughout Long Island and New York.

Our attorneys would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

5. Are all employers subject to the New York City Human Rights Law?

No. The New York City Human Rights Law applies to employers throughout New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island) with four (4) or more employees, including the city government, but not the state and federal governments. This provides more protection to individuals than the Americans with Disabilities Act, which covers employers with 15 or more employees and does not apply to the United States government or to bona fide private membership clubs. In addition, unlike Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, individual business owners and supervisors may be held liable under the New York City Human Rights Law.

Leeds Brown Law, PC, has represented thousands of residents in the New York City area in discrimination related disputes. Our efforts have resulted in millions of dollars in monetary and non monetary benefits for our clients.

We would be happy to discuss your matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

6. What does the New York City Human Rights Law prohibit with regards to one’s employment?

The Law prohibits discrimination in hiring and firing as well as work assignments, salary, benefits, promotions, performance evaluations, and discipline based upon an individual’s race, color, creed or religion, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, disability, arrest or conviction record, marital status, partnership status, or status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking and sex offenses. The Law also prohibits an employer or potential employer from making comments, asking questions during interviews or circulating job announcements that suggest a preference for or prejudice against hiring individuals who fall within certain protected categories. The Law also applies to employment agencies and labor organizations.

At Leeds Brown Law, PC we believe that discrimination at work, or anywhere else, has no place in a free and democratic society. The law agrees. More employers might agree too — if only they could feel the same kind of personal devastation, loss of self-esteem, desperation and depression that their victims do.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

7. What is a “disability”?

Pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law, “disability” is defined as “any physical, medical, mental or psychological impairment, or a history or record of such impairment.” This is more broadly defined than under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

At Leeds Brown Law, P.C., our reputation as leaders in the areas of discrimination, civil rights and sexual harassment law stems from the extensive experience and success our lawyers have had with such cases. We have achieved that success through hard work, devotion to our clients and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professional responsibility and ethical conduct.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

8. If I have a disability, is my employer or potential employer required to make reasonable accommodations?

Yes. If you have a disability, your employer or potential employer is required to make reasonable accommodations to support or enable you to perform and fulfill the requirements of your job. An accommodation must be reasonable in the sense that it will not create or cause an undue hardship in the operation of the employer’s business.

According to the New York City Human Rights Law, prospective employers are prohibited from asking applicants about the existence, nature or severity of a disability. However, a prospective employer may ask an applicant about their ability to perform specific job-related functions. It is the applicant’s responsibility to inform the prospective employer of a certain disability and, in turn, request an accommodation. If so, the prospective employer may request written documentation from the applicant’s health care provider to support such request for reasonable accommodations.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., is dedicated to providing the highest quality guidance and representation to clients with a broad range of legal issues in Nassau County, throughout Long Island, and elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area. In many matters, we accept clients from throughout the United States as well. Over the last two decades, our attorneys have become widely known and respected, locally and nationally, for their ability to litigate complex legal issues effectively and for the results our firm has achieved, particularly in the areas of employment law, civil rights, discrimination and sexual harassment.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

9. What are some examples of reasonable accommodations in the workplace?

Employers may provide various reasonable accommodations to their employees, including but not limited to, making existing workplace facilities readily accessible to and usable, acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, modification or work schedules, job restructuring, reassignment of positions, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, manuals or office policies, or providing qualified readers or interpreters.

Although employers or potential employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, they are not required to lower the quality or quantity standards of the job. Additionally, employers or potential employers are not obligated to provide individuals with personal items, such as hearing aids or eyeglasses.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., has represented thousands of residents in the New York City area in discrimination related disputes. Our efforts have resulted in millions of dollars in monetary and non monetary benefits for our clients.

We would be happy to discuss your matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to speak with an attorney and discover how we can help you.

10. Can an employer make medical inquiries or conduct a medical examination of applicants and potential employees?

No. An employer may not make medical inquiries or conduct a medical examination of potential employees until an official job offer has been made. If a medical examination is conducted, it must to be job-related and consistent with the employer’s business needs.

At Leeds Brown Law, P.C., our reputation as leaders in the areas of discrimination, civil rights and sexual harassment law stems from the extensive experience and success our lawyers have had with such cases. Our attorneys have achieved that success through hard work, devotion to our clients and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professional responsibility and ethical conduct.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

11. Are employers required to recognize and accommodate for the religious needs of their employees and potential employees?

Under the New York City Human Rights Law, employers are required to make a reasonable accommodation for the religious needs of their employees and potential employees. This includes flexibility for the observance of the Sabbath and other holy days or holidays. Moreover, if an employee takes time off from work for religious observance or tradition, the employer is not required to compensate the employee for the time taken off and may even require the employee to make up for the time taken off.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., is dedicated to providing the highest quality guidance and representation to clients with a broad range of legal issues in Nassau County, throughout Long Island, and elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area. In many matters, we accept clients from throughout the United States as well. Over the last two decades, our attorneys have become widely known and respected, locally and nationally, for their ability to litigate complex legal issues effectively and for the results our firm has achieved, particularly in the areas of employment law, civil rights, discrimination and sexual harassment.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

12. Does the New York City Human Rights Law protect an employee from sexual harassment in the workplace?

Yes. The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits all forms of gender-based discrimination, which includes gender identity and sexual harassment. Similar to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the New York City Human Rights Law provides that unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes unlawful sexual harassment when granting sexual favors is used as the basis for employment decisions or as a requirement to keep your job, and such conduct unreasonably interferes with job performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Both the victim and harasser can be a man or a woman. Sexual harassment can be verbal, physical or pictorial and can include: sexual comments, jokes, innuendos, pressure for dates or sexual interaction, sexual touching, sexual gestures, and sexual graffiti. Additionally, the complainant does not have to be the person at whom the offensive conduct is directed, but can actually be anyone who has been affected by the offensive conduct.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., has extensive experience with discrimination and harassment matters. Our efforts have resulted in large monetary compensation for employees throughout Long Island and New York.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

13. Can an employer retaliate against an employee or a potential employee for opposing an unlawful discriminatory practice or making a claim of discrimination?

No. Pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law, it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee or potential employee solely because he or she opposed an unlawful discriminatory practice or conduct, made a claim or charge of discrimination, or testified, assisted or participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing in regards to a discrimination claim. Moreover, the Law protects an employee or potential employee from employer retaliation so long as they have a reasonable good faith belief that the employer’s conduct is illegal, regardless of whether or not the employer’s conduct is ultimately determined to be illegal.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., has extensive experience with discrimination and harassment matters. Our efforts have resulted in large monetary compensation for employees throughout Long Island and New York.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

14. Does the New York City Human Rights Law apply to all housing accommodations in New York City?

The Law broadly covers any individual who resides in an apartment building, multiple family dwelling, co-op, condominium, government-assisted housing complex, or residential hotel. The Law does not, however, extend to residents of multi-family houses if the owner or a member of the owner’s family resides in one of the housing accommodations and the available housing accommodation was not publicly advertised. Additionally, the Law does not extend to individuals who rent room(s) in non-government assisted housing in which the owner of the property resides.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., has represented thousands of residents in the New York City area in discrimination related disputes. Our efforts have resulted in millions of dollars in monetary and non monetary benefits for our clients.

We would be happy to discuss your matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

15. What protections are afforded to individuals with disabilities in housing?

Under the New York City Human Rights Law, it is unlawful for landlords, superintendents, building managers, condominium owners, co-op owners and boards to discriminate in the sale, rental, or lease of a housing accommodation or in the provision of services and facilities based on an individual’s race, color, national origin, disability, age, creed or religious belief, gender (including gender identity), sexual orientation, marital status, partnership status, alienage, citizenship status, any lawful source of income, lawful occupation, or because children are or may be residing with the individual. Such prohibited conduct also includes discriminatory advertising and lending practices related to housing accommodations.

Under the Law, landlords, co-ops and condominiums are required to provide reasonable accommodations for the needs of disabled tenants, shareholders or owners. Reasonable accommodations in housing may be structural or involve policy or rule changes and exceptions. The Law also requires the landlord, co-op or condominium to pay for reasonable accommodations in common areas.

If you have a disability requiring accommodation in your housing facility, it is advisable to inform the landlord of your disability and request a necessary accommodation. In doing so, you may need to provide your landlord proof of your existing disability, as well as a description of the functional limitations that your disability imposes.

At Leeds Brown Law, P.C., our reputation as leaders in the areas of discrimination, civil rights and sexual harassment law stems from the extensive experience and success our lawyers have had with such cases. We have achieved that success through hard work, devotion to our clients and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professional responsibility and ethical conduct.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

16. Does the New York City Human Rights Law apply to public accommodations?

A “public accommodation” includes anyone who provides goods and/or services to the general public. Some examples include stores, banks, medical or dental offices, government agencies, hair salons, health clubs, hospitals, hotels, libraries, theaters, restaurants, schools, and taxis.

The New York City Human Rights Law makes it unlawful for a public accommodation to withhold or refuse to provide goods and/or services, charge a different amount for the same goods and/or services, set different terms for obtaining those goods and/or services, discourage certain people from using or purchasing them, or advertise or make statements that would make an individual feel unwelcome because of his or her race, color, creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity), sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and partnership status.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., is dedicated to providing the highest quality guidance and representation to clients with a broad range of legal issues in Nassau County, throughout Long Island, and elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area. In many matters, we accept clients from throughout the United States as well. Over the last two decades, our attorneys have become widely known and respected, locally and nationally, for their ability to litigate complex legal issues effectively and for the results our firm has achieved, particularly in the areas of employment law, civil rights, discrimination and sexual harassment.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

17. What protections are afforded to individuals with disabilities in regards to access to public accommodations?

Individuals with disabilities often require reasonable accommodations to safely and independently enter and/or use a public accommodation. The New York City Human Rights Law requires that providers of public accommodations make reasonable efforts to grant easy access and services to all customers and members of the public. Reasonable accommodations may include structural alterations, such as constructing a ramp or providing more accessible parking spaces, or certain changes in policy, such as permitting service animals to accompany a disabled person into a public establishment.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., has extensive experience with discrimination and harassment matters. Our efforts have resulted in large monetary compensation for employees throughout Long Island and New York.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

18. What is “bias-related harassment or violence”?

“Bias-related harassment or violence” is certain conduct that is motivated solely by the victim’s race, color, creed or religious beliefs, national origin, gender (including gender identity), sexual orientation, age, marital or partnership status, family status, disability, alienage or citizenship status. Examples of bias motivated conduct include, but not limited to, patterns of threatening verbal harassment, cyber bullying, the use of force, intimidation, coercion, undue influence or duress, or defacing or damaging real or personal property.

Bias-related harassment or violence is an extremely serious issue. With regards to any bias-related harassment or a violent bias-motivated crime, a victim should immediately report such conduct to the police, as well as report the incident to the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., is dedicated to providing the highest quality guidance and representation to clients with a broad range of legal issues in Nassau County, throughout Long Island, and elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area. In many matters, we accept clients from throughout the United States as well. Over the last two decades, our attorneys have become widely known and respected, locally and nationally, for their ability to litigate complex legal issues effectively and for the results our firm has achieved, particularly in the areas of employment law, civil rights, discrimination and sexual harassment.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

19. Does the New York City Human Rights Law provide for attorneys fees for victims?

Yes. Unlike the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York City Human Rights Law provides for attorney’s fees. The Law states that “[i]n any civil action commenced pursuant to this section, the court, in its discretion, may award the prevailing party costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.”

Leeds Brown Law, P.C., has represented thousands of residents in the New York City area in discrimination related disputes. Our efforts have resulted in millions of dollars in monetary and non monetary benefits for our clients.

We would be happy to discuss your matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

20. What remedies or relief are available to victims under the New York City Human Rights Law?

If an individual proves discrimination in violation of the Law, numerous remedies may be available including hiring, reinstatement, promotion, back pay, front pay, benefits, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and costs associated with supporting their complaint of discrimination.

At Leeds Brown Law, P.C., our reputation as leaders in the areas of discrimination, civil rights and sexual harassment law stems from the extensive experience and success our lawyers have had with such cases. We have achieved that success through hard work, devotion to our clients and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professional responsibility and ethical conduct.

We would be happy to discuss your discrimination or harassment matter in confidence, and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.