1 How Does NY State Protect Against Employment Discrimination?
There are many federal statutes dealing with employment discrimination. But
(like most states) also provides a separate array of protections, which in many instances overlap the protections of federal law.
2 What Specifically Does NY Prohibit?
’s Human Rights Law recognizes as a civil right the right
to be free from employment discrimination based on age, race, creed,
color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, marital status, or disability. Some of these categories are not protected under federal law. There are also protections for a person not to be denied employment due
to a criminal conviction. Going beyond issues relating to employment,
also provides that the opportunity to obtain education and use
places of public accommodation is similarly a civil right. As of November 29, 2010, there is also a special provision of the law specifically addressing sexual harassment of domestic workers. There are
also provisions for discrimination on the basis of “predisposing genetic
characteristics” and status as the victim of domestic violence.
3 Are There Protections Against Retaliation?
Retaliation against those who complain of any unlawful discriminatory acts or who testify or assist in any legal proceeding is unlawful.
4 Who Can Be Pursued For Discrimination?
While federal anti-discrimination law requires that an employer have a minimum of 15 or 20 employees (depending on the type of discrimination),
law requires only that there be at least four employees. The state law applies not only to employers, but to employment agencies and labor organizations.
5 What Happens After A Complaint Is Filed?
Within 180 days of the filing of a complaint, the division will determine whether it has jurisdiction and, if so, if there is probable cause to believe that the person complained of has engaged in an unlawful discriminatory practice.
The division may also dismiss a complaint on grounds of “administrative convenience,” in which case the complainant has the right to sue the employer or other entity directly.
Within 270 days after filing a complaint (or 120 days after a court has reversed and remanded the Division’s order dismissing a complaint for lack of jurisdiction or lack of probable cause), the Division may require the respondent to answer the complaint and appear at a public hearing.
If the complaint is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or lack of probable cause, complainant may appeal to the NYS Supreme Court within 60 days thereafter.
6 When Must A Discrimination Complaint Be Filed?
A complaint must be filed within one year after the alleged discriminatory practice.
7 What About Out-Of-State Discrimination?
If the discriminatory acts occurred outside the state, but a resident of the state was discriminated against, the Human Rights Law applies.
8 Is There A Right To Sue Under State Law?
Unless one files a complaint with State Division or a local human rights agency (such as the NYC Commission on Human Rights), there is a right to sue for damages and other remedies. If the Division dismisses the complaint on the grounds of administrative convenience, untimeliness, or on the grounds that the election of remedies is annulled, the person may sue just as though no complaint had been filed with the Division.
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