All about New York City’s Anti-Discrimination City Human Rights Law

Employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in New York can be punished pursuant to the City Human Rights Law. Let’s review the basics of this crucial law.

1. On discrimination based on classes:

Employers may not hire or fire individuals — or assign work projects, salary/benefits, and so forth — based upon a number of criteria, including:

• Citizenship status
• National origin
• Creed
• Color
• Race
• Age
• Sexual orientation
• Marital status
• Physical/mental disability
• Arrest record
• Victim status (of offenses such as violence and stalking)

2. On disability discrimination in NY:

The City Human Rights Law of New York requires employers to provide ‘reasonable accommodation’ for workers who have medical, mental, or physical impairments or a history of said impairments. To provide accommodation, employers must modify job schedules, restructure positions to accommodate for disabilities, provide interpreters and readers, and modify, adjust or acquire certain devices and training procedures.

3. On reasonable accommodations required for the religiously observant:

Bosses and managers must make ‘reasonable accommodation’ for people who are religiously inclined. For instance, if a religious person requires time off for the Sabbath, his employer should accommodate said request in general. But the law does not require the employer to pay for time off; and you may have to make up the time later on.

4. On sexual harassment in New York:

Sexual harassment is gender discrimination that includes unwelcome physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature. For instance, if a boss requests that you perform a sexual favor in exchange for a promotion or job assignment, that would be considered sexual harassment under the law. Similarly, if pervasive taunts prevent you from doing your job, this could constitute actionable harassment.

5. On retaliation:

Employers who lash out against employees who complain about harassment, discrimination, and other workplace problems can be punished for retaliation. Even if your allegations of impropriety get dismissed, as long as you had a good faith belief that a discriminatory practice had been going on, your employer cannot retaliate against you.

Could the New York City Human Rights Law apply to your workplace problem? For quality guidance from some of the top anti-discrimination and harassment attorneys in the nation, call (212) 688-5640 to speak with counsel at Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP. Find out more about our credentials at

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