New York City, NY: Amended Human Rights Law Strengthens Protections


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These five amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) are designed to strengthen civil protections and prevent discrimination, among other changes. They are:

  • Civil Rights Protections:  Effective immediately, the NYCHRL must be interpreted liberally and independently to accomplish “uniquely broad and remedial purposes”; likewise, exceptions and exemptions from the NYCHRL must be narrowly construed in order to “maximize deterrence of discriminatory conduct.”
  • Discrimination of Sexual Orientation: Effective immediately, NYC Admin. Code § 8-107(16) is repealed.  Section 16 was considered to be antiquated and an indirect attack on sexual orientation, because it contained disclaimers about the applicability of the NYCHRL to sexual orientation.  The repeal of this section closes prior loopholes for discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • Attorney’s Fees:  Effective immediately, the Commission will be able to award attorney’s fees, expert fees, and other costs when adjudicating complaints, and may consider factors specific to the issue when determining attorney’s fee awards, such as: (1) the novelty/difficulty of issues presented; (2) the skill and experience of the complainant’s attorney; and (3) the hourly rate charged by attorneys of similar skill and experience litigating similar cases.
  • Discrimination in Public Accommodations:  Effective July 26, 2016, franchisors, franchisees and lessors are added to the list of entities who are prohibited from (1) offering anyone who is, or is perceived to be, a member of a protected class the same benefits or privileges others receive in such a way that the protected individual does not receive the “full and equal enjoyment” of such benefits on “equal terms and conditions”; and (2) using discriminatory advertisements and public statements.
  • Landlords/Real Estate Agents: Effective July 26, 2016, landlords and other agents of real estate are prohibited from refusing to sell, rent, lease or otherwise deny interest in a housing accommodation due to an individual’s status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking.

Action Items:

  1. Review policies and practices for compliance with all amendments to the NYCHRL.
  2. Contact ManagEase at (888) 230-3231 for assistance in adjusting handbooks or written policies to comply with the new requirements.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2016 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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