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New York City Human Rights Act

The NYC Human Rights Law, Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, prohibits discrimination in New York City. Individuals are protected from discrimination in many areas, based on a number of protected classes.

Areas Covered by the Human Rights Law:
• Employment (interns, whether paid or not, are considered employees)
• Housing (rentals and home ownership, including lending practices)
• Public accommodations (doctor's offices, stores, theaters, stadiums, taxi cabs, etc.)
• Retaliation
• Discriminatory harassment
• Bias-based profiling by law enforcement

Protected Classes under the Human Rights Law:
• Age
• Alienage or citizenship status
• Color
• Disability
• Gender (including sexual harassment)
• Gender Identity
• Marital status and partnership status
• National origin
• Pregnancy and Lactation Accommodations
• Race
• Religion/Creed
• Sexual orientation
• Status as a Veteran or Active Military Service Member

Additional protections are afforded in employment based on:
• Arrest or conviction record
• Caregiver
• Credit history
• Unemployment status
• Sexual and Reproductive Health Decisions
• Salary History
• Status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, and sex offenses

Additional protections are afforded in housing based on:
• Lawful occupation
• Lawful source of income
• The presence of children
• Status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, and sex offenses

The alleged act of discrimination must have taken place within, or have sufficient connection to, the five boroughs of New York City for a complaint to be filed with the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

A person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in violation of the NYCHRL may either file a complaint with the New York City Human Rights Commission, which will investigate and decide the claim, or file a lawsuit directly in court, but not both. This is an “election of remedies” provision and, with few exceptions, strictly limits the employee’s choice of which remedial path to pursue. There is a one-year statute of limitations for filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission and a three-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in court.

Because the rules and procedures under the NYCHRL are complicated, a person who believes he or she has been discriminated should consult promptly with a qualified employment lawyer.




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