Discrimination

In New York City, employers cannot treat you in a discriminatory manner because of certain reasons. You may belong to a protected category, some of which are referred to in the list below, which are categories which the law protects. If your employer treats you in an adverse manner because of your protected category, that would be discrimination prohibited by law.

There are three broad sources of employment discrimination law in New York City. Federal, State and New York City Laws all deal with discrimination against certain protected categories.

You will find Federal law in, among other statutes, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the American with Disabilities Act. Before you can go to court for these Federal Statutes, you have to first file a charge with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. They will investigate your charge, require your employer to file a response to your charge, and they may help to mediate a settlement of your claims with your employer. If the charge is not settled, the Equal Opportunity will give you a right to sue letter so that you can go to court. They may also make a written finding of whether they believe your charge has merit.

New York State law includes the New York State Human Rights Law. New York State has an administrative agency, the New York State Division of Human Rights, which can accept your complaint of discrimination. You do not have to file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights. If you wish, you can directly to court with your complaint of discrimination. If you do file your complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights, they will assign an investigator and require the employer to file an answer. Like the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, they may help to settle your claim with your employer. If the claim is not settled, they will make a finding whether they think there is probable cause that your claim of discrimination has some merit. That does not mean that you have won. It just means that there is some basis for your claim. If they do find probable cause, they will schedule your claims for a hearing within the agency.

New York City Law includes the New York City Human Rights Law. The New York City Human Rights Law provides broader protection than either Federal or State Law. For example, your employer is subject to the law if it has at least four employees, the employer is liable if the discriminatory acts were perpetrated by your supervisor, and there are no statutory limits to the monetary damages that could be awarded to compensate you for the pain and suffering that were caused by the discriminatory acts that you have suffered, and no statutory limits to the punitive damages that could be awarded to deter the kind of discriminatory acts that you have suffered. Like the New York State Human Rights Law, you can file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, but you are not required to do so. You can go directly to court. If you do file with the City Commission, they will assign an investigator and if they find merit to your claim, an administrative hearing will be held.