2015 Settlements

December 2015

New York Methodist Hospital Changes Absenteeism Policy Which Resulted in Disability Discrimination
A former employee filed a complaint against New York Methodist Hospital alleging disability discrimination because she had been fired after being hospitalized and the hospital considered her sick leave due to the hospitalization in the decision to terminate her.  The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau (LEB) conducted an investigation, including a review of the hospital’s employee policies.  LEB found that the hospital’s absence control policy did not adequately provide accommodations for employees with disabilities.  Methodist Hospital and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Methodist to pay the complainant $14,000 (back pay and emotional distress damages); pay a civil penalty of $14,000 to the City of New York; provide anti-discrimination training to all supervisory level personnel (400 employees); update its employment policies and procedures to comply with the NYC Human Rights Law; and display copies of the Commission’s “General Info Card” in prominent common areas at all of its places of business.

Queensview, Inc., Pays $240,000 to Settle Employee’s Disability Discrimination Claim
A current employee filed a complaint against Queensview Inc., a large housing complex, alleging discrimination based on disability and religion.  LEB conducted an investigation and issued a finding of probable cause to credit the allegations of discrimination.  Queensview and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Queensview to pay the complainant $240,000 ($190,000 in front pay and $50,000 in emotional distress damages); develop anti-discrimination policies that comport with the NYCHRL’s protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations; train all employees and Board members on the new policies; post the new policies on its website; post the Commission’s “Notice of Rights” posting and “Fair Housing” poster in each of the 14 buildings in its complex; and post the Commission’s “Pregnancy and Employment Rights” poster in its business office.

Co-op Building and Apartment Owner Complete Construction to Accommodate Tenant with Disabilities
A tenant filed a complaint against Valerie Arms Tenant Association, Mark Greenberg Real Estate Co., Inc., Scott Soifer, Vision Enterprises Management, LLC, Peter Michaels, and Peter Mesos alleging disability discrimination.  LEB conducted an investigation and the Commission’s Disability Access Director, Ted Finkelstein, identified several building modifications necessary to accommodate the tenant’s multiple disabilities.  The Respondents and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement which required the building owners, management company and apartment owners to install a lift in the building lobby and the owners of the apartment to level the floors at the bathroom and bedroom doorways, widen the bathroom doorway, install an accordion door, and make a cutout in the bathtub.  In addition, the complainant received $10,000 in emotional distress damages and respondents’ staff received anti-discrimination training.


November 2015

Pret-A-Manger Settles Claims of Disability Discrimination
After receiving information in July 2014 that a customer with a disability who used a service dog was denied an opportunity to dine at a Pret location, the NYC Commission on Human Rights investigated Pret-A-Manger regarding disability discrimination. As part of the resulting conciliation with the Commission, Pret agreed to train approximately 75 general and assistant managers for all of their 41 restaurants located in New York City on the NYC Human Rights Law. The size and name brand of the employer and the fact that all restaurants citywide underwent training – not just the one location in which the violation occurred – makes this case notable. Pursuant to the conciliation agreement, Pret is ensuring that all managers in each of its New York City locations are trained on the New York City Human Rights Law and familiar with Pret’s anti-discrimination policies. 

This settlement  with Pret-A-Manger illustrates one new approach of the Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau since Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis took over in February 2015. In conciliation agreements, for example, the Commission is seeking measures that will prevent discrimination and harassment citywide, such as policy changes, anti-discrimination training and postings of notices of rights. The Commission is also more broadly utilizing its ability to initiate its own investigations in response to information provided by the public, community groups, elected officials, and other stakeholders.


August 2015

After a probable cause determination in a national origin case against a public accommodation, the respondent social services agency entered into a conciliation agreement with the Commission to pay $10,000 to the complainant, obtain the housing voucher he had sought in originally coming to the respondent's agency, undergo anti-discrimination training, and upon completion of the training rewrite its policy to be in compliance with the NYCHRL, post notices of rights and obligations under the NYCHRL, and issue a joint statement with the Commission on the agency’s commitment to adhere to the NYCHRL. 

After a probable cause determination in a disability discrimination case against an employer, the respondent employer entered into a conciliation agreement with the Commission to pay $33,860 in damages ($15,000 in emotional distress damages and $18,860 in back pay) to an employee with a disability.  The employer had admitted refusing a reasonable accommodation for the employee and commenting that the employee should find a new job.  The agreement also required the employer’s management personnel to undergo anti-discrimination training.

July 2015

After a probable cause determination in a housing discrimination case based on creed, a housing provider entered into a Conciliation agreement with the Commission that allowed the complainant to keep religious artifacts on the door of her apartment, required the payment of $5000 in emotional distress damages, and required the respondents to undergo anti-discrimination training.

May 2015

The Commission ordered Respondent housing provider to pay Complainant $5,700 in compensatory damages for refusing to rent to Complainant due to Complainant’s race.  Respondent housing provider was also ordered to undergo anti-discrimination training.

The Commission ordered Respondent employer to pay Complainant $20,000 in compensatory damages for terminating Complainant’s employment due to her pregnancy.  Respondent employer was also ordered to undergo anti-discrimination training.

After a probable cause determination in a pregnancy discrimination case against an employer, the respondent employer entered into a conciliation agreement with the Commission to pay $20,000 in damages to an employee who was fired the day after she advised her employer she was pregnant.   The agreement also required management personnel to undergo anti-discrimination training.

April 2015

The Commission ordered Respondent employer to pay Complainant $20,000 in compensatory damages for refusing to hire Complainant due to her pregnancy.  Respondent employer was also ordered to undergo anti-discrimination training.

The Commission ordered Respondent employer to pay a civil penalty of $2,500 for posting a discriminatory advertisement declaring a preference for female applicants.  Respondent employer will also undergo anti-discrimination training.

March 2015

The Commission ordered Respondent employer to pay a civil penalty of $2,500 for posting a discriminatory advertisement declaring a preference for female applicants.  Respondent employer will also undergo anti-discrimination training.

The Commission ordered Respondent housing provider to pay Complainant $5,000 in emotional distress damages for refusing to rent to Complainant due to Complainant’s lawful occupation.  Respondent housing provider was also ordered to undergo anti-discrimination training.

February 2015

The Commission ordered Respondent housing provider to pay Complainant $8,000 in emotional distress damages for discriminating against Complainant based on her gender by sexually harassing her.  Respondent housing provider was also ordered to undergo anti-discrimination training.


January 2015

The Commission ordered Respondent employer to hire Complainant after Complainant was refused employment because he had previously filed a discrimination complaint against Respondent with the Commission.  Respondent employer was also ordered to undergo anti-discrimination training.

The Commission ordered Respondent housing provider to pay Complainant $5,000 in emotional distress damages for refusing to rent to Complainant because of the presence of Complainant’s children.  Respondent housing provider was also ordered to undergo anti-discrimination training.

The Commission ordered Respondent employer to pay a civil penalty of $2,500 for posting a discriminatory advertisement declaring a preference for female applicants.  Respondent employer will also undergo anti-discrimination training.

The Commission ordered Respondent employer to pay Complainant $10,000 in compensatory damages for terminating Complainant’s employment due to his disability.  Respondent employer was also ordered to undergo anti-discrimination training.

The Commission ordered Respondent employer to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 for posting a discriminatory advertisement declaring a preference for female applicants, which was confirmed by the Commission’s employment testing program.  Respondent employer will also undergo anti-discrimination training.