The Commission has the authority to assess fines and obtain cash settlements for those aggrieved by violations of the NYC Human Rights Law. Additional settlements and provisions successfully negotiated by the Commission might also include rehirings, policy changes, and modifications for accessibility. Below you will find a list of selected monthly settlements by the Commission's Law Enforcement Bureau, for Calendar Year 2017.
Both Former and Current Landlords Pay $17,500 in Damages and $5,000 in Civil Penalties, Install Automatic Doors and Ramp for Tenant with Disability
A tenant who uses a wheelchair filed a complaint alleging that the owner of her building refused to make the entrance accessible despite her repeated requests. After the complaint was filed, the respondent installed a ramp. The building’s ownership was then transferred and the new owner of the building was added as a respondent in the Complaint. The new owner installed automatic doors. Following LEB’s continued investigation into whether either owner had fully complied with the law in response to the tenant’s requests for accommodation, both former and current owners (“Respondents”), the Complainant, and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondents to pay the complainant $17,500 in emotional distress damages and $5,000 in civil penalties; provide anti-discrimination training to all supervisory personnel of both former and current owners; develop a reasonable accommodation policy for all buildings of both former and current owners; display copies of the Commission’s Notice of Rights poster in prominent common areas of all their places of business; and notify tenants of their rights.
Alma Bank Pays $20,000 in Damages and $17,000 in Civil Penalties for Failure to Provide the Religious Accommodation of Time to Pray
An employee (“Complainant”) filed a complaint against Alma Bank (“Respondent”), alleging that Respondent denied her a religious accommodation. Complainant, a practicing Muslim, used her meal period to pray at work. Complainant alleged her manager forbade her to take her meal period despite Complainant’s explanation about her use of her meal period to perform her religious obligations. After the Law Enforcement Bureau’s investigation, the Commission, the Complainant and Respondent entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Alma Bank to pay the complainant $10,000 in back-pay and $10,000 in emotional distress damages, pay $17,000 in civil penalties, significantly overhaul policies on providing religious accommodation, post Notices of Rights in the workplace, and undergo anti-discrimination training with a focus on religious accommodation.
Hampton Inn Hotel Franchisee Pays $35,000 in Emotional Distress Damages and $20,000 in Civil Penalties to Settle Hostile Work Environment Case Based on Gender and Religion
A former employee filed a complaint against a Hampton Inn franchise operating a single hotel in New York City, alleging that his manager repeatedly made discriminatory remarks about his gender and religion. The employee complained to a manager, but the employer could not show any evidence that the complaint had been investigated or addressed. Following the Law Enforcement Bureau’s investigation, Complainant, Respondents, and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondents to pay the Complainant $35,000 in emotional distress damages, pay $20,000 in civil penalties, train managers on the New York City Human Rights Law, update its anti-discrimination policy, and post the policy and the Commission’s Notice of Rights poster throughout the hotel.
Non-profit Settles Retaliation Claim by Employee Who Reported Discrimination by Paying $20,000 in Damages and $15,000 in Civil Penalties
An employee (“Complainant”) of Young Adults with Special Abilities (“YASA” or “Respondent”) filed a complaint of retaliation, alleging she was fired because she complained about discrimination against her son, who was a participant in YASA’s programs for adults with disabilities. The complainant was employed by YASA as a part-time bus driver and her son participated in a day program for adults with disabilities run by YASA. She complained that one of YASA’S employees made discriminatory comments to him because he uses a wheelchair. Following her internal complaint, YASA adopted a policy prohibiting relatives of participants in its programs from working for it. Complainant was the only such person, and YASA immediately terminated her employment based on the new policy. After investigation by the Law Enforcement Bureau, the Commission, the Respondent and the Complainant entered into an agreement requiring Respondent to pay Complainant $20,000 in compensatory damages, pay $15,000 in civil penalties, provide NYCHRL training to its managerial and supervisory employees, and revise and post anti-discrimination policies.
Restaurant Pays Civil Penalty to Settle Gender and Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claims
A former employee of Cascabel Taqueria filed a complaint that the owner of the restaurant made discriminatory remarks about his gender and sexual orientation to him and other employees, and terminated his employment after he complained about the discriminatory comments. The restaurant denied the allegations. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”) conducted an investigation, including a witness interview who supported the Complainant’s allegations of harassment, as well as a review of the company’s existing policies and procedure to assess overall compliance with the NYC Human Rights Law. The employee did not follow through with his complaint, however, the Commission and the restaurant entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the company to pay $5,000 in civil penalties, attend anti-discrimination training, update its anti-discrimination policy to ensure compliance with the New York City Human Rights Law, and post the policy and the Commission’s Notice of Rights poster.
PLS Check Casher Builds New Ramp and Pays $6,000 in Damages to Patron
Complainant, who has a disability and utilizes a mobility assistance device, filed a complaint against PLS Check Cashers for failure to accommodate his disability by maintaining an inaccessible ramp at the entrance at one of their New York City locations that resulted in unequal access to the location for Complainant. PLS has forty-one locations in New York City. PLS subsequently rebuilt the ramp at a cost of approximately $45,000 and agreed to pay Complainant $6,000 in emotional distress damages. PLS also agreed to conduct anti-discrimination training for all of their District Managers and Store Managers in New York City and post a Notice of Rights poster in all their NYC locations.