2018 Settlement Highlights

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 2018.

September 2018

Emergency Intervention Actions for Homeless Tenants

The Source of Income Unit employs emergency intervention to help tenants using public assistance to pay their rent to obtain housing. Some recent successes include:

  • Housing obtained: A disabled single mother with CITYFEPS attempted to apply for an apartment in a gentrifying neighborhood near Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The broker told the complainant that the owner would not accept CITYFEPS, and told her to move to the Bronx or East New York where owners would be interested in taking a “program” tenant with children. Only a few minutes after the denial, the Source of Income Unit’s Emergency Intervention team contacted the owner, Bronstein Properties, which ultimately agreed to hold the unit open. The tenant applied and moved into her new apartment in July of 2018.
  • New voucher accepted: In August of 2018, an elderly monolingual Russian speaker and holocaust survivor, received a Section-8 voucher after spending more than 15 years on the waitlist. When she asked her landlord to fill out the paperwork, he not only refused but severely berated her. The Source of Income Unit’s Emergency Intervention team called the landlord, who maintained he would not take the tenants’ voucher but agreed to speak with his attorney. After expedient negotiations with the landlord’s attorney, the landlord filled out all necessary paperwork within the month.
  • Housing obtained: A homeless complainant called dozens of brokers in the Bronx, many of whom told her she could join a “waitlist” for applicants with LINC vouchers. The complainant recorded her conversations and sent the recordings to the Source of Income Unit immediately after the interactions. The Emergency Intervention team called several brokers, many of whom admitted that they maintained a “waitlist” for LINC applicants. None agreed to change their policies, forcing LEB to immediately commence litigation against all offenders. One broker, upon receiving the complaint, contacted Complainant and took her to see a number of units until she found one that met her needs. Complainant moved from the shelter into her apartment in the Spring of 2018. LEB is seeking damages against the remaining parties. 

Brooklyn Grocery Store Pays $5,000 to Employee and $5,000 in Civil Penalties in Disability and Perceived Alienage and Citizenship Status Discrimination Case
A former employee filed a complaint against a family-owned grocery store and its owners alleging discrimination on the basis of disability and perceived alienage and citizenship status. After working for Respondents for fifteen years, Complainant was injured at work. Respondents then threatened Complainant that if he sued them or asked for a reasonable accommodation, Respondents would call immigration and have Complainant deported. After Complainant was cleared by his doctor to come back to work, Respondents told Complainant to “go away and come back when you have papers.”
 
The Commission, Complainant and Respondents entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondents to pay the complainant $5,000 in emotional distress damages; pay a civil penalty of $5,000 to the City of New York; attend a training on their obligations under the New York City Human Rights Law and display copies of the Commission’s know-your-rights postings in five common areas of the supermarket.

Construction Firm Settles Disability Discrimination Case For $62,500 in Damages, and Creates Anti-Discrimination Policies
Complainant, a former project supervisor, filed a complaint against his prior employer Respondent Shannon Contracting LLC alleging that the general contracting and construction management firm subjected him to different terms and conditions because of his disability, failed to accommodate his disability, and retaliated against him for requesting a reasonable accommodation. Complainant alleged that Respondents told him that he “can’t call out sick” because he was “hired for this project,” and that they “need[ed] him to work.” In addition, Complainant, who temporarily relied on the use of a cane because of his disability, alleged that he was told that he made the company "look bad,” and further alleged that Respondents terminated him from his position in retaliation for requesting an accommodation. Following the Law Enforcement Bureau’s investigation, the Commission, Complainant and Respondents entered into a conciliation agreement to resolve the matter. Respondent Shannon Contracting L.P. agreed to pay $55,000 in damages to Complainant, including damages for backpay, emotional distress, and attorneys' fees, and a $7,500 civil penalty. Respondent will also create and implement anti-discrimination policies compliant with the New York City Human Rights Law, including a reasonable accommodation policy, make postings, and train supervisory and human resources employees on their obligations under the NYCHRL.

New York Public Library Ramps Up Efforts to Better Accommodate Autistic Library Patrons, Pays $5,000 in Damages
Complainant, who identifies as being a person on the autism spectrum, filed a complaint against Respondent New York Public Library (“NYPL”) alleging that Respondent NYPL discriminated against her on the basis of her disability, refused to reasonably accommodate her disability, and made her feel unwelcome in a place of public accommodation. Complainant alleged that Respondent NYPL’s Columbus Branch staff refused to let her sit in a quiet space in the basement while waiting for a class, which she required to accommodate her disability. In addition, a manager for Respondent NYPL told Complainant that she “didn’t look like [she] had a disability” when Complainant explained to him that excessive noise on the main level of the library negatively impacted her disability. Following an investigation by the Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”), the Commission, Complainant, and Respondents entered into a conciliation agreement, whereby Respondent NYPL agreed to pay Complainant $5,000 in emotional distress damages; provide an in-person anti-discrimination and Autism Awareness training to staff at the Columbus Branch; provide Accessibility and Inclusion Training, including Autism Awareness Training, to all of its staff at all of Respondent NYPL’s branches across New York City; post a Notice of Rights and a notice of Disability Protections Under the New York City Human Rights Law at its Columbus Branch in a conspicuous location visible to employees and library patrons; and agreed to a review of its disability accommodation policies by LEB. Respondent NYPL’s Autism Awareness Training implements a comprehensive approach, including ensuring that staff recognize that no two (2) people with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder are the same, and that staff should be aware of variances in social skills, communication, restrictive/repetitive behaviors, and sensory integration challenges and accommodation needs with respect to autistic individuals to improve the library experiences of all patrons with disabilities.

Landlord pays $10,000 in Emotional Distress Damages for Cancelling Lease Because Tenants’ Child is Blind
The parents of a minor child filed a complaint alleging that Qin Chen, the owner of a small building in Queens, cancelled their lease after learning that their 8-year-old child was blind. Complainants, the child and his parents, were prepared to move into the landlord’s building when he texted them cancelling their agreement because he did not want to assume responsibility for the child’s potential injury. Following LEB’s investigation, the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the landlord to pay the Complainants $10,000 in emotional distress damages; display copies of the Commission’s Notice of Rights poster in prominent common areas of the building; and take anti-discrimination training.

See press coverage:  El Diario

August 2018

Landlords Pay $15,000 in Damages and $2,500 in Civil Penalties for Disparaging and Rejecting Couple Based on Race
A couple (“Complainants”) filed a complaint against the owners of one two-unit building in Brooklyn (“Respondents”), alleging that Respondents denied them an apartment on the basis of race. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau investigated and issued a Probable Cause determination, finding that a Respondent met the Complainants in person and then made disparaging statements and rejected the Complainants because one of the Complainants is black. Respondents, Complainants, and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the Respondents to pay $15,000 to the Complainants in emotional distress damages, $2,500 to the City in Civil Penalties, attend training regarding the New York City Human Rights Law, and make postings of the Commission’s “Fair Housing, It’s the Law” notice in their building.

Landlord pays $10,000 in Civil Penalties and $5,000 in Damages for Rejecting Non-Citizen Subtenant
A Queens resident (“Complainant”) filed a complaint against a landlord (“Respondent”), alleging that Respondent denied his application to sublet his apartment because the potential subtenant was not a United States citizen. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau investigated and found that Respondent, who is a licensed real estate broker and co-owns several rental properties, repeatedly told Complainant that she would only accept a subtenant who was a citizen, even though the New York City Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin and citizenship status in housing. Respondents, Complainants, and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the Respondents to pay $5,000 to the Complainant in actual and emotional distress damages, $10,000 to the City in Civil Penalties, attend training regarding the New York City Human Rights Law, and make postings of the Commission’s Notice of Rights poster in each of her buildings.

July 2018

Metropolitan Jewish Health System Hospice (MJHS) Settles Disability Discrimination Claim by Employee Fired While on Medical Leave; Pays $96,000 and Implements New Policies
An employee brought a claim against MJHS for disability discrimination after she took medical leave and was then fired once she notified her employer that she was cleared to return to work. After investigation, LEB found that MJHS had terminated the complainant’s employment and refused to allow her to return from leave of absence because of the length of her leave and the fact that she had previously taken sick days off. LEB also found that Respondent MJHS had a policy mandating the termination of the employment of employees absent from work for a period of one year, regardless of the reason for their leave, and without consideration of any possibility of reasonable accommodation. Such policies violate the NYCHRL. MJHS, the Commission and the complainant entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the company to pay the complainant $50,000 in compensatory damages, pay $46,000 in civil penalties, implement new policies in line with the NYC Human Rights Law’s requirements to provide leave as an accommodation, and train employees on the new policies.

Promesa Residential Health Care Facility Agrees to Overhaul Policies and Pay Civil Penalties After Commission Testers Revealed Blatant Gender Identity Discrimination
Through a Commission-initiated investigation, the Law Enforcement Bureau found evidence that Promesa Residential Health Care Facility, The Puerto Rican Organization To Motivate, Enlighten, and Serve Addicts, Inc., Promesa Residential Health Care Facility, Inc., and Acacia Network, Inc. (Respondents) maintained policies and practices that resulted in blatant discrimination against transgender people and filed Commission-initiated complaint. Respondents’ personnel told Commission testers that transgender women would be required to room with men. In one test, Respondents’ staff told a tester that transgender women would be turned away entirely unless a private room was available and LEB later learned the facility in question had only one private room. The Commission and Respondents entered into a conciliation agreement for ten-thousand dollars in civil penalties as well as affirmative relief.  Respondents agreed to implement policies that clearly prohibit gender-based discrimination and harassment, including by permitting transgender people to participate in all aspects of their services in a manner consistent with their gender identity, including room assignments and other gender specific programs and facilities. Respondents also agreed to notify organizations that help LGBTQ people connect with substance abuse treatment of their updated policies and organizations that assist LGBTQ job seekers of Respondents external job postings. Lastly, Respondents agreed to conduct ongoing anti-discrimination training and to monitoring by the Commission.

See press coverage:
WNYC: New York City Agency is Accusing Several Drug Addiction Centers of Discriminating Against Transgender Patients – staff (July 13, 2017)

Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center Agrees to Implement New Procedures to Ensure Compliance with Gender Identity Protections 
A patient, who is a transgender woman, filed a complaint alleging discrimination based on her gender identity. The complaint outlined that staff members asked invasive questions about ‘what she had down there,’ insisted that she could not room with other women, asked her, “Did you have the operation? If you did not have the operation, you have to be roomed alone.” After investigation, LEB issued a probable cause determination. Beth Israel’s existing patient care policy already required that facilities be accessible to all patients consistent with gender identity. The Commission, Complainant and Respondent entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Beth Israel to:
•    Pay Complainant $25,000 in compensatory damages.
•    Hold ongoing staff trainings on working with transgender patients.
•    Post the NYC Department of Health’s LGBT “Bill of Rights” poster.
•    Update its systems to make patients’ preferred names and personal pronouns visible to frontline staff.
•    Update its website with information on its non-discrimination policies and how individuals can file a grievance with the hospital.
•    Flag and direct grievances regarding transgender patients to its Patient Safety/Patient Grievances Committee.
•    Continue its meetings of the Community Advisory Board for the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery to meet every 6 months.
•    Submit to monitoring by the Commission.

Call Center Background Check Policy Resulted in Arrest/Conviction Record Discrimination
A former survey representative filed a complaint against MaritzCX Research LLC and Universal Survey Center, Inc. alleging discrimination based on his previous record of criminal conviction when his conviction was used as the sole basis to remove him from a lucrative project. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”) conducted an investigation, including a review of the background check policies. LEB found that the criminal background check process lacked any analysis of the employee’s conviction history pursuant to New York Correction Law Article 23-A. MaritzCX Research LLC and Universal Survey Center, Inc entered into a conciliation agreement with the Commission requiring them to pay the complainant $15,000 in emotional distress damages; pay a civil penalty of $10,000 to the City of New York; provide anti-discrimination training to all of its managers, supervisors, and human resources personnel responsible for employment decisions in New York City; update its employment policies and procedures to comply with the NYC Human Rights Law; and display copies of the Commission’s “Notice of Rights” poster on the company’s intranet.

June 2018

Clothing Company Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Claim for $34,000, New Policies, Training and Posting
An employee, represented by the Gender Equality Law Center, filed a pregnancy discrimination claim against Rocket LLC, a small business, and the company’s two owners. She alleged her employers mocked her weight and criticized her diet during her pregnancy and terminated her employment. The complaint also alleged the company refused to either allow her to work from home for a few weeks or extend her leave until she was cleared to return to work in the office after giving birth. After investigation, LEB issued a probable cause determination. The Commission and the parties entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the employer to pay the complainant $34,000 in compensatory damages (backpay, emotional distress, and attorneys’ fees), attend training, create new policies and put up postings notifying employees of their rights under the NYC Human Rights Law with respect to pregnancy accommodation and other requirements of the law.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Agrees to Overhaul Language and Disability Access Policies, Pays $25,500 to Patient Denied Sign Language Interpretation
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest filed a complaint against Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on behalf of a Deaf woman whose primary language is sign language and who was denied interpretation services when she went to the ER for severe stomach pain. After 8 hours, she ultimately checked herself out of the hospital without receiving treatment. After investigation, LEB issued a probable cause determination. The Commission, complainant and respondent entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the hospital to pay the complainant $22,500 in emotional distress damages and to overhaul its policies relating to language access, reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, and the provision of sign language interpreters in both emergent and appointment-based interactions with patients. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center will be conducting extensive training on these issues to its current and future staff as well as subjecting themselves to monitoring by the Commission for three years.

May 2018

Home Health Aide Agency Settles Pregnancy Accommodation Claim for $17,500 in Damages and $7,500 in Civil Penalties
Complainant, who was pregnant, filed a complaint against her employer, Allen Health Care Services for failing to provide her a reasonable accommodation for her pregnancy. Complainant alleged that Respondents did not allow her to work after she disclosed to them that she had certain restrictions due to her pregnancy. Following a Law Enforcement Bureau investigation, Complainant, Respondent, and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement where Respondent agreed to pay Complainant $17,500 in emotional distress damages, pay $7,500 in civil penalties, conduct anti-discrimination training, and post the Pregnancy Employment Notice. LEB also audited Respondent’s EEO policies and procedures.
 
Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation Overhauls Anti-Discrimination Policy and Pays $5,000 in Emotional Distress Damages to Temporary Employee
A temporary employee who worked as an Activity Specialist (“Complainant”) with Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation (“Respondent”) filed a complaint with the Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”) alleging that Respondent terminated her employment three days before the end of the summer school program because she had repeatedly called out sick to work. Following LEB’s investigation, the Commission, Complainant, and Respondent entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondent to pay $5,000 in emotional distress damages to Complainant; provide training to all of its employees on the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), including on disability accommodations; revise its anti-discrimination policy to ensure full compliance with the NYCHRL, including adding provisions for engaging in a cooperative dialogue with any employee that requires a disability accommodation, providing reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, religion, and to victims of domestic violence and stalking, and updating its anti-harassment language to describe the less stringent evidentiary requirements for proving a hostile work environment under the NYCHRL. Respondent also agreed to display copies of the Commission’s Notice of Rights poster in all of their places of business and provide a neutral job reference to Complainant.

CVS Settles with Patron Alleging Discriminatory Comments based on National Origin
A patron filed a complaint against CVS (“Respondents”) alleging that an employee made derogatory comments about her ability to speak English and attempted to bar her from patronizing the store because she is Bangladeshi. Respondents swiftly took action by terminating the offending employee, and entered into a conciliation agreement with the Commission and the complainant requiring the payment of $5,000 in emotional distress damages to the complainant. In addition, all of the store’s employees—83 in total—received training on the NYC Human Rights Law.

April 2018

Whole Foods Market Group Settles Pregnancy and Disability Accommodation Case for over $40,000 in Damages and $25,000 in Civil Penalties
An employee filed a complaint against Whole Foods after she was refused a shift change as an accommodation for her pregnancy and then fired after she was hospitalized due to pregnancy complications.  The complainant’s doctor had advised that she work a shorter day because of her high-risk pregnancy. Her employer refused this accommodation and the employee was required to use sick and unexcused leave in order to comply with her doctor’s directives. She then suffered pregnancy complications and was hospitalized. Whole Foods terminated her employment for excessive absences. After investigation, the Law Enforcement Bureau issued a probable cause determination. Whole Foods, the Commission and the complainant entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the employer to pay $17,500 in back-pay and $17,500 in emotional distress damages to the complainant, $5,6437.34 in attorney’s fees to her counsel, and $25,000 in civil penalties.  The agreement also requires Whole Foods to change its policies with regard to employee attendance and accommodations to comply with the NYC Human Rights Law and train all human resources employees on the updated policies.

March 2018

Company Providing Self-Help Seminars Pays $35,000 in Damages and Penalties and Changes Reasonable Accommodation Policy in Disability Discrimination Case
A patron with a hearing impairment ("Complainant") filed a complaint alleging that Landmark Worldwide Holdings ("Respondent"), a provider of self-help seminars, refused to accommodate her disability. Complainant signed up for a series of 14 classes and requested that she be provided with an ASL interpreter. Respondent subjected Complainant to several weeks of questioning about her disability and ultimately decided to hire an ASL interpreter for only two (2) of the 14 classes. For the remaining classes, Respondent provided Complainant with a personal amplification device. The Commission investigated the claims and issued a finding of probable cause. The Commission found that the amplification device did not accommodate Complainant as well as the ASL interpreter. By choosing an accommodation they deemed more appropriate, but which did not fully accommodate the Complainant and did not impose an undue hardship, Respondents failed to meet their responsibilities under the law. The Commission, the Complainant and the Respondent entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the company to pay $10,000 in emotional distress damages, pay a $15,000 civil penalty, bring its policies into line with the NYC Human Rights Law, train employees, and post the Commission’s Notice of Rights poster in all locations in New York City.
 
R.Y. Management Pays $70,000 in Damages and $10,000 in Civil Penalties for Disability Discrimination Based on Fixed Leave Policy
A former porter (“Complainant”) filed a complaint against R.Y. Management (“Respondent”) alleging that Respondent discriminated against him by failing to accommodate his disability, refusing to provide additional leave time beyond that offered through his union’s collective bargaining agreement, and ultimately terminating him. Complainant’s union, Local 32BJ, allowed one hundred and twenty days of disability leave following an injury. After investigation, the Law Enforcement Bureau issued a probable cause determination finding the application of the fixed leave policy to be a violation of the law. Ultimately, the Commission, Complainant, and Respondent entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondent to pay $70,000 in back pay and emotional distress damages to Complainant, pay $10,000 in civil penalties, display copies of the Commission’s Notice of Rights poster in all their places of business, and implement a written policy requiring a cooperative dialogue and individualized assessment following a request for a reasonable accommodation.
 
New York City Department of Transportation (“DOT”) Changes Policies Related to Medical Examinations After Complaint of Disability Discrimination
A job applicant (“Complainant”) filed a complaint against DOT alleging disability discrimination based on his actual or perceived disability. Complainant applied for a job as an Assistant City Highway Repairer, attended the necessary medical examinations, and then received a letter from DOT indicating he had been medically disqualified for employment because of an abnormal EKG and colorblindness. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”) conducted an investigation, including a review of DOT’s policies relating to medical qualification requirements. In the course of the investigation, DOT changed the test used for colorblindness, implementing a test that appropriately focuses on the tasks related to the job. LEB found that DOT”s procedures with respect to applicants who were denied employment due to medical disqualification did not adequately invite a cooperative dialogue or ensure an individualized assessment. For example, job applicants did not receive written notice that they could submit additional paperwork to respond to a medical disqualification. DOT, the Complainant and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring DOT to pay the Complainant $11,000 in emotional distress damages and institute new reasonable accommodation policies related to medical examinations to ensure a cooperative dialogue and individualized assessment.

Crosstown Realty Accommodates Tenant with Disability with Complete Reconstruction of Bathroom and Payment to Relocate During Construction
Complainant lives in a converted loft and suffers from a degenerative disease that makes mobility difficult and dependent on use of a wheelchair. Complainant initially requested a ramp to his bathroom, but the ramp the landlord constructed was not ADA-compliant and led Complainant to injure himself. Furthermore, the bathroom’s layout did not allow for wheelchair mobility within its confines. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau worked with Respondent to facilitate the complete reconstruction of the bathroom as a reasonable accommodation and for Respondent to pay for Complainant’s assisted living during this construction. As part of this conciliation, Respondent’s sole employee will receive HRL training, a policy has been drafted and implemented, and Respondent will display a NYCCHR housing rights poster in the lobby of its building.

February 2018

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.

January 2018

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.