2019 Settlement Highlights


Among the Commission's 2019 Settlements, a transgender man was awarded damages for facing discrimination at a shelter because of his gender identity. (August/September).

The Commission has the authority to assess fines and obtain monetary damages for those aggrieved by violations of the New York City Human Rights Law. Additionally, the Commission may negotiate additional remedies including rehiring, policy change, training, and modifications for accessibility. Below you will find a list of selected monthly settlements by the Commission's Law Enforcement Bureau, for Calendar Year 2019.

December 2019

New York City Department of Education Agrees to Settle Pre-Complaint By Adding New Accessible School Entrance and Implementing New Tools for Educating Staff on School Building Accessibility
School staff at a Brooklyn public school allegedly denied a minor from entering through the school’s accessible entrance during a summer school program. The minor lives with a disability and uses crutches for mobility. Following the alleged incident, the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) created a new accessible entrance for visitors to use, and DOE agreed to create new procedures around allowing access through this entrance. DOE will hold meetings with school staff on operating the accessible entrance. The entrance will now have a doorbell, camera, as well as internal and external signage marking the door as accessible for all abilities. DOE also agreed to create a working group to develop a training by the following school year on school building accessibility throughout New York City, and it will develop a one-page document describing expectations for DOE staff who respond when needed at accessible entrances, including the required process and etiquette. This document will be distributed to DOE directors of School Food, Facilities, and School Safety, and the staff of those offices.

Real Estate Investment Company Settles Disability Discrimination Case, Paying $30,000 in Emotional Distress Damages and Civil Penalties
Complainant filed a Complaint alleging that his employer, U.S. Realty Management Co., LLC,  stripped him of various responsibilities after he disclosed that he had been diagnosed with cancer. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau investigated and found Complainant’s allegations as to the timing and reason for the demotion to be credible. Rather than facing continued investigation and prosecution, Respondent agreed to resolve the matter. The Complainant, Respondent, and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the Respondent to pay $25,000 in emotional distress damages to Complainant, $5,000 in civil penalties, and to conduct anti-discrimination training for staff, create a policy reflecting compliance with the New York City Human Rights Law, and post the Commission's “Notice of Rights” poster.

Large Employer Settles Disability Discrimination Case, Paying $55,000 in Emotional Distress and Back Pay Damages
Complainant, represented by Legal Aid Society, filed a complaint alleging that her employer, Heartshare Human Services of New York, a non-profit that provides educational and recreational services to adults and children with disabilities, failed to provide her with a reasonable accommodation. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau conducted an investigation and found that Respondent provided Complainant with a reasonable accommodation for her disability in the form of a flexible work schedule for several years before a newly hired manager revoked the accommodation. The Law Enforcement Bureau issued a finding of probable cause and referred the case to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings for prosecution. The Complainant, Respondent, and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the Respondent to pay $36,666.67 in emotional distress damages and $18,333.33 in back pay damages to Complainant, to conduct anti-discrimination training for staff, to modify their anti-discrimination policy to place an affirmative duty on Respondents to initiate a cooperative dialogue in accordance with the requirements of the New York City Human Rights Law, to submit to monitoring for four years, and to post the Commission’s “Protections for People with Disabilities” brochure. Because Respondent was a non-profit entity with limited resources and had properly accommodated Complainant for the majority of her employment, the Law Enforcement Bureau did not assess a civil penalty.

October/November 2019

Planet Fitness Settles Discrimination Claim, Agrees to Pay $80,000 in Damages and Penalties, and Agrees to Training, Policy Revisions, and Legal Postings
PFNY, LLC ("Planet Fitness") agreed to settle a disability discrimination claim brought by Complainant, a former general manager at one of its fitness centers, alleging that Planet Fitness did not accommodate her disability, which resulted in Complainant's termination. The Law Enforcement Bureau, Complainant, and Planet Fitness agreed to conciliate the matter. Planet Fitness agreed to pay Complainant $20,000 in emotional distress damages, $50,000 in back pay, and pay the City of New York $10,000 in civil penalties. In addition, Planet Fitness agreed to conduct trainings on the New York City Human Rights Law, revise its anti-discrimination policies, post the Commission's Notice of Rights and submit to monitoring for one year.

Legal Recruiting Firm Wegman Partners, LLC Pays $155,000 in Civil Penalties and Agrees To Policy Training, Retention of an Independent Consultant, and Other Measures To Settle Claims of Sexual Harassment
The Commission filed a sexual harassment complaint against Wegman Partners, LLC, a legal recruiting company, after a former employee alleged experiencing a hostile work environment based on gender at its New York City office. Allegations in the Commission’s complaint included employees regularly using lewd language, talking about genitalia, exchanging sexually explicit jokes and pictures, and displaying images around the office such as a drawing of an ejaculating penis, and a sign reading “SUCK MY BALLS!!!” The Commission’s Office of Mediation and Conflict Resolution negotiated the conciliation agreement requiring Respondent to pay $155,000 in civil penalties; revise its sexual harassment policies; conduct training for its owner, director of operations, all employees working in New York City, and all employees located elsewhere who regularly interact with clients in New York City or do business in New York City; retain an independent consultant to investigate and resolve any sexual harassment complaints company-wide and monitor compliance with the agreement for three (3) years; display the Commission’s Stop Sexual Harassment Act Notice at conspicuous locations in its New York office; and distribute the Commission’s Stop Sexual Harassment Act Factsheets to its employees. In addition, an individually-named former employee of the Company, who is alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment, must attend training at the Commission and complete the Commission’s online sexual harassment prevention training.

Queens Cooperative Windsor Terrace at Jamaica Estates Inc., Agrees to Pre-Complaint Resolution by Accommodating Shareholder with Emotional Support Animal, Implementing Reasonable Accommodation Policy, Dismissing Civil Court Case, and Training Board President
A cooperative board and property management company in Queens allegedly threatened eviction and brought a civil court case against a shareholder with a disability who has an emotional support animal as treatment for her disability. The co-op board agreed to accommodate the shareholder’s disability by allowing the emotional support animal in her residence and withdrew the civil court case against her. The board president attended the Commission’s anti-discrimination training, and the co-op agreed to implement a new reasonable accommodation policy in the building.

Baldor Specialty Foods Pays $60,000 to Settle Disability Claim and Agrees to Apology, Trainings, Policy Revisions, and Postings
Baldor Specialty Foods agreed to settle a disability discrimination claim brought by Complainant, a worker in Baldor’s refrigerated warehouse who was terminated after the cold triggered his asthma and he was hospitalized. Baldor agreed to pay Complainant $8,000 in back pay, $20,000 for emotional distress, $2,000 for out-of-pocket expenses; and pay $30,000 in civil penalties to the City of New York. Respondent also agreed to train all of its managers and supervisors on the New York City Human Rights Law, revise its reasonable accommodation policies, and post the Commission’s Notice of Rights and Equal Access posters in both English and Spanish in its warehouse. Finally, Complainant’s supervisor wrote a letter to Complainant apologizing for what occurred.

Small Dental Office Agrees To Pay $2,500 For Refusing to Hire Male Dental Assistant
The Commission filed a complaint on behalf of a complainant who received an email from a dentist telling him that he cannot hire a male dental assistant. Respondent agreed to pay Complainant $2,500 in emotional distress damages and attend anti-discrimination training.

Health Maintenance Organization Cuatro LLC d/b/a Access Medicare Pays Damages for Failing to Accommodate Pregnant Employee
Complainant alleged that Respondents, her former employer, and four of its managerial employees failed to accommodate her pregnancy in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law. Complainant, who was experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, asked to be excused from physically demanding job tasks, such as carrying heavy weights and standing for prolonged periods outside. Instead of accommodating her needs, her employer continued assigning her physically demanding tasks. Ultimately, Complainant was forced to take a leave of absence due to her employer’s failure to accommodate her. When she attempted to return to work, Respondents told her that there were no positions available, while at the same time hiring other applicants for positions Complainant was qualified for. While the investigation was ongoing, the corporate Respondent entered liquidation. Nevertheless, the Law Enforcement Bureau issued a finding of probable cause against the four remaining individual respondents and referred the case to City’s Office and Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). At OATH, Complainant and Respondents entered into a private settlement agreement resolving the case for $45,000 in damages to Complainant. The Law Enforcement Bureau additionally required each individual Respondent to attend training on the New York City Human Rights Law and sexual harassment prevention training, and to perform 20 hours of community service with organizations supporting either women’s rights or Latinx communities.

Prospective Tenant Settles Race Discrimination Claim with Staten Island Landlord Who Denied Her Housing  
Complainant, who is African American, filed a complaint alleging that Respondent, a Staten Island landlord, denied her a housing opportunity due to her race. Complainant inquired about an apartment that Respondent had advertised for rent through Craigslist.com. After Respondent learned that Complainant was not White, Respondent denied her the rental. Respondent agreed to pay $3,500 to Complainant in emotional distress damages.

Harrison Global LLC, a Car Service Provider, Settles Fair Chance Act Claim for $10,000 in Backpay, $5,000 in Emotional Distress Damages, and $5,000 in Civil Penalties
A prospective employee filed a complaint against Harrison Global, LLC, a car service provider, for violations of the Fair Chance Act during the hiring process; specifically, for failing to disclose a complete and accurate copy of their inquiry into his criminal history and for not providing him an opportunity to respond to the employer’s decision to rescind the conditional offer of employment. After an investigation the Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau determined that the company had not followed the required analysis under the New York City Human Rights Law’s provisions governing criminal history discrimination. The conciliation agreement requires the employer to pay Complainant $15,000 in backpay and emotional distress damages, pay a $5,000 civil penalty, conduct anti-discrimination trainings, and revise their policies and procedures governing criminal background checks.

Windsor Terrace Owners Corp. Settles National Origin Discrimination Claim with Co-op Applicant for $45,000 in Damages and Penalties
Complainant applied to purchase co-op shares at one of Respondent’s residential buildings. During her interview, Complainant was asked where she was from and informed them she was from Chile. The Board members then inquired as to whether she was a United States citizen. Respondent denied her application because she was not a U.S. citizen. Respondent paid $28,000 in emotional distress damages and $17,000.00 in civil penalties. Respondent was also required to attend training, post a Notice of Rights in all of its buildings, and amend its co-op applications and letterhead stationery to now state that it is a “an equal opportunity housing co-operative.”

Montefiore Hospital’s Hutchinson Metro Center Settles Accessibility Claim 
A passenger with disabilities filed a complaint against Hutchinson Metro Center, which houses a portion of Montefiore Hospital’s campus, alleging that the driver of their private shuttle bus had, on multiple occasions, been unwilling or unable to lower the access ramp onto the bus. Hutchinson Metro Center agreed to pay the passenger $2,000 in damages, post a Notice of Rights, and monitor their bus service for future complaints regarding accessibility.

Italian Kitchen d/b/a Barilla Restaurants Settles Fair Chance Act Claim, Pays $25,000 Civil Penalty, Revises Policies, Posts Legal Notices, and Conducts Training for All Supervisory and Managerial Employees in New York City
Testing conducted by the Commission revealed that the online employment application for Barilla Restaurants, a restaurant group of three restaurants, contained unlawful questions about criminal history in violation of the Fair Chance Act. As soon as the Commission filed the complaint, Barilla modified the application to remove the unlawful questions. During the investigation, Barilla demonstrated that they did not perform criminal background checks on non-supervisory role applicants and employees. Further, Barilla removed questions inquiring about criminal history from online applications for their restaurant locations in California. Barilla also let a New York City-based former employee who served some jail time during his employment with Barilla to return to his job. Barilla agreed to pay a $25,000 civil penalty, revise its policies to conform with the New York City Human Rights Law, provide New York City Human Rights Law training to all supervisory and managerial employees in New York City, and to post the Commission’s Legal Notices.

Michael Partridge Realty Corp. Pays $5,000 in Damages After Turning Away Apartment-Seeker with Housing Voucher and Commits to Training, Creating Anti-Discrimination Policy, Revisions to Rental Application, and Postings
A complainant filed a complaint against Michael Partridge Realty Corp. alleging that when she called to inquire about a vacant apartment, she was told by a frontline staff member that housing vouchers were not accepted. The Commission and the parties entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondent to pay the complainant $5,000 in emotional distress damages, undergo anti-discrimination training, create an anti-discrimination policy, revise its rental application to be consistent with the New York City Human Rights Law, and post the Commission’s legal notices.

Sun Gold Realty Agrees to Pay $2,500 in Emotional Distress Damages and Affirmative Relief After Refusal to Accept Voucher During Housing Search
Complainant reached out to a small brokerage firm, Sun Gold Realty, in the Bronx to inquire about available apartments within her voucher range. Respondent refused to accept Complainant’s voucher and was hostile towards Complainant when she asked about using her subsidy for apartment listings. During the Law Enforcement Bureau’s investigation, Respondent offered evidence that he had worked with voucher holders previously, and attended the Commission’s training in anticipation of settlement. Respondent broker paid Complainant $2,500 in emotional distress damages, and agreed to post the Commission’s legal notice and edit its rental application in compliance with the New York City Human Rights Law.

Stop & Shop Pays $65,000 in Damages and Penalties for Terminating Employee after Receiving Complaints Related to Complainant’s Hiring; Agrees to Adopt Fair Chance Act Policies State Wide and to Train All Employees in New York City on NYCHRL
Stop & Shop hired Complainant as a night time clerk where he was mainly responsible for stocking shelves. After starting his employment, a member of the community mailed an article to Stop & Shop disclosing that Complainant had been convicted of a charge related to the possession of child pornography, and Stop & Shop terminated Complainant. Respondent refused to disclose to Complainant the reason for his termination, but Complainant, with counsel from the Community Service Society of New York, filed a pre-Fair Chance Act Complaint based on the belief that Complainant’s conviction played a role. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”) conducted an investigation and determined that Complainant was indeed terminated due to his criminal history. To resolve the case, Stop & Shop agreed to pay Complainant $28,000 in emotional distress, full backpay of $10,000, a $25,000 Civil Penalty, and attorney’s fees. Stop & Shop also agreed to follow the Fair Chance Act for all employees in New York State, to train all employees in New York State with job duties related to hiring on the Fair Chance Act, and to train all employees in New York City on the NYCHRL.

August/September 2019

Agreement Reached with Salvation Army to House Transgender Patients in Accordance with Gender Identity
Through a Commission-initiated investigation, the Law Enforcement Bureau found evidence that Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers blatantly discriminated against transgender applicants. Respondent’s personnel told Commission testers that transgender people seeking shelter and help with alcohol abuse would be turned away entirely. On another occasion, staff told testers that if Respondent accepted a transgender woman she would be housed based on her genitalia, rather than being able to share facilities with other women. The Commission and Respondent entered into a conciliation agreement whereby Respondent 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 gender-specific programs and facilities, conduct ongoing training, and submit to monitoring by the Commission.

Acacia Housing Network Inc. & New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Settle Gender Discrimination Claim by Former Shelter Resident for $65,000 Damages and Penalties
Complainant alleged that DHS and Acacia network discriminated against him because of his gender. Complainant sought shelter in 2015 and was placed in a hotel operated by Acacia. He is not visibly transgender and was correctly recognized as a man by staff and the other men in the shelter. When he disclosed in confidence to a caseworker that he was transgender the worker called him a liability, told him he couldn’t stay there, and immediately transferred him to a less desirable more institutional setting. Later, in a different shelter, DHS Peace Officers picked Complainant up on a warrant. The officers could not have located him in DHS systems had they not known his present name and that he is a man. Even so, throughout the several hours process of bringing him to court they referred to him by his former name (which is culturally female) and as a woman. When they arrived in court, the officers handcuffed Complainant to a chair but allowed the other men to move freely in a holding cell while they waited to appear. LEB investigated and found probable cause to credit Complainant’s allegations of gender discrimination. Respondents agreed to pay Complainant $55,000 in compensatory damages to Complainant, $10,000 in civil penalties. Respondents also agreed to implement extensive affirmative relief tailored to prevent discrimination against transgender shelter residents including: updates to the DHS Peace Officer guide, training and Acacia agreed to designate a qualified housing specialist to help LGBTQI (and other) clients find long term housing.  See: NewNowNext Article

Sharon Dorram and Sally Hershberger NYC Salons Pay $70,000 in Civil Penalties for Cases of Race Discrimination Based on Hair and Commit to Creating Anti-Discrimination Policies and Diversity Programs and to Perform Community Service and Undergo Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Training
Two former employees filed complaints against a salon owned by Sharon Dorram and Sally Hershberger, alleging that the salon’s grooming policy unlawfully targeted Black employees with natural hair and/or hairstyles associated with Black people. Following the Law Enforcement Bureau’s investigation, the Commission and Respondents entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondents to pay a civil penalty of $70,000 to the City of New York; cease unlawful enforcement of their grooming policy; create a policy detailing their obligations under the New York City Human Rights Law; conduct anti-discrimination training and training on obligations under the NYCHRL; distribute the Commission’s Legal Enforcement Guidance on Race Discrimination on the Basis of Hair; create a “Natural Hair Program” through which Respondents’ New York City salons will work with New York City based hairstyling schools to provide training to Respondents’ New York City employees on how to cut and style natural hair; create a “Multi-Cultural Internship Program” aimed at developing and mentoring student stylists from underrepresented groups, including people of color, and commit to increase the number of employees from these groups at Respondents’ New York City salons; perform community service with a racial justice organization that focuses on hair discrimination in Black communities and/or promoting Black beauty; post copies of the Commission’s Notice of Rights, Pregnancy notice, Stop Sexual Harassment Act Notice; and distribute the Stop Sexual Harassment Act Factsheet.  See: Press Release | New York Times Article

Owner, Broker, and Real Estate Agent Settle for Refusing Rental to Tenant with Young Children
Complainant filed a complaint alleging that Respondents, Fabio Realty, Joesph Fabio, Won Lee and Alice Bosi, denied him an apartment because his children were under the age of fourteen. After an Law Enforcement investigation, the other Respondents, the broker and owner of the building, were found liable for the agent’s denial. Complainant and Respondents entered into a conciliation agreement requiring the broker to pay $6,000 in emotional distress and lost housing opportunity damages to Complainant. The owner agreed to pay $7,500 in civil penalties, and the real estate agent, who no longer works in the industry, agreed to complete community service. The broker and owner also agreed to attend an anti-discrimination training.

Fragrance Company Le Labo Settles Former Temporary Worker's Race Discrimination Case by Paying $27,691 in Damages and Penalties and Training Managers
A woman of color of Jamaican descent, employed as a temporary warehouse worker at Le Labo Holdings, LLC, alleged that her white supervisor spoke to her in a “Southern Mammy” voice on one occasion and, after Complainant objected, got the temporary staffing company to replace Complainant with another temp. Following the Law Enforcement Bureau’s investigation, Complainant, Respondents, and the Commission entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondents to pay the Complainant a full back pay award of $2,691 plus $17,500 in emotional distress damages; pay $7,500 in civil penalties; train managers on the New York City Human Rights Law; and post the Commission’s Notice of Rights, Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, and Pregnancy in Employment posters at its locations.

Abeco Management, LLC, Pays $20,000 Civil Penalty for Refusal To Rent to Voucher-Holders
In a Commission-initiated investigation, staff from Respondent Abeco Management, LLC, a management company overseeing approximately 40 buildings, told a Commission tester that Abeco does not accept tenants with government-issued housing vouchers. The Commission filed a complaint alleging source of income discrimination, and entered into a conciliation agreement with Respondent requiring the payment of $20,000 in civil penalties, the Commission’s “Fair Housing, It’s the Law” notice to be provided to all tenants, anti-discrimination training for all staff including the distribution of the Commission’s “Best Practices for Housing Providers to Avoid Source of Income Discrimination” document, and the creation and distribution of an anti-discrimination policy.

Small Landlord Settles Case Alleging Discrimination Based on Tenant’s Immigration Status
A tenant filed a complaint against his landlord alleging discrimination based on his perceived immigration status because his landlord repeatedly threatened to report him to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Complainant rents a basement apartment in Respondent’s only building. The conciliation agreement included Respondent waiving $9,000 owed in back rent, the return of Complainant’s $1,000 security deposit upon Complainant vacating the apartment at the end of his lease, Respondent paying $1,000 in civil penalties, and Respondent attending an anti-discrimination training.

Security Company Pays Damages for Requesting Proof for Service Dog at Whole Foods
Complainant filed a complaint alleging that an employee of Respondent, Elite Investigations which provides security services at Whole Foods, requested proof that his dog was a service animal during a visit to Whole Foods. The security officer did not deny Complainant service. Respondents cooperated fully with the Commission’s investigation. The Commission reviewed the security company and Whole Foods’s policies and training procedures on service animals. Complainant and Respondent entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondent Elite Investigations to pay $2,500 in emotional distress damages to Complainant.

Queens Co-op Resolves Pre-Complaint Matter By Accommodating Shareholder with Disabilities, Implement Accommodations Policy, and Train Property Manager
A Walden Terrace, Inc. shareholder who has a disability and uses a wheelchair alleged that his co-op board and property manager failed to accommodate his disability. The co-op board agreed to build a ramp or lift to accommodate the shareholder’s wheelchair at the front entrance of the building. The board also agreed to implement an accommodations policy at the building and to have its property manager attend the Commission’s anti-discrimination training.

Broker Pays Voucher Holder $3,000 in Damages for Effectively Denying Housing By Requiring Onerous Fees and Other Requirements for Voucher Holders Not Imposed on Other Prospective Tenants
A prospective tenant attempting to use her Section 8 voucher to find an apartment was told by a small broker in Brooklyn that she had to pay an up-front fee if she wanted to initiate a rental process with a voucher. The broker also had separate lists of available apartments for prospective tenants with vouchers, and had other discriminatory fees and requirements in his application materials that disproportionately impacted voucher holders. The Commission settled the complaint between the parties and secured a $3,000 emotional distress award for the Complainant. The Commission completed a separate intervention for the Complainant and helped her secure housing and retain her voucher, as it would have expired if the Commission had not intervened.

WellLife Network, Inc. Settles Disability Discrimination Claim, Agrees To Pay $45,000 in Damages and Penalties, and Agrees to Training, Policy Revisions, and Legal Postings
WellLife Network, Inc. (“WellLife”) agreed to settle a disability discrimination claim brought by Complainant, a shift supervisor at one of its assisted living facilities, alleging that WellLife did not accommodate her disability, which resulted in Complainant’s termination. After its investigation, the Commission found probable cause to credit Complainant’s allegations. The Law Enforcement Bureau, Complainant, and WellLife agreed to conciliate the matter. WellLife agreed to pay Complainant $30,000 in emotional distress damages and pay the City of New York $15,000 in civil penalties. In addition, WellLife agreed to conduct trainings on the New York City Human Rights Law, revise its anti-discrimination policies, and post the Commission’s Notice of Rights and the Commission’s Pregnancy Employment Notice.

AlliedBarton Security Services LLC Settles Disability Discrimination Claim Filed by Security Guard Applicant; Pays Over $28,000 in Damages, Backpay, and Penalties
Complainant, who has a disability, applied for two security guard positions with Respondent AlliedBarton Security Services LLC (“AlliedBarton”). Complainant alleged that he was not chosen for those positions because of his disability, based on alleged discriminatory comments about his disability made by AlliedBarton employees during the interview process. After an investigation, the Commission, Complainant, and Respondents agreed to conciliate the matter. AlliedBarton agreed to pay Complainant $15,000 in emotional distress damages and $3,744 in backpay, pay $10,000 in civil penalties to the City of New York, revise and post its anti-discrimination policies, and conduct training for all recruiting managers and staffing specialists in New York City.

Eger Health Care and Rehabilitation Center Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Claim by Former Employee; Pays $45,000 in Damages and Penalties, and Other Affirmative Relief
Complainant, a certified nursing assistant formerly employed by Eger Health Care and Rehabilitation Center (“Eger”), filed a complaint against her former employer and four of its employees for failure to reasonably accommodate her pregnancy. After an investigation, the Commission issued a probable cause determination, finding that her supervisors failed to accommodate Complainant’s scheduling requests necessitated by her pregnancy and disciplined her for lateness caused by her morning sickness. Eger agreed to pay $30,000 in emotional distress damages to Complainant and $15,000 in civil penalties; conduct training for their management staff regarding their obligations to provide reasonable accommodations under the New York City Human Rights Law, institute policies compliant with the New York City Human Rights Law subject to Commission approval, and post the Commission’s Pregnancy Employment Notice.

Orva Online Shoes LLC Settles Pregnancy Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Claims
A former employee filed pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment claims against Orva Shoes, LLC, a retail store. She alleged that a store manager made sexually inappropriate comments and initiated a lewd conversation with her on several occasions. Upon Complainant’s request, the company transferred her to a different location. At the new location, Complainant alleged that as an accommodation for her pregnancy, she requested to change her position to a cashier or to transfer her to a different department where she would not have to use the stairs or stand as often. The new manager refused and placed Complainant on unpaid leave for more than four months, earlier than she anticipated to be on leave. Respondent settled the claims for $6,800 in backpay, $20,000 in emotional distress damages, and $12,000 in civil penalties paid to the City of New York. Respondent also agreed to update its employment manual to be in compliance with the New York City Human Rights Law; train all supervisory and managerial employees on the New York City Human Rights Law, post the Commission’s Notice of Rights, Pregnancy Employment Notice, and Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act Legal Notice at all of their business locations and on its website; and require that the Law Enforcement Bureau monitor all incidents of alleged discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and all requests for reasonable accommodations made by employees for the next two years.

Landlord Pays Over $24,000 in Damages and Civil Penalties for Refusing To Accept a Tenant’s Section 8 Voucher
Respondents, who own a total of three buildings with 15 units, refused to accept Complainant’s Section 8 Voucher, ported from another jurisdiction to be used towards her rent in New York City. As a result, Complainant lost her voucher and had to seek alternative housing options. The Commission worked with Complainant’s out-of-state case worker to reinstate her voucher so she was able to re-port it to New York City. In addition to her voucher restoration, the Commission, Complainant, and Respondent entered in to a conciliation agreement requiring Respondents to pay over $20,000 to Complainant in economic and emotional distress damages, including the moving costs Complainant incurred because of the denial. Respondent paid $4,000 in civil penalties, agreed to train all employees with job duties related to reviewing and accepting prospective tenants, and to post the Commission’s Fair Housing poster in all their buildings in New York City.

NYC Department of Education Pays $18,500 to Teacher After Vice-Principal Shows Transphobic Meme
A teacher filed a complaint against the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) alleging that a middle school vice-principal approached a group of teachers grading papers and showed them a highly transphobic meme advocating violence against transgender people and disparaged people with disabilities. The Law Enforcement Bureau conducted an investigation and found evidence that this had created a hostile work environment for Complainant. The teacher and the DOE entered into a conciliation agreement in which the DOE agreed to pay $18,500 to Complainant for her emotional distress; post a Notice of Rights; and train the school’s entire staff on the New York City Human Rights Law, with a focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer rights, and specifically addressing why the meme which led to the filing of the case was offensive and transphobic.

GNC Pays $35,000 Civil Penalty, Revises Policies, and Conducts Anti-Discrimination Training for All Employees in New York City to Resolve Case Brought by Commission for Illegal Application
Commission testing revealed that GNC’s online employment application still contained a question about criminal history five months after the passage of the Fair Chance Act. The Commission brought suit and GNC quickly modified the application to remove the unlawful question. During the investigation, GNC demonstrated that they did not perform criminal background checks on any applicants and that no applicants were denied employment due to criminal history. To resolve the case, GNC agreed to pay a $35,000 civil penalty, revise its policies to conform with the NYCHRL, provide anti-discrimination training to every employee in New York City, and to post the Commission’s Notice of Rights Poster in every New York City location.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens Pays $27,000 in Damages to Resolve Pre-Fair Chance Act Complaint, Along with Affirmative Relief
Respondent asked Complainant whether he had ever been convicted of a crime during the application process at a hospital. Complainant truthfully answered “no.” After extending an offer of employment, Respondent conducted a criminal background check, which revealed a conviction for a violation. The person reviewing Complainant’s criminal history was not aware that a violation does not constitute a “crime” as defined by relevant law, and therefore interpreted Complainant’s answer that he had never been convicted of a crime to be a misrepresentation. Respondent rescinded Complainant’s job offer based on that perceived misrepresentation. After Complainant filed a Complaint, Respondent realized the mistake and hired Complainant. Because Respondent still faced liability under controlling law holding that a decision based on a mistake regarding a criminal history is still a decision based on criminal history for purposes of the NYCHRL, Respondent agreed to resolve the case for $13,652 in emotional distress and full backpay of $13,348. Respondent also agreed to update its Fair Chance Act Policies, to train employees with job duties related to hiring on the Fair Chance Act, and to post a Notice of Rights.

Non-profit Pays $47,500 in Damages for Terminating Employee Due to Criminal History
A former employee filed a pre-Fair Chance Act Complaint alleging that she was terminated four days into her employment with a not for profit property management company after Respondent learned that Complainant had been convicted of petit larceny in her early twenties. Complainant was unemployed for approximately three and a half months before finding a new job. Respondent alleged that Complainant was terminated for reasons unrelated to her criminal history and that they hired another individual with a petit larceny conviction to replace Complainant after terminating her. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”) conducted an investigation and determined that while some of Respondent’s allegations were true, Complainant’s criminal history was at least a motivating factor in her termination. LEB issued a finding of probable cause and referred the case to OATH. After discovery, the parties resolved the matter. Respondent agreed to submit its Fair Chance Act Policies for review, train all employees on the NYCHRL; post a “Notice of Rights” at its office; and pay the Complainant $37,500 in emotional distress damages and $10,000 in back pay. The Commission did not seek a Civil Penalty because the company had a demonstrated commitment to hiring individuals with criminal histories and had limited financial resources.

June/July 2019

Home Depot Undergoes Training, Revises Its Anti-Discrimination Policy, Makes Written Apology, and Pays $3,000 in Emotional Distress Damages to Complainant in Race Discrimination Case
A customer, who is Black, filed a complaint against Home Depot alleging that when she attempted to make a purchase at the retailer’s Bronx store, a cashier became upset and used racist language. The Commission, Complainant, and Respondent entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondent to pay $3,000 to Complainant for emotional distress damages; train its staff on their obligations under the New York City Human Rights Law; and make a written apology to the Complainant. Over the course of the investigation, Respondent also revised and updated its anti-discrimination policies.

Morton Williams Supermarkets Pays $22,500 in Damages in Sexual Harassment Case and Commits To Creating Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies and Training
A former employee filed a complaint against Morton Williams Supermarkets and a Morton Williams manager alleging that she was subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. Following the Law Enforcement Bureau’s investigation, the Commission and the parties entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Morton Williams to pay $12,500 in emotional distress damages to the Complainant, pay a civil penalty of $10,000 to the City of New York, conduct in-person anti-discrimination training for all managerial employees, create a policy detailing its obligations under the New York City Human Rights Law, which must include policies and procedures for the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace, and post copies of the Commission’s Notice of Rights, Stop Sexual Harassment Act Notice, and Pregnancy Employment Notice at all of its locations in New York City.

Taylor Recycling Center and Its Successor Company Vee Recycling Inc. Pays $60,000 in Emotional Distress Damages and $50,000 in Civil Penalties To Settle Sexual Harassment Claim; Individually-Named Owner Must Perform 50 Hours of Community Service
A former employee filed a sexual harassment claim against her employer, Taylor Recycling Center, Inc. (“Taylor Recycling”), a recycling company, alleging egregious claims of sexual harassment by the owner that escalated from harassing comments to forcible physical touching. Taylor Recycling has ceased operations. The settlement was reached with Taylor Recycling and its successor company, Vee Recycling Inc. (“Vee”) to pay $60,000 in emotional distress damages to the complainant, $50,000 in civil penalties to the City of New York, to create and implement a written policy detailing its obligations under the New York City Human Rights Law, implement procedures for the prevention and detection of unlawful discriminatory practices and a meaningful and responsive procedure for investigating complaints, and display postings outlining its obligations under the New York City Human Rights Law, including the Stop Sexual Harassment Act Notice in English and Spanish. In addition, the individually named Respondent-owner must perform fifty (50) hours of community service working with organizations that provide services to the homeless population.

Gansevoort Hotel Agrees To Pay a Black Customer Who Alleged Race Discrimination $10,000 in Damages and $5,000 in Civil Penalties to the City of New York
A Black customer filed a complaint with the NYC Commission on Human Rights because they were denied entry to a hotel bar, despite their white friends been previously allowed in. Complainant alleged race discrimination. Following an investigation by the agency, the hotel agreed to pay $10,000 to the customer, $5,000 in civil penalties to the City of New York, and conduct anti-discrimination training for all staff.

NYC Administration for Children’s Services Settles Pregnancy Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Claims by Former Employee, Pays $23,000 in Damages, and Agrees to Monitoring of Sexual Harassment Complaints
Complainant, a former special officer at a secure facility administered by the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (“ACS”), filed a complaint alleging that she endured sexual harassment by a supervisor while on the job, that he tried to terminate her employment when she became pregnant, and that ACS failed to properly accommodate her pregnancy. The Law Enforcement Bureau conducted an investigation and found evidence that a former supervisor may have sexually harassed complainant and attempted to terminate her employment because of her pregnancy. The Commission, Complainant, and Respondents entered into a settlement agreement whereby ACS agreed to pay Complainant $23,000 in emotional distress damages, as well as the following affirmative relief at the relevant facility: the Law Enforcement Bureau will monitor internal complaints of sexual harassment for one (1) year; the managers and directors of the facility will take the Commission’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Training; ACS will distribute the Commission’s Stop Sexual Harassment materials to the facility’s employees; and ACS will post the Commission’s Notice of Rights, Pregnancy Accommodations at Work, and “It’s Not Just a Joke, It’s Sexual Harassment” posters throughout the facility.

Tomba Realty, a Bronx Landlord Pays Tenant Emotional Distress Damages and Institutes Lifetime Preferential Rent for Threatening Eviction for Emotional Support Animal
Tomba Realty, a Bronx landlord, has agreed to compensate a complainant living with disabilities after it threatened to raise his rent and evict him because he has an emotional support animal. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau reviewed communications that Tomba Realty had sent to the complainant and determined that they were in clear violation of the New York City Human Rights Law, which requires landlords to reasonably accommodate emotional support and service animals even if there is a “no pets” clause in the lease. Tomba and the complainant entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Tomba to pay the complainant $6,000; make complainant’s nearly $500 preferential rent credit permanent; pay a civil penalty of $2,500 to the City of New York; allow the Commission to monitor its evictions for one (1) year; put up Notice of Rights posters; and require that the building’s property manager attend a training on the New York City Human Rights Law.

 

April/May 2019

The Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation Settles a Fair Chance Act Claim, Paying $6,000 in Damages and Agreeing to Change its Anti-Discrimination Policies and Train its Employees on the NYCHRL
The Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, a non-profit, settles a case alleging violations of the Fair Chance Act.  The employer paid the Complainant $6,000 in damages, agreed to conduct anti-discrimination trainings for all employees annually, make extensive revisions to its anti-discrimination policies and Employee Handbook, and display postings notifying employees of their rights under the NYCHRL.
 
Mitchell Lama co-op, Third Housing, Electchester Development in Fresh Meadows, Queens Pays $30,000 in Damages and Penalties to Settle Disability Discrimination and Associational Discrimination Claims; Agrees to Drop Eviction Case, Create NYCHRL Policies, and Undergo Monitoring
An owner of a unit in a cooperative apartment building removed carpeting throughout the unit because it exacerbated her child’s allergies, placing the family in violation of the rules of the housing cooperative, Third Housing Inc. Corporation.  After the co-op initiated an eviction case against the family, Complainant filed a disability discrimination and associational discrimination complaint on behalf of herself and her child alleging that the co-op failed to reasonably accommodate the child’s health condition. To settle the claim, the parties entered into a conciliation agreement requiring that the co-op waive the carpeting rule upon Complainant’s installation of alternate soundproof flooring. Additionally, the co-op will discontinue the housing court case with prejudice and adjust the family’s maintenance balance to remove approximately $10,000 in related legal fees; develop policies and train board members and staff regarding obligations under the NYCHRL; make postings of the Commission’s “Fair Housing” poster; undergo two (2) years of monitoring; and pay $20,000 in emotional distress damages to Complainants and civil penalties of $10,000 to the City of New York.
 
99 Flavor Taste Restaurant to Install Accessible Barbecue Tables at Three Locations
Complainant, who uses a wheelchair for mobility, alleged that Respondent restaurant failed to accommodate her by not providing her seating that allowed her to enjoy cooking Korean barbecue with her son for his birthday. She was forced instead to sit far from the center of the table and blocked the passageway between tables, which was humiliating for her. As a settlement in the matter, Respondent agreed to install—at a significant cost—new customized Korean barbecue tables at all three of its restaurants that will permit those using wheelchairs to participate in the table barbecue cooking like all other patrons. Moreover, Respondent paid Complainant $4,500 in emotional distress damages, will train all employees on reasonable accommodations under the New York City Human Rights Law, and will post notices of patrons’ rights under the New York City Human Rights Law.
 
One of Nation’s Largest Tenant Application Processors Offers Option of Using an Independent Taxpayer Identification Numbers in Lieu of Social Security Number and Landlord, Rose Associates, Who Insisted on an Additional Security Deposit, Agrees to Two Months Free Rent
Complainant, an immigrant, alleged that Respondent, Rose Associates, a major NYC landlord, discriminated against her based on her immigration status in requiring her to obtain additional security for her apartment because her social security number “was too new.” In settling the case, Respondent agreed to provide Complainant two months of free rent (a $5,400 value), reimburse her $2,500 for fees incurred as a result of the security requirement, and require one of the nation’s largest tenant application processors to offer prospective tenants the option of using an independent taxpayer identification number (ITIN) in lieu of a social security number. It has also trained its employees on the requirements for landlords under the New York City Human Rights Law.
 
Adorable Pillows Pays Full Back Pay, Emotional Distress Damages, Civil Penalties, Two Years of Monitoring, Training and Postings To Settle a Pregnancy Discrimination Case
Complainant was pregnant when she worked at a Brooklyn pillow factory and alleged that after suffering a seconds-long dizzy spell due to her pregnancy, Respondents terminated her employment instead of allowing her to continue working. In settling the case, Respondents agreed to pay Complainant her full back pay of about $8,300; emotional distress damages of $7,500; and civil penalties of $7,500 to the City of New York. Respondents also agreed to training; posting notices to employees in English and Spanish of their rights under the New York City Human Rights Law; revising its anti-discrimination and reasonable accommodation policies; and two years of monitoring by the Law Enforcement Bureau of their handling of requests for reasonable accommodations.
 
NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Settles a Pregnancy Discrimination Case, Paying $28,750 in Back Pay and Emotional Distress Damages
The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs settled a pregnancy, gender-based discrimination failure to accommodate claim. The allegations were that the  employer failed to accommodate requests made related to her pregnancy, failed to engage in a cooperative dialogue and eventually terminated her employment because of pregnancy related absences. As part of the conciliation agreement, the employer paid $28,750 in back pay and emotional distress damages, agreed to attend anti-discrimination training, submit records of all requests for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy and/or disability to the Commission for a period of twelve months, and post a Notice of Rights  about pregnancy accommodations, sexual harassment, and other requirements under the NYCHRL.

February/March 2019

River Park Residences, L.P. Pays $160,000 in Emotional Distress Damages, Highest Award to Date in Housing Case, for Failing To Reasonably Accommodate Tenant with Disabilities, Creates Accessible Website, and Installs Automated Doors
The Law Enforcement Bureau resolved a case involving housing provider River Park Residences, L.P., in which a tenant alleged that River Park failed to reasonably accommodate his use of a wheelchair by refusing his repeated requests over several years to widen a bathroom door and install a roll-in shower in his apartment, and to make the building’s entrance accessible. After the Law Enforcement Bureau investigated and issued a probable cause determination, the parties entered into a conciliation agreement requiring that River Park revise its anti-discrimination policies; create a website—the first of its kind as part of a conciliation agreement with the Commission—that is specifically designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities and includes information about requesting reasonable accommodations; conduct anti-discrimination training for all employees; display the Commission’s postings; and pay Complainant $160,000 in emotional distress damages, the highest emotional distress damages award to date in a housing action. As further relief negotiated under the settlement, River Park has installed automated entrance and mailroom doors throughout the four buildings of River Park Towers to make the entire housing complex physically accessible to individuals with mobility impairments.

In Fair Chance Act Case, Montefiore Medical Center Pays $196,624 in Damages After Discriminating Against Employee on the Basis of his Criminal Conviction History
Complainant worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Division of Substance Abuse at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine before it was acquired by Respondent Montefiore Medical Center. As part of the acquisition, Complainant underwent a “re-hiring” process, upon which time Respondent Montefiore discovered his felony conviction from the early 1990s during a background check. Respondent Montefiore refused to re-hire Complainant on the basis of his prior conviction, and he filed a complaint with the Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”) alleging discrimination on the basis of his criminal conviction history, as well as other procedural violations under the Fair Chance Act of the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). LEB’s extensive investigation confirmed that Respondent Montefiore had failed to appropriately consider all of the Article 23-A factors under the New York State Corrections Law, including evidence of Complainant’s rehabilitation, whether the conviction directly related to Complainant’s fitness to perform his duties, which he had been performing successfully and without issue to date, and whether he posed an unreasonable risk to safety to members of the public or staff. Following LEB’s investigation, the Commission, Complainant, and Respondent Montefiore entered into a settlement agreement whereby Respondent Montefiore created a comprehensive Fair Chance Act policy to properly assess applicants or employees with criminal conviction histories, made postings at its New York City locations of the Commission’s General Know Your Rights information card, and agreed to provide trainings on the NYCHRL and the Fair Chance Act to relevant human resources and management employees. In addition, Respondent Montefiore agreed to pay Complainant $111,624 in backpay damages, which included overtime pay, $35,000 in emotional distress damages, and a $50,000 civil penalty to the City of New York.

Marketing Company Crosstown Solutions Creates Comprehensive Policies on Criminal Record Discrimination and other NYCHRL Protections
An applicant for employment filed a complaint alleging that Respondents failed to properly follow the Fair Chance Act process of the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). The parties entered into a private settlement agreement shortly afterward, but the Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”) proceeded to conduct an audit of Respondents’ anti-discrimination and background check policies given public interest concerns. In its policy review, LEB identified compliance issues and areas of improvement. Respondents thereafter signed a Stipulation and Order agreeing to comprehensive policy reform. Specifically, Respondents created guidelines for conducting background checks and evaluating employment candidates with criminal records, created a reasonable accommodation policy, and revised their anti-discrimination policies to fully comply with the NYCHRL. Respondents also committed to training and had their background check vendor revise its authorization form to comply with the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act.

Non-Profit Organization Implements Non-Discriminatory Admissions and Housing Policies and Agrees To Accept Housing Applicants Regardless of Age or Source of Income
A former resident of Respondent St. Mary’s Residence of New York, Inc., a non-profit women’s dormitory-style housing accommodation located in Manhattan, filed a Complaint with the Commission alleging that after losing her job and receiving a public assistance shelter allowance, St. Mary’s would not accept her shelter allowance for her rent, and then moved to evict her. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”) conducted an investigation and concluded that there was probable cause to credit the Complainant’s allegations that Respondents violated the law by maintaining a policy that it would not accept certain lawful sources of income, including government vouchers, and referred the matter to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Based on information uncovered in LEB’s investigation, the Commission joined the Complaint to allege that Respondents also maintained a policy that discriminated on the basis of age, restricting residency to those between 18 and 40 years of age. During the pendency of the investigation, Respondents began accepting all lawful sources of income from residents. The Commission subsequently entered into a settlement agreement with Respondents, requiring all individuals involved in the administration of the housing program to be trained in the New York City Human Rights Law, post the Commission’s notice of rights in conspicuous places in the residence, and maintain certain records regarding their application process. Respondents also drafted and implemented a new, non-discriminatory admissions and housing policy.

Commission Decision Awards $13,000 in Emotional Distress Damages for Refusal of Access-A-Ride Provider To Allow Service Dog in Vehicle
In Commission on Human Rights ex rel Rodriguez v. A Plus Worldwide Limo, Inc., and John Leonardi, issued in March 2019, the Commission found Respondents liable for repeatedly denying Complainant Access-A-Ride car services because of the presence of his service dog. The Commission ordered that Respondents pay Complainant $13,000 in emotional distress damages, undergo training on the New York City Human Rights Law, and perform six months of community service or, in the alternative, pay a fine of $15,000.

January 2019

Temp Agency Settles After Recruiter Violated Fair Chance Act by Ejecting a Job Applicant From a Job Interview Because of Criminal History
A job applicant filed a complaint against a temp agency alleging that he was ejected from a job interview because of his criminal history. The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau (“LEB”) conducted an investigation and concluded that there was probable cause to credit the complainant’s allegations that the recruiter had violated the Fair Chance Act in automatically rejecting all job applicants with any criminal history. The Commission, the complainant and the agency entered into a pay the complainant $7,500 in back pay, a civil penalty of $15,000 to the City of New York, and to implement new training and policies.

Breather.com Pays $7,500 in Civil Penalties and Trains its New York City Workforce to Resolve Commission-initiated Fair Chance Act Complaint
The Commission filed a complaint against the website Breather.com when, numerous times on three websites over the past year, the company published two ads for cleaner positions stating that a criminal background check would be required. LEB’s investigation discovered, however, that Breather had only conducted background checks after a conditional offer of employment and hired all applicants who had criminal records. To resolve the complaint, Breather agreed to pay $7,500 in civil penalties; train its New York City employees on the entire NYCHRL; separately train the person who evaluates candidates’ criminal records on the Fair Chance Act; generate employment policies compliant with the NYCHRL; and add the NYCHRL’s legal notices to its company intranet.

Commission Orders Landlord to Institute Measures to Ensure Accessibility for Tenants with Disabilities After Tenant Settles Discrimination Claim with $20,000 Buy-Out
A tenant, a person with disabilities who uses a wheelchair for mobility, lived on the third floor of a walk-up building without elevators or stairlifts. He requested accommodations and filed a complaint against his landlord the landlord failed to provide any modifications. After investigation, LEB conferred with Complainant and arranged for a $20,000 buyout of Complainant’s lease because Respondents had no units that were accessible by ramp or at ground level. The Commission also signed a Stipulation and Order with Respondents to secure policy changes, postings, and staff training.

The Commission Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Case with Cepin Food Corporation
Complainant, who worked as a cashier, filed a complaint against Cepin Food Corporation d/b/a California Fruit Market and its owner alleging pregnancy discrimination. Complainant alleged that shortly after disclosing her pregnancy, Respondents reduced her scheduled hours, began treating her in a hostile manner, and ultimately terminated her employment. LEB investigated the allegations and found that Complainant was subject to adverse employment actions on the basis of her pregnancy. LEB issued a determination of probable cause and referred the case to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. The parties subsequently entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondents to pay a total settlement amount of $28,000. Specifically, Respondents agreed to pay Complainant $17,000 in emotional distress damages and $5,500 in back pay and $5,500 to the City in civil penalties. Respondents also agreed to attend a training on the New York City Human Rights Law and place the Commission’s notice of rights and notice concerning pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions in a conspicuous workplace location.

Landlord Pays $80,000 in Damages for Refusing to Accept Applicant’s SEPS Voucher; Agrees to Adopt Model Tenant Screening Policies, Conduct Trainings, Make Postings, and Submit to Monitoring
A prospective tenant and the Commission jointly filed a complaint alleging that Respondent, the owner of three buildings containing affordable units, refused to accept Complainant’s SEPS Voucher and denied her housing application accordingly. After filing, Respondent promptly expressed a desire to resolve the case and cooperated fully in the Commission’s investigation. The Commission’s investigation revealed that Respondent had an unlawful policy of refusing to accept SEPS Vouchers, and that a total of two individuals, including Complainant, had been denied pursuant to that policy. Respondent accepted many other Voucher Recipients, however, including those with Section 8 and HASA Vouchers. The Commission, Complainant, and Respondent entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondent to pay $45,000 in emotional distress and lost housing opportunity damages to Complainant and $35,000 in civil penalties. Respondent also agreed to adopt model policies regarding tenant screening, reasonable accommodations, and the use of criminal history information in making housing decisions, to train all employees with managerial authority or with job duties related to reviewing applications, and to post the Commission’s Fair Housing poster in all buildings in New York City. 

Cepin Food Corporation Pays $28,000 in Damages and Penalties in Pregnancy Discrimination Case
Complainant, who worked as a cashier, filed a complaint against Cepin Food Corporation d/b/a California Fruit Market and its owner alleging pregnancy discrimination. Complainant alleged that shortly after disclosing her pregnancy, Respondents reduced her scheduled hours, began treating her in a hostile manner, and ultimately terminated her employment. The Law Enforcement Bureau investigated the allegations and found that Complainant was subject to adverse employment actions on the basis of her pregnancy. The Law Enforcement Bureau issued a determination of probable cause and referred the case to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. The parties subsequently entered into a conciliation agreement requiring Respondents to pay a total settlement amount of $28,000. Specifically, Respondents agreed to pay Complainant $17,000 in emotional distress damages and $5,500 in back pay and $5,500 in civil penalties to the City of New York. Respondents also agreed to attend a training on the New York City Human Rights Law and place the Commission’s notice of rights and pregnancy notice in a conspicuous location.