2019 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.
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.