2022 Settlement Highlights

Two men shaking hands and smiling at a camera, with backdrop reading “The Fair Chance Act” behind them Commission Supervising Attorney Paul Keefe with New Yorker at #FairChanceNYC Press Conference, November 2017 (Photo credit: Adrienne Nicole Productions).

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.

January 2022

Tumblr, Inc. Agrees to Groundbreaking Agreement After Commission-Initiated Investigation into Algorithmic Discrimination Against LGBTQ Community
The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau initiated an investigation into the Adult Content Ban used by Tumblr, Inc., to ban “adult” lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) content. The ban automatically removed posts via an image-classifying algorithm (Classifier), although it was later changed so that human reviewers had the final say.

Through a Stipulation and Order, Respondent Tumblr agreed to take steps that include hiring an expert on image classifying algorithms and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) to examine Tumblr’s Classifier for SOGI bias and determine the necessary steps to address such bias, taking those steps, and reporting to the Commission on their effects. The expert will also train the engineers and Reviewers who work on the Classifier on how to avoid and remove SOGI bias. Additionally, Tumblr agreed to train employees and contractors on the New York City Human Rights Law and unconscious SOGI bias; revise its appeal process to allow users to include a narrative; search those narratives and review appeals under the ban for SOGI bias and then use the resulting images to retrain the Classifier and the reviewers; transfer employees to work on the improvements to the Classifier and appeal process; and to post the Commission’s Notice of Rights and LGBTQ rights brochure on its employee intranet.