The Commission's Office of the Chair (OC) is responsible for issuing final Decisions and Orders after a trial and interim orders on issues that may arise before trial. After the trial, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issues a Report and Recommendation, which may include findings of fact, decisions of law, and recommendations on damages and civil penalties. The Commission's Office of General Counsel gathers the Report and Recommendation, along with any post-trial comments and/or objections submitted by the parties, and provides the information to the Office of the Chair (OC) for a final Decision and Order. The OC reviews the matter, including the trial transcripts, evidence presented at trial, ALJ's Report and Recommendation and any post-trial comments or objections de novo, and then issues its Decision and Order, adopting or rejecting – in whole or in part – the ALJ's Report and Recommendation.
Click on the case to see the full text of the decision and order.
Cardenas v. Automatic Meter Reading Corp, 10/28/2015: In Cardenas v. Automatic Meter Reading Corp., a business owner was found to have sexually harassed a female employee over a three-year period, repeatedly engaging in unwanted touching, regularly using lewd and sexually inappropriate language to and about her, and posting a sexually explicit cartoon in the workplace identified as the complainant. Here, the Commission issued its highest civil penalty allowable under the law – $250,000. In addition to the civil penalty, payable to the general fund of the City of New York, the complainant was awarded damages totaling $422,670, including back pay, front pay, and emotional distress damages.
Addendum: In late 2015, Respondents Automatic Meter Reading Corporation and Jerry Fund appealed the Commission's Decision and Order in State Supreme Court, New York County. The Commission opposed the appeal and cross-moved for an order dismissing the appeal and enforcing the Commission's Decision and Order. Complainant Monica Cardenas also opposed the appeal.
On February 28, 2019, Justice Shlomo S. Hagler of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, affirmed the Commission's 2015 Decision and Order in full, including affirming the Commission's determination that $250,000, the highest civil penalty award available under the NYC Human Rights Law was appropriate given the extreme and egregious nature of the sexual harassment, and $422,000 in damages to Complainant Monica Cardenas, including $200,000 in emotional distress damages, was warranted.
Commission on Human Rights v. CU 29 Copper Restaurant & Bar, 10/28/2015: In Commission on Human Rights v. CU 29 Copper Restaurant & Bar, an immigrant owner of a small business with five employees was found to have placed a Craigslist ad looking for a “female bartender” and a “pizza man” – both of which constitute gender-based limitations on employment in violation of the NYCHRL. Here, the Commission required that Respondent attend a free training on the law and post a Notice of Rights under the NYCHRL in its place of business. In deciding against levying civil penalties, the Commission considered Respondent’s financial resources, sophistication and size of the enterprise, the willfulness of the violation, the ability to obtain counsel, whether levying civil penalties is necessary to deter future violations, and the impact on the public of issuing civil penalties on the small business.
Commission on Human Rights v. Crazy Asylum LLC, 10/28/2015: In Commission on Human Rights v. Crazy Asylum LLC, a business was found to have placed a Craigslist ad seeking a “waitress,” which constitutes an unlawful gender-based limitation in employment. Respondents, Crown Hospitality Group and The Windsor, are larger businesses that own seven upscale restaurants in New York City. Here, the Commission ordered a civil penalty of $10,000 – twice the amount recommended by the administrative law judge at the City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings – due to the employer’s failure to take the complaint process seriously, failure to respond to the LEB for well over two years, failure to comply with an order from the administrative law judge, and the posting of another unlawful advertisement including another illegal gender-based limitation while the case was still pending. The Commission determined that a civil penalty was necessary to deter future violations. In addition to a fine, the Commission also required the employer to post a Notice of Rights under the NYCHRL as well as undergo training on the law.