In Public Spaces

Image from "You DO Have The Right" video, showing an example of public accommodation discrimination

The NYC Commission on Human Rights protects individuals from discrimination in the area of public accommodations. Anyone who provides goods and services to the general public is considered a public accommodation.

It is against the City Human Rights Law for a public accommodation to withhold or refuse to provide full and equal enjoyment of those goods or services based on the following protected classes under the Law:

  • Age
  • Alienage or Citizenship Status
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Gender Identity
  • Marital or Partnership Status
  • National Origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Race
  • Religion/Creed
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Status as a Veteran or Active Military Service Member

Examples of Public Accommodations:

  • Stores
  • Banks
  • Medical or dental offices
  • Government agencies
  • Hair salons
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels
  • Theaters
  • Restaurants
  • Schools
  • Taxis

Access to Public Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

  • Many people with disabilities may need a reasonable accommodation to safely and independently enter or use a public accommodation.
  • The City Human Rights Law requires that providers make reasonable efforts to grant access and services to all customers.
  • Reasonable accommodation may require a structural change, such as constructing a ramp or providing accessible parking spaces, or it may require a change in policy, such as permitting service animals to accompany a disabled person into a restaurant.

Taxi Riders

  • If a taxi driver refuses to pick you up or discriminates against you based on any of the protected classes under the Human Rights Law, you may file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and the Taxi and Limousine Commission by calling 311 or (718) 722-3131. 
  • Note the cab’s medallion number, the driver’s name, license number, the date, location, and time. Also, ask for a receipt since it could support your complaint.


  • It is against the Law to be denied access to a store or refused services based on your membership in a protected class under the Law.
  • A store may reserve the right to inspect your bags, check your bags at the door, or closely observe your conduct in the store in an effort to prevent shoplifting; however, such actions may not be based on a protected class, e.g. race.