2017 Press Releases

New York City Commission on Human Rights Holds First Public Hearing on Sexual Harassment in Over 40 Years
 
“Forty years after I served as New York City Human Rights Commissioner and held the first public hearings in the nation on discrimination against women, I could not be more pleased to see the Commission revisiting the issue, taking on the elusive issue of sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

“As we are experiencing a watershed moment in the women’s rights and social justice and civil rights movement, where women, men, and non-binary people are bravely coming forward to share their stories of sexual harassment across industries, the NYC Commission on Human Rights wants to learn directly from New Yorkers on how the City can better address sexual harassment and how we can work together to dismantle the systems that allow harassers and those complicit with them accountable," said NYC Commission of Human Rights Chair and Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis.

New York City Announces Veterans and Active Military Service Members Are Now Protected From Discrimination Under City Human Rights Law
  
“This new law will ensure that veterans and active military service members who risk their lives for this country are protected against discrimination and bias,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “We are proud to enforce this new law to get justice for victims and hold violators accountable so the brave individuals who serve this country get the dignity and respect they so richly deserve.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Charges 12 National And Local Businesses For Discriminating Against Job Applicants With Criminal Histories

“Everyone deserves a fair shot at employment, including those with a criminal record,” said Deputy Commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Hollis V. Pfitsch. “The NYC Human Rights Law was specifically amended to prohibit employers from asking applicants about their criminal history before offering them a job so people can be considered based on their skills and qualifications first, not their past. We hope these charges send a clear message to employers across the City that the Commission will not tolerate discrimination based on criminal history and that we will continue to vigorously test, investigate, and hold employers who violate the Law accountable so that every hardworking New Yorker who wants a job can find one.”

New York City Becomes First in Nation to Enforce Salary History Ban, 10/31/17

“Women and people of color deserve to be paid what they’re worth, not held back by their current or previous salary,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “Today’s law will enable job seekers to negotiate a fair salary based on their skills and will help break the cycle of income inequality that has been so prevalent in the workforce for so long. We are proud to enforce this law and are actively engaging business communities and advocates to make sure everyone understands their rights and obligations under the Law.”

New York City Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of 65 Jurisdictions in Support of Enforcing Colorado Anti-Discrimination Law, 10/30/17

“In New York City, refusing to serve individuals because of their sexual orientation is a clear violation of the NYC Human Rights Law, one of the most robust civil rights laws in the nation," said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Human Rights Commission, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “Anti-discrimination laws exist to protect everyone from discrimination and bias, including those with deeply held religious beliefs. The Commission fights every day to protect individuals from discrimination and bias and works to educate New Yorkers about the City’s diverse communities so that everyone has the same opportunities and access to goods and services. We look forward to continuing our work with the City's Law Department to bring greater attention to cases like this and empower victims of discrimination to seek help.”

Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Labor Policy & Standards Releases Report and Survey Results on the State of Workers' Rights in New York City , 9/20/2017

“As this timely report lays bare, workplace discrimination and harassment continue to rise across New York City, especially among our city’s most vulnerable communities,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Human Rights Commission. “Fortunately, New York City has one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the nation which protects everyone in the workplace, regardless of their national origin, immigration status, gender, and sexual orientation, among other categories. The NYC Commission on Human Rights continues to dedicate staff and resources to fight employment discrimination and to educate New Yorkers on their rights and how to seek help if they have been the victim of discrimination. I commend the Office of Labor Policy and Standards of the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs for its partnerships and commitment in this area and look forward to continuing our work together so that all workers in New York City get the respect and dignity they deserve.”

City Holds Day of Action to Bring Information and Resources to NYC's 30,000 Dreamers, 9/08/17

“Everyone in New York City has the right to live, work and visit free from discrimination and bias no matter what country they were born in, their immigration status, their cultural heritage or the language they prefer to speak,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “Dreamers in New York City are all New Yorkers and are protected by one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the nation. The Commission will use every resource it has to protect them from discrimination and harassment in employment, housing and public accommodations. If you or someone you know is the victim of discrimination, we urge you to report it to the Commission by calling our Infoline at 718-722-3131.”

New York City Announces Investigation into Tenant Harassment in Queens Condo Building Displaying Nazi Imagery and Confederate Posters, 8/29/2017

New York City announced today an investigation into allegations of tenant harassment at 47-55 39th Place in Sunnyside, Queens, which has displays of Nazi and Confederate imagery, swastikas and other hate symbols in the lobby. The NYC Commission on Human Rights launched the investigation on behalf of the City following public reports from Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, tenants and condo owners of a hostile environment due to alleged tenant harassment by the property manager or managers connected to the offensive displays in the common area. Under the NYC Human Rights Law, it is illegal to discriminate against or harass tenants because of their race, color, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation and other protected classes.
 
“Discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated in New York City and the NYC Commission on Human Rights is cracking down on anyone who thinks they are above the Law,” said Deputy Commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights Hollis V. Pfitsch. “Despite hostile rhetoric on the national level, no one in New York City has permission to harass or threaten another person because of who they are, what they believe, or what they look like. The Commission will continue to use every tool it has to investigate and prosecute violators and encourages anyone who witnesses or is a victim of discrimination or harassment to step forward and report it to the Commission.”

NYC Charges Queens Landlord With Retaliating Against Immigrant Tenants Who Filed Discrimination Complaints, 7/19/2017

New York City announced charges today against a landlord in Ridgewood, Queens for retaliating against immigrant tenants after they reported him to the NYC Commission on Human Rights for discrimination based on immigration status.

“The Commission will not hesitate to take action against bad actors when they retaliate against New Yorkers who have reported discrimination,” said Assistant Commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Sapna V. Raj. “The NYC Human Rights Law makes it illegal to retaliate against any individual for reporting discrimination, regardless of their immigration status. Everyone in New York City deserves the right to live free from discrimination and harassment and should not fear for their safety when reporting violations of the Law.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Charges Four Substance Abuse Centers with Discriminatory Intake Policies for Transgender Patients, 7/13/17

The NYC Commission on Human Rights announces today four complaints filed against substance abuse centers across the City for discriminatory policies involving the intake of transgender patients. The complaints, which the Commission filed on behalf of the City, were the result of proactive testing conducted by the Commission following reports of discrimination from advocates. The centers include Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (Brooklyn), Addicts Rehabilitation Center (Manhattan), Promesa Residential Health Care Facility (Bronx), and the Thomas and Marie White Health Center (Queens).

The Commission’s complaints, filed by its Law Enforcement Bureau, charge the centers with gender identity discrimination for refusing to accept transgender patients and for discriminatory housing policies, including assigning rooms based on a patient’s gender assigned at birth rather than their gender identity, subjecting patients to physical examinations, and forcing transgender patients into separate rooms. The substance abuse centers involved in these investigations have been notified of the alleged violations and the Commission continues the investigations.

New York City Held Day of Action in Queens to Remind Immigrant New Yorkers of Legal Protections Against Housing Discrimination and Harassment, 6/21/17
  
The de Blasio Administration today announced a Day of Action in Queens to inform immigrant New Yorkers of legal protections against discrimination in housing based on immigration status and national origin under the New York City Human Rights Law.
 
“The NYC Human Rights Law makes it illegal to discriminate or harass anyone in New York City based on immigration status and national origin,” said Deputy Commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights Hollis V. Pfitsch. “Protecting our city’s most vulnerable, especially immigrant communities affected by xenophobic rhetoric at the national level, is a priority for the Commission. We encourage anyone in New York City who believes they are the victim of discrimination to contact the Commission and report landlords who violate the law. We take all claims of discrimination very seriously, which can be lodged anonymously, and are using every resource at our disposal to protect vulnerable New Yorkers from discrimination and harassment.”

New York City Launches Citywide Anti-Discrimination Campaign in Response to Rise in Bias Incidents and Harassment Against Vulnerable New Yorkers, 5/23/2017
 
“Every New Yorker has the right to be themselves without being discriminated against, no matter where they come from, what language they speak, who they love, or their religious faith,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “At a time when bias incidents are on the rise, this campaign sends a clear message to all New Yorkers that they do have the right to live free from discrimination and harassment and that NYC has your back. In this city, we are all New Yorkers. No one has permission to discriminate against you or your community. If they do, rest assured that the NYC Commission on Human Rights will hold them accountable.”

Statement From Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis on New Yorkers’ Legal Right To Use Bathrooms Consistent With Gender Identity, 2/23/2017
 
“Every New Yorker has the legal right to use bathrooms and facilities consistent with their gender identity and expression, no questions asked. Safe and equal bathroom access is essential for everyone, and in New York City, it’s the law and has been since 2002. The NYC Commission on Human Rights, which enforces the City’s powerful anti-discrimination law, will continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect that right and the rights of all New Yorkers to live and work free from discrimination, including safe and equal access to bathrooms. If you or someone you know experiences or witnesses discrimination, call 311 and ask for Human Rights or call the Commission’s Infoline at 718-722-3131.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Reports 60 Percent Increase in Discrimination Inquiries in 2016, Increases Total Damages For Aggrieved New Yorkers

The Commission reported a significant increase in discrimination inquiries in 2016, receiving 8,330 reports in 2016 compared to 5,296 reports in 2015, a nearly 60 percent increase meaning that more New Yorkers are recognizing the Commission as a credible venue for justice… The Commission also increased total damages and civil penalties again in 2016 … [and] also increased the number of cases it closed in 2016.

“I’m incredibly proud of the Commission’s work this year fighting discrimination and getting justice for aggrieved New Yorkers — but our work is far from over,” said Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “Now more than ever, it is imperative that every person in this great city stands up for the values that make us New Yorkers – that no matter where you come from, what you believe, who you love, or where and how you worship, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.”

City Agencies Join Forces with Leading Muslim-American Organizations for #OneNewYork Day of Action: Protecting Our Muslim Communities

“No one in New York City should feel unsafe or threatened for being who they are,” said Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “The NYC Commission on Human Rights is here to protect all New Yorkers, including our Muslim communities, from discrimination and harassment which is illegal under the City’s Human Rights Law. The Commission is using every tool at its disposal to inform New Yorkers of their rights and encourage people to report acts of bias and discrimination. If anyone experiences or witnesses discrimination, we urge them to call the Commission’s Infoline at 718-722-3131 to report it.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Charges Wheelchair Assistance Contractor at JFK International Airport For Violating the NYC Human Rights Law By Repeatedly Discriminating Against Muslim Employees, 1/25/17

“We will not tolerate religious discrimination of any kind in New York City,” said Deputy Commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights Hollis V. Pfitsch. “Employees of every faith have a legal right to request religious accommodations and should not be harassed or discriminated against by their employer for requesting break time to observe their faith. The Commission is working to hold these employers accountable and to make sure that all New Yorkers, including hardworking Muslim employees, are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Charges Five Large Landlords and Brokers Controlling Approximately 20,000 Units Citywide with Discrimination for Repeatedly Refusing to Accept Housing Vouchers, 1/10/2017

“Make no mistake, the Commission is cracking down on source of income housing discrimination,” said Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “The Commission is aggressively going after larger landlords and brokers who deprive vulnerable New Yorkers of safe and affordable housing. We have significantly increased testing in this area, a powerful tool in identifying violations, and are heavily investing in prevention by educating landlords, brokers, and housing providers and their employees about the law. No New Yorker should be turned away from housing because of how they pay their rent and the Commission will continue its increased enforcement so that every New Yorkers with a voucher can find a safe place for themselves and their families to live.”