New York State’s comprehensive anti-discrimination statute is the New York State Human Rights Law (State Human Rights Law). The State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination based on specific protected classes in employment, housing, credit, places of public accommodations, and non-sectarian educational institutions. Under the State Human Rights Law, every citizen has an “equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life.”
With regard to employment, the State Human Rights Law makes it an “unlawful discriminatory practice” for an employer “to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment” or “to discriminate against an individual in compensation or in terms of conditions or privileges of employment” because of an individual's age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, or status as a victim of domestic violence. The State Human Rights Law also makes it illegal for an employer to discharge, expel, or otherwise discriminate against a person for opposing discriminatory practices, filing a complaint, testifying, or assisting in any proceeding related to enforcement of the State Human Rights Law. In addition, the State Human Rights Law prohibits an employer from compelling an employee who is pregnant from taking a leave of absence (unless the pregnancy prevents the employee from performing the job activities in a reasonable manner), or from subjecting an individual to harassment based on their status in one of the protected classes.
The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) is the state agency charged with enforcing the State Human Rights Law. DHR is responsible for receiving, investigating, and resolving individual complaints alleging violations of the State Human Rights Law and prosecuting unlawful discriminatory practices. DHR may also create studies, programs, and campaigns designed to inform and educate the public on the effects of discrimination and people’s rights and obligations under the law.
If you believe that you have experienced unlawful discrimination in violation of the State Human Rights Law, you have a right to file a claim with the DHR. The State Human Rights Law permits a complaint to be filed with the DHR within one (1) year of the most recent act of alleged discrimination (if you were terminated, you must file within one (1) year of the date you were first informed you would be terminated).
New York State Division of Human Rights (Headquarters)
One Fordham Plaza
Bronx, NY 10458