The New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR), is the state agency that oversees the enforcement of New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). NYSHRL prohibits, among other things, employment discrimination based on a number of factors. It is unlawful for a business with four or more employees in New York State to discriminate against a worker or applicant because of the following, sometimes called protected characteristics:
When an employee files a complaint with the NYSDHR, the agency begins an investigation which includes notifying your employer of the charges and, if appropriate, filing a copy of your complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that handles employment discrimination matters. At the conclusion of the investigation, if the DHR determines there is probable cause that discrimination occurred, it will present the matter at a public hearing. If the agency determines that there is no probable cause, the case gets dismissed. In the event of dismissal, the employee has 60 days to appeal the matter to the state supreme court.
In February 2017 New York’s Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the DHR’s investigations during 2016 led to the recovery of millions of dollars for deserving New Yorkers. 921 individuals recovered a total of 5.2 million dollars because of investigations into employment, housing, and public accommodation discrimination. The DHR also issued penalties against employers in excess of $275,000, which gets paid to the state. As reported on the Governor’s website, www.governor.ny.gov, the largest compensation victories came from employment discrimination cases.
Some of the significant employment discrimination recoveries by DHR in 2016 were:
Unlawful discrimination occurs in the workplace in various ways. When an employer makes a decision based on a protected characteristic, it can violate NYSHRL (or even Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a federal law). Discrimination can also include the harassment that’s based on a protected characteristic. Consider some examples that can help you understand if the conduct you are experiencing may be prohibited by law and entitle you to file a claim.
If any of these situations sound familiar to you or make you think twice about something going on at your place of employment, consider whether you might have a claim for unlawful workplace discrimination.
Leeds Brown Law, P.C. is a full-service employment firm representing clients who have experienced workplace discrimination in New York City, Long Island, and the surrounding areas. If your employer or a prospective employer has mistreated you or made a decision about your employment based on one of the protected categories above, you may be entitled to receive monetary compensation. Leeds Brown can help you get it.
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