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NYC Human Rights Law prohibits workplace discrimination


For many people, the idea of discrimination seems antiquated. Although the practice has no useful purpose in the workplace, let alone society, some people intentionally and unintentionally practice discrimination. However, New Yorkers now know that both state and some municipal laws prohibit employment discrimination and protect employees' rights as both workers and citizens.

New York City's Human Rights Law, particularly Title 8 of the city's administrative code, bans discrimination in certain areas, one of them being any workplace in the city. Under the law, employees of all creeds, races, colors, national origins and sexual orientations are protected from workplace discrimination. Age discrimination, although not as common, is also prohibited. People with disabilities, including pregnant women who sometimes have limited working capacities due to their condition, are also protected by the law.

A worker who claims discrimination can file a complaint against a specific person engaging in the practice or against an employer. In the complaint, the worker should state in writing the name of the party who allegedly committed the offense and the alleged acts that were committed. The complaint should be signed by the worker. In filing a complaint, a worker may seek the assistance of an employment law professional. Cases can be heard in court or settled through conciliation or mediation. In a settlement, both parties will sign a conciliation agreement that details what is required of them. Any violation of the provisions can lead to further legal action.

As extensive as the law is, it does have some limits. According to the state's statute of limitations, a complaint must be filed at least within one year of the alleged act of discrimination. The act should also take place within any of New York City's five boroughs to be eligible for action from the Commission of Human Rights.

Source: nyc.gov, "What the law covers," accessed on July 28, 2014

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