The New York Human Rights Law is one of the most comprehensive civil
rights laws in the nation. The Law prohibits discrimination in employment,
housing and public accommodations based on race, color, creed, age,
national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including
gender identity and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, disability,
or marital status. In addition, the Law affords protection against
discrimination in employment based on arrest or conviction record
and status as a victim of domestic violence. In housing, the Law
affords additional protection based on lawful occupation and family
status. The City Human Rights Law also prohibits retaliation and
City Human Rights Law was amended in April 2002 to broaden the scope
of protection from gender discrimination by defining "gender"
to include actual or perceived sex as well as a "person's gender
identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression, whether
or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or
expression is different from that traditionally associated with
the legal sex assigned to that person at birth." The Commission
is currently working with the transgender community and reviewing
how other jurisdictions handle these issues in the formulation of
guidelines for prosecution.
The New York City Commission on Human Rights is charged with the
enforcement of the Human Rights Law, Title 8 of the Administrative
Code of the City of New York. In addition, the Commission is mandated
to educate the public and encourage positive community relations.
To carry out its mission, the Commission is divided into two major
bureaus - Law Enforcement and Community Relations. The Law Enforcement
Bureau is responsible for the intake, investigation, mediation and
prosecution of complaints alleging violations of the Law. The Community
Relations Bureau helps cultivate understanding and respect among
the City's many diverse communities and offers pre-complaint intervention
through its borough-based Community Service Centers and the numerous
educational and outreach programs they provide.