Law Enforcement Bureau
The Commission's Law Enforcement Bureau (LEB)
enforces the City Human Rights Law. LEB is responsible for the intake,
investigation, mediation and prosecution of complaints alleging
violations of the law.
the beginning of the new administration, the Commission inherited
a backlog of nearly 5,000 cases, some dating back as far as twenty
years. One of the primary goals was to reduce the large inventory
of cases quickly and efficiently while at the same time making sure
that the complainants received a just resolution. By the end of
2002, the Commission's caseload was reduced to fewer than 1,500
cases, a number that includes approximately 500 new filings that
year. This reduction was accomplished by: thoroughly reviewing the
merits of all 5,000 cases; retraining the attorneys and investigators;
conducting early intervention before the complaint is filed; and
beginning complaint investigations at the intake stage.
Closures graph indicates, in 2002, the Commission closed over five
times the number of cases closed in the previous two years.
The Determinations and Resolutions charts illustrate that the percentages
and types of resolutions were consistent with previous years. The
only difference in 2002 appeared in the settlement percentages.
has the authority to obtain cash settlements against people who
violate the Human Rights Law. In 2002, the dollar value of those
settlements totaled $946,152. Total monies realized in 2000 and
2001 settlements were $368,798 and $314,921 respectively.
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nearly 5,000 cases pending at the Commission at the beginning of
2002, many were over ten years old; some as old as twenty years.
A City agency mandated to protect New Yorkers from discrimination
will fail if cases cannot be resolved in a timely manner. For that
reason, the Commission has adopted a strict "One Year"
policy on all new incoming cases. Determinations on cases must be
made within a year unless complex litigation is involved.
Equal Access Program provides disability access assistance and education
to senior citizens and the disabled community. Many of New York's
buildings, stores and other public accommodations are not accessible
to people with disabilities. The program assists the disabled by
identifying resources that are available, advocating for the disabled
when dealing with landlords and/or service providers, and assisting
with legal actions if early intervention fails. Community Relations
staff members have received training in conducting investigations
at various sites requiring disability access and have coordinated
their efforts with the Law Enforcement Bureau. As a result of the
Commission's aggressive efforts in 2002 during both pre- and post-complaint
filings, 75 modifications have been made for individuals with disabilities.
These modifications are in addition to the cash settlements.
Enforcement Bureau consists of 19 attorneys, 19 Human Rights Specialists,
including two retired NYPD officers, and 11 support staff members.
They are responsible for investigating, prosecuting and litigating
discrimination complaints. To coordinate both components of the
Commission - LEB and CRB - the Commission conducts regular training
for all members of the staff, including the CRB staff, on investigative
techniques and the role of the Commission.