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Press Releases / Statements

Mayor de Blasio, Council Member Jumaane Williams, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Public Advocate Letitia James Announce Legislation That Adds Veterans and Military Status as Protected Class Under the City's Human Rights Law, 08/16/16

“Veterans and active military and other uniformed personnel routinely put their lives on the line for people in this country,” said Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis. “The least we can do is guarantee them the same freedom, respect and opportunities as everyone else. This law will give veterans and active military and other uniformed personnel direct protection under the New York City Human Rights Law.”


Mayor de Blasio and the Commission Launch First Ever Citywide Ad Campaign Affirming Right To Use Bathrooms Consistent With Gender Identity

“Safe and equal bathrooms access is essential for everyone,” said Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis. “And in New York City, it’s the law. We created these ads to remind every New Yorker, cis and transgender alike, that the City protects your right to live and work according to your gender identity and expression, including your right to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. Far too often, transgender people suffer bullying, harassment and violence for being who they are. These ads show that transgender people, like everyone else, have the right to use the restroom in peace.”


Mayor de Blasio Announces Stronger Pregnancy Protections in the Workplace, Housing, and Public Spaces

“Pregnant employees are often denied basic accommodations in the workplace, unnecessarily putting their pregnancy and health at risk,” said NYC Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis. “The Commission’s new Legal Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination will enable pregnant employees to understand their rights so they can request reasonable accommodations without fear of retaliation. The guidance also provides employers with a clear roadmap of how to negotiate complex accommodation scenarios without violating the law. Every New Yorker deserves a safe and equitable work environment and this guidance helps ensure they get it.”f


Mayor de Blasio and Human Rights Commissioner Malalis Announce New Caregiver Law Goes into Effect, Providing Protection to Employees with Caregiving Responsibilities from Workplace Discrimination

“Far too often, people caring for relatives get passed up for promotions or other work opportunities because they are wrongly perceived to have less time or work less hard,” said Commission on Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Working parents and people caring for loved ones with disabilities are some of the hardest working people in New York City. I look forward to working with employers and businesses across the City to continue to educate them on this new protection and inform millions of New Yorkers raising kids and caring for loved ones of their rights under the law.”


Mayor Bill de Blasio Mandates City Facilities Provide Bathroom Access to People Consistent with Identity

"'Every person deserves the right to use the bathroom safely and free from discrimination,' said Commission on Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis. 'Denying them that right is unhealthy, inhumane and unacceptable. The NYC Commission on Human Rights applauds the Mayor’s Executive Order today, which should be the gold standard in gender identity protections across every city and state in the country. The Commission will continue to vigorously enforce gender identity and expression protections under the City Human Rights Law, which requires all employers, housing providers and public accommodations to allow individuals to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity, and looks forward to working with the Mayor’s Office, City Council members, and advocates to further strengthen the rights of every New Yorker.'"

                                  FACT SHEET ON EXECUTIVE ORDER

Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces NYC Commission On Human Rights First Anti-Discrimination Agency In Major U.S. City To Issue U And T Visa Certifications

"'By issuing U and T visa certifications, the Commission provides another venue for undocumented immigrants to come forward, report unlawful activity and assist in investigations,' said NYC Commission on Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis. 'As a civil law enforcement agency with investigatory authority, the Commission is well-situated to identify crimes that may qualify immigrants for U and T visa certification, including sexual assault in the workplace, tenant harassment, forced labor, extortion, and human trafficking. Everyone in New York City is protected under the New York City Human Rights Law, regardless of their immigration status. Issuing certification will bring victims of abuse one step closer to the justice they deserve.'”


NYC Commission on Human Rights Doubles Average Amount Collected in Discrimination Cases in 2015, 01/28/16

“The New York City Commission on Human Rights works tirelessly to ensure that victims of discrimination are compensated fairly and that violators are held accountable,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the Commission on Human Rights. “No one deserves to be discriminated against, but if they are, the New York City Commission on Human Rights is here to help them get the justice they deserve. The Commission strives to protect every New Yorker and thoroughly investigates complaints to strategically address violations of the Law.”


NYC Commission on Human Rights, Elected Officials, Clergy, and Advocates Meet Job Seekers with Criminal Histories to Inform Them of Rights Under Law, Announce Citywide Enforcement Effort to Stop Discrimination, 01/25/16

“Every New Yorker deserves a fair chance at employment, regardless of their background,” said Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “The job seekers we met today prove that those with barriers to employment deserve an opportunity at an economic future. The Commission aggressively investigate and prosecute all employment discrimination complaints and work with employers to ensure that everyone in New York City enjoys the same rights and opportunities under the Law.”


Comisión Lanza Talleres De Ley En Español / Commission Launches Spanish Workshops

"La Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Ciudad de Nueva York y la Federación Hispana anunciaron el lanzamiento de los Talleres de la Ley de Derechos Humanos de la Comisión en español. El evento contó con la presentación del taller Introducción a la Ley de Derechos Humanos de la Ciudad de Nueva York, uno de los talleres gratuitos de la serie de la Comisión que cubre áreas bajo la jurisdicción de la Comisión, incluyendo las disposiciones contra la discriminación en el empleo, la vivienda y los lugares públicos, así como protección contra el acoso discriminatorio y policial basado en prejuicios."

"The New York City Commission on Human Rights and the Hispanic Federation announced the launch of the Commission’s first monthly Human Rights Law workshop in Spanish.  The event featured Introduction to New York City’s Human Rights Law, one of the NYC Commission on Human Rights’ free workshops, which cover areas under the Commission’s jurisdiction, including anti-discrimination provisions in employment, housing, and public accommodations, as well as protections against discriminatory harassment and bias-based policing. The workshop was conducted by the Commission’s Director of Training and Development, Vanessa Ramos. A Q&A session followed the workshop."


Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Expanding the New York City Human Rights Law to Protect Caregivers from Employment Discrimination, 01/05/16

“Mayor de Blasio today signed eight pieces of legislation … The first bill, Intro. 108-A, expands the New York City Human Rights Law to include 'caregiver status' as an additional protected category in employment. The City Human Rights Law protects a number of classes of persons from employment discrimination. Protected classes covered under the Law include race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, citizenship status, gender, age, and others. The addition of caregiver status to these categories means an employee who is caring for a minor child or an individual with a disability cannot be terminated, demoted, or denied a promotion because of their status or perceived status as a caregiver.

'Caregivers are our unsung heroes. They literally keep families together. It’s critical we give them the employment protection they need and deserve,' said Mayor de Blasio.

'No one should be discriminated against because of their status as a caregiver,' said Carmelyn P. Malalis, New York City Human Rights Commissioner. 'Intro. 108 guarantees that every parent and family member caring for a loved one receives the same rights and opportunities in the workplace as everyone else. The Commission will vigorously enforce this much-needed protection and looks forward to working with the Mayor’s Office and the New York City Council to further advance the rights of caregivers under the law so that every New Yorker can live and work free from discrimination.'


NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces Strong Protections For City’s Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Communities in Housing, Employment, and Public Spaces, 12/21/15

"Today, the New York City Commission on Human Rights released new guidance that makes clear what constitutes gender identity and gender expression discrimination under the NYC Human Rights Law, making it one of the strongest in the nation in protecting the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. Although discrimination based on gender identity and expression has been illegal under the City’s law since 2002, previous guidelines never articulated the range of violations of the law. Today’s guidance provides bold and explicit examples of violations, sending a clear message to employers, landlords, business owners, and the general public what the City considers to be discrimination under the law. The guidance also offers best practices on how stakeholders can comply with the law.
'New York has always been a diverse and welcoming city and our laws are designed to protect every New Yorker, regardless of their gender identity,' said Mayor Bill de Blasio. 'Today’s new guidelines strengthen those laws by ensuring that every transgender and gender non-conforming person in New York receives the dignity and respect they deserve. I look forward to working with Commissioner Malalis and other stakeholders to continue enhancing protections for our city’s most vulnerable.'
'Far too often, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals suffer discrimination, harassment, and violence on a scale many cannot imagine,' said Carmelyn P. Malalis, New York City Human Rights Commissioner. 'New York City does not and will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender expression. Today’s guidance makes it abundantly clear what the City considers to be discrimination under the law and the Commission will continue to aggressively enforce protections to make that promise a reality. Every New Yorker deserves to live freely and safely, free from discrimination.'"

READ FULL PRESS RELEASE                            VIEW GUIDANCE

Statement from NYC Human Rights Commission Carmelyn P. Malalis on the Commission’s Work Combatting Housing Discrimination based on Lawful Source of Income, 12/2/15

"Lawful source of income discrimination is an insidious practice that deprives some of the City’s most vulnerable residents – people with disabilities, low income, and those struggling with other economic barriers – of available housing, which they should otherwise be able to access.  The Commission on Human Rights’ Law Enforcement Bureau has been aggressively enforcing “source of income” protections under the New York City Human Rights Law, both by investigating complaints brought by members of the public and by investigating cases initiated by the Commission itself.  This year alone, the Commission is investigating 85 active cases of housing discrimination involving lawful source of income complaints, a 286% increase from 2014 when only 22 complaints were received. Of the 85 cases filed this year, 65 were pursued after we received a complaint from the public and 20 cases were actively initiated by the Commission without needing a formal complaint and after it determined enough evidence to bring a case against a landlord. Since the Human Rights Law was amended in 2008 to protect against this type of discrimination, the Commission has resolved 157 cases where a tenant or prospective renter received some sort of resolution.

To further weed out housing discrimination, the Commission is revamping its housing discrimination testing program to more effectively take on landlords and other housing providers who discriminate.  As a result of the agency’s focus in this area, one third of all housing discrimination investigations are focused on lawful source of income complaints.

It is imperative that landlords across all five boroughs follow the letter of the Human Rights Law in accepting public assistance vouchers from tenants, so that every New Yorker has a place to live."

NYC Commission on Human Rights Issues Three New Rulings Reaffirming Commitment to Fighting Discrimination While Helping Small Businesses Develop Equitable Employment Practices, 11/2/15
"The New York City Commission on Human Rights issued the first three rulings under Commissioner and Chair, Carmelyn P. Malalis, who came on board in early 2015. Under her leadership, the Commission is now considering a range of factors before reaching a ruling and determining the appropriate outcome on discrimination cases, such as the size and resources of a business, its knowledge of the law, and its ability to obtain counsel. In one decision involving egregious sexual harassment in the workplace and an uncooperative employer, the Commission issued its highest penalty in the agency’s history, while in another case involving an immigrant owner of a small business who unknowingly violated the law, the ruling is mandating that the owner attend a free training provided by the Commission’s Community Relations Bureau instead of issuing a fine. This is aligned with the Commission’s new roadmap to ensure that the business community understands its obligations under the law and has the tools it needs to succeed while developing equitable employment practices."


Statement from NYC Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis on Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act, 9/3/15

“For too long, employers’ use of credit history has prevented qualified New Yorkers from attaining good jobs. Job applicants should be judged on their merit and qualifications, not on their credit history.  Thanks to our many partners, including sister agencies, elected officials, associations, and nonprofits, we are planning to reach tens of thousands of employers and job seekers to educate New Yorkers about their rights and responsibilities under this new law.”


Mayor de Blasio Signs "Fair Chance Act," 6/29/15

"Mayor de Blasio today signed into law eight pieces of legislation [including] Intro. 318-A, which strengthens provisions of the City’s Human Rights Law that prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s record of arrest or criminal conviction. In order to combat employment discrimination, the bill will prohibit employers from inquiring about candidates’ criminal records until after they have made a conditional offer of employment, and require them to provide a written copy of the inquiry, analysis, and supporting documentation to applicants."


Statement from NYC Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis on Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality, 6/26/15
“This is a historic ruling for our nation and a very important one to me personally as a woman married to another woman. The Supreme Court recognized that LGBTQ individuals and families are entitled to fundamental freedoms and equal protection of the law.  Recognizing the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry acknowledges the dignity of our relationships and afford us the full rights and responsibilities that come with marriage no matter where we live.  At the NYC Commission on Human Rights, we not only enforce the law but we also work to educate the public and promote diversity and inclusion.  Now all municipalities across the nation must work to ensure that this decision will help LGBTQ people to be treated with dignity and respect. This is a significant step towards equality but there is still more work ahead to achieve fundamental freedoms and equal protection of the law for all.”

Statement From Mayor Bill de Blasio on Supreme Court Ruling on Housing Discrimination Case, 6/25/15

“This administration is committed to building and preserving thriving, diverse neighborhoods throughout all five boroughs, and to ensuring that the rights of our city’s residents are protected. Today’s Supreme Court decision affirms the strength and importance of the Fair Housing Act as a critical tool in the fight against inequality and discrimination.”

Statement from Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis on NYC Human Rights Law Protections on Housing Discrimination based on Lawful Source of Income and Disability, 6/24/15

“Discrimination based on source of income and disability, including discrimination against people living with HIV or AIDS, continues to persist in our city.  The NYC Human Rights Commission regularly receives complaints from the public reporting that landlords or real estate brokers refuse to rent to tenants with public assistance vouchers, from Section 8 vouchers to the vouchers administered by the Living in Communities (LINC) rent program.  The Commission’s testers focused on source of income discrimination also routinely encounter landlords and brokers who refuse vouchers. In these cases, the Commission files administrative complaints against the landlord or broker and also works with them to provide education on the Human Rights Law so they can avoid a violation in the future.  In the last two weeks, the Commission has started providing free trainings at each of its borough-based community service centers to educate housing providers and others on their obligations under the law.  New Yorkers who have a discrimination complaint should immediately call 311 and ask to be connected to the Commission to discuss their case and receive guidance on next steps.”

Statement from Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis on Subway Incident against Transgender New Yorker, 6/4/15

“The New York City Commission on Human Rights condemns violence against any human being and works to encourage a more tolerant City for all by educating New Yorkers on and enforcing the New York City Human Rights Law. The incident perpetrated against a New Yorker in the subway is deeply troubling and a wakeup call that even in a city as diverse and as welcoming as ours, transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers can still face attacks. We all must stay vigilant and denounce these type of incidents in order to make our City a safer place for all.  This is a priority area for the new leadership at the Commission and we look forward to working with our partners in the community to protect the rights of our fellow New Yorkers. Victims of bias related harassment or discrimination can call 311 to report a complaint to the Human Rights Commission which will investigate claims for the purpose of initiating an enforcement action and will equip individuals with information on their rights.”

Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Prohibit Employers from Using Credit Checks to Screen Applicants, 5/6/15

"Mayor de Blasio today signed into law seven pieces of legislation... The first bill, Intro. 261-A, prohibits employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies from using or requesting an applicant’s consumer credit history, and prevents them from discriminating against an applicant or employee based on their credit history... 'Many New Yorkers know what it’s like to face a personal crisis that forces them to take on debt. The use of credit history to determine job worthiness denies already vulnerable New Yorkers opportunities to gain employment and earn a living for themselves and their families,' said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. 'Our Law Enforcement staff will be vigilant in enforcing this law as ‎our Community Relations Bureau takes proactive measures to educate individuals on their rights and employers on their obligations.'"


Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Establish Testing Programs for Housing and Employment Discrimination and Increase Transparency for the Human Rights Commission, 4/20/15

"Mayor de Blasio today signed into law five pieces of legislation ... The first set of bills – Intro. 421-A, Intro. 689-A, and Intro. 690-A – strengthen the transparency of the Human Rights Commission in its efforts to enforce the Human Rights Law, which protects New Yorkers from discrimination."


Mayor de Blasio Appoints Carmelyn P. Malalis as Chair of the City's Commission on Human Rights, Names Eight new Commissioners, 11/21/14

"Building on his commitment to promote New York City’s progressive human rights law and effective community relations in a diverse city, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced his appointment of Carmelyn P. Malalis as the new Chair of the City’s Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and named eight new commissioners to the agency: Ana Oliveira, Catherine Albisa, Arnaldo Segarra, Domna Stanton, Steven Choi, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Jonathan Greenspun, and Reverend Dr. Demetrius Carolina."