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Equal Access & Disability Rights

The NYC Human Rights Law protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination. People with disabilities have a right to participate fully in all areas of life -- including in employment, housing, and public accommodations. With the Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau, Community Relations Bureau staff members regularly provide informational workshops and conduct investigations into accessibility problems. Commission staff also provides pre-complaint intervention to resolve an allegation of discrimination before a formal complaint is filed. For more information on scheduling or attending a workshop, or if you have an accessibility issue where you live or work or at a public accommodation such as a restaurant, theater, or medical office, please call 311 or (212) NEW-YORK. All workshops are free.

The City Human Rights Law defines a disability as any:

  • Physical impairment
  • Medical impairment
  • Mental or psychological impairment, or a history or record of impairment.

Reasonable Accommodation

  • A reasonable accommodation is something a housing provider, business owner, or employer does to afford equal opportunity and access for people with disabilities.
  • A housing or service provider and employer are required to make a reasonable accommodation to enable a disabled individual to enjoy the right(s) in question.
  • The term ‘reasonable accommodation’ means that the accommodation shall not cause an undue hardship on the housing or service provider, or employer.
  • Reasonable accommodations can be structural, involving architectural modifications such as building a ramp, or they can involve policy or rule changes such as modifying a “first come, first served” rule affecting resident parking.

With limited exceptions, the New York City Human Rights law does not differentiate between accommodations in the common areas of buildings and interior apartment modifications (grab bars, etc.). Owners therefore are required to provide these apartment modifications.