Project Equal Access and Disability Rights

Mosaic of various photos laid out behind purple filter: a baker, a sound engineer, a person in a wheelchair working at a desk, a person with a service animal, a driver, a tennis player in a wheelchair, a youth gymnastic team, and a person on a rowboat. Overlaid text in the center of image reads “Disability Protections in NYC” with NYC Commission on Human Rights logo in bottom right.

The New York City Human Rights Law protects people with disabilities from discrimination at work, in their homes, and in public spaces. For decades, the Commission’s Project Equal Access (PEA) has worked with housing providers, businesses, and employers to make New York City more accessible. Engaging collaboratively with these entities helps make spaces accessible to people with disabilities without the parties having to go through the formal complaint-filing process. This often results in much faster resolutions for people with disabilities.

To request assistance in obtaining reasonable accommodations for your disability, please call the Commission at (212) 416-0197 or fill out our online form.

Reasonable Accommodations

People with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations, i.e., changes to a building or space that do not cause undue hardship to the business, employer, or housing provider.

Examples of reasonable accommodations are:

  • Ramps –interior or exterior
  • Roll-in shower in bathroom
  • Electronic doors
  • Grab bars and handrails 
  • Permitting service animals in a building with a "No Pets" policy 
  • Assistive listening devices

Project Equal Access Process

When a person with disability contacts the Commission, a member of the PEA team consults with the person to gain an understanding of the situation. The PEA team member first confirms if the complainant has made the request to their landlord or building manager.

  • If the complainant has not made the request to their landlord or building manager, the PEA team member advises them to do so in writing.
  • If the complainant has made the request and was denied the accommodation, PEA will conduct a physical survey to assess what accommodation is possible, using the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

If PEA determines that an accommodation is possible, then PEA proceeds with contacting the landlord or building manager to advise them of their obligations under the New York City Human Rights Law, and to recommend the type of accommodation. PEA begins negotiating in good faith with the landlord to provide the accommodation.

If PEA determines that an accommodation is not possible, then PEA works with the landlord to find other options, such as a transferring the complainant to another building location that is accessible, moving the complainant to an accessible apartment or floor of the building, or other options.

PEA continues to work with the landlord until they satisfy the requirements of the reasonable accommodation.

If the landlord denies the accommodation or refuses to negotiate with PEA, then PEA will forward the case to the Commission's Law Enforcement Bureau, so that a formal complaint can be filed.

Disability Protections under the NYC Human Rights Law Materials

English Fact Sheet | Spanish Fact Sheet

English Brochure | Spanish Brochure

Commission Facilities

The Commission is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to our facilities and services.  Learn more about Disability Access at Commission Facilities.

Equal Access Videos