2022 Settlement Highlights

Two men shaking hands and smiling at a camera, with backdrop reading “The Fair Chance Act” behind them Commission Supervising Attorney Paul Keefe with New Yorker at #FairChanceNYC Press Conference, November 2017 (Photo credit: Adrienne Nicole Productions).

The Commission has the authority to assess fines and obtain monetary damages for those aggrieved by violations of the New York City Human Rights Law. Additionally, the Commission may negotiate additional remedies including rehiring, policy change, training, and modifications for accessibility.

June 2022 

Bronstein Properties LLC Settles SOI Case for Trainings, Postings, 20 Set Asides and Revision of Policies and $5,000 in Emotional Distress Damages

Complainant who qualified for the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (“HASA”) program, was informed that “landlord doesn’t accept programs.” Respondent agreed to attend anti-discrimination training, revise their policies and application materials, post Notice of Rights posters, set aside twenty (20) apartments, and pay Complainant the gross total settlement sum of $5,000.00. 

May 2022 

Orcam Technologies, Ltd. Settles Claim of Illegal Salary History Inquiry for $5,000 in Damages, $10,000 in Civil Penalties, and Affirmative Relief

Complainant, a job applicant, filed a claim against Respondent Orcam Technologies, Ltd. alleging that Orcam Technologies inquired into her salary history during its interview process and subsequently declined to hire her. To settle the claims, Respondent agreed to pay $5,000 in emotional distress damages and $10,000 in civil penalties, train its employees on their obligations under the NYCHRL, display postings outlining its obligations under the NYCHRL, revise its policies to prohibit salary history inquiries of job applicants, and exclude claims brought under the NYC Human Rights Law from its mandatory arbitration clause. 

Five Guys Pays $49,000 in Damages and Penalties in Pregnancy Discrimination Case, Agrees to Train all Employees, Revise Policies, Display Postings, and Submit to Monitoring

Complainant filed a complaint against Five Guys alleging they refused to hire her because she was six-months pregnant. Five Guys agreed to conciliate, paying Complainant $20,000 in emotional distress damages, $4,000 in backpay and $25,000 as a civil penalty. Respondent also agreed to affirmative relief for seven franchise locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, which included revising policies to comply with the NYCHRL; conducting training for management staff about non-discrimination in the hiring, training, and employment of pregnant people, and providing reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions; training all employees on the anti-discrimination protections of the NYCHRL; posting anti-discrimination notices; and submitting to monitoring and reporting of reasonable accommodation requests for pregnancy for two years. 

Respondent Berkeley Carroll School Pays $11,362.99 in Damages for Discrimination Based on Alienage or Citizenship Status

Complainant, who is an immigrant, was hired by Respondent Berkeley Carroll School (Berkeley Carroll) to teach for the summer and submitted documents proving she was authorized to work in the United States. However, Respondent Berkeley Carroll required additional documents from Complainant proving that she was authorized to work. Respondent Berkeley Carroll then informed Complainant she could no longer work for the rest of the summer. Despite later confirming that Complainant was permitted to work, Respondent Berkeley Carroll did not allow Complainant to return to work. Respondent Berkeley Carroll agreed to pay Complainant $2,362.99 in back pay and $9,000.00 in emotional distress damages as part of a conciliation agreement. 

April 2022 

Delta Airlines Agrees to Update it Polices on Pregnancy, Lactation, Disability, and Religious Accommodation Polices

In a pre-complaint investigation, the Commission initiated a matter to investigate Delta Airlines’ employment and reasonable accommodation policies. Respondent Delta worked with the Commission to provide and update their accommodation policies, ensuring that that pregnancy and lactation accommodations, disability, and religious accommodation are compliant with the New York City Human Rights Law.  

Security Industry Specialists, a Large Security Contractor, Agrees to Change Dress Code

While investigating a case filed by an individual Complainant, the Commission discovered that Respondent Security Industry Specialists, Inc., maintained a dress code that discriminated against employees and subcontractors based on race and gender. Respondent signed a Stipulation and Order and changed its policies to eliminate the discrimination parameters, and agreed to distribute the new policy to its workforce. 

March 2022 

Landlord Agrees to Settle Case of Disability Discrimination for Structural Modifications, Rent Credit, Monetary Damages, Training, New Policies, and Posting

Complainant, who uses a wheelchair for mobility, filed a complaint with the Law Enforcement Bureau, alleging that her housing provider delayed installing a ramp at the front entrance of her building, which prevented Complainant from returning to her rent-stabilized apartment from a care facility for an extended period of time. After Respondents graded the front, external walkway of Complainant’s building and installed an external and internal lobby ramp at the building’s entrance, Complainant returned home. Complainant alleged that once she returned home, Respondents failed to provide additional accommodations for her disability. Respondents denied the allegations, and the Law Enforcement Bureau reached a finding of probable cause. To settle the matter, Respondents agreed to:  credit Complainant $16,000 toward her rent; pay $14,000 in emotional distress damages; pay $10,000 in civil penalties to the City of New York; create a reasonable accommodation policy; and provide additional modifications to the front entrance of Complainant’s building to accommodate her disability. Prior to settlement, Respondents also provided modifications to Complainant’s apartment, attended an anti-discrimination training, and displayed fair housing posters at their two residential buildings.  

February 2022 

Absolute Properties of NYC LLC agrees to pay $6,000 in Emotional Distress Damages and Extensive Affirmative Relief in Source of Income Discrimination Case

Complainant sought to use an HRA broker’s fee voucher to rent an apartment through the real estate agency, Respondent Absolute Properties of NYC LLC. (“Absolute Properties”). However, Complainant alleged that he was denied a housing opportunity because of his voucher status. Complainant alleged that a real estate agent for Respondent informed Complainant that Respondents did not accept HRA broker’s fee vouchers because they did not agree with the terms of the broker commission agreement that HRA required brokers to sign or the commission that HRA offered. As part of the Conciliation Agreement with the Commission, Respondents agreed to:  pay Complainant $6,000 in emotional distress damages, attend a training on the NYC Human Rights Law’s Source of Income provisions (“NYCHRL”), comply with the Commission’s legal notices requirements, revise its Source of Income policies, and comply with monitoring for 1 year. 

January 2022

Tumblr, Inc. Agrees to Groundbreaking Agreement After Commission-Initiated Investigation into Algorithmic Discrimination Against LGBTQ Community

The Commission’s Law Enforcement Bureau initiated an investigation into the Adult Content Ban used by Tumblr, Inc., to ban “adult” lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) content. The ban automatically removed posts via an image-classifying algorithm (Classifier), although it was later changed so that human reviewers had the final say.

Through a Stipulation and Order, Respondent Tumblr agreed to take steps that include hiring an expert on image classifying algorithms and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) to examine Tumblr’s Classifier for SOGI bias and determine the necessary steps to address such bias, taking those steps, and reporting to the Commission on their effects. The expert will also train the engineers and Reviewers who work on the Classifier on how to avoid and remove SOGI bias. Additionally, Tumblr agreed to train employees and contractors on the New York City Human Rights Law and unconscious SOGI bias; revise its appeal process to allow users to include a narrative; search those narratives and review appeals under the ban for SOGI bias and then use the resulting images to retrain the Classifier and the reviewers; transfer employees to work on the improvements to the Classifier and appeal process; and to post the Commission’s Notice of Rights and LGBTQ rights brochure on its employee intranet.

REM Residential Settles a Source of Income Case for $4,000 in Emotional Distress Damages, Set Asides of Five Apartments for Voucher Holders, Postings, and Trainings

Complainant, a long-term tenant in her building, alleged that Respondents refused to fill out paperwork needed for a Section 8 Voucher. Respondents agreed to pay Complainant $4,000 in emotional distress damages, attend trainings on the NYCHRL, post the Commission's "Notice of Rights" and "Fair Housing, It's the Law" posters in Respondents' buildings, attach the Commission's "source of income discrimination FAQ's" to Respondents' application materials, and set aside five (5) apartments for voucher holders. 

United Health Group Revises Criminal Background Check Policies and Pays $45,000 in Damages

After Complainant interviewed for a position with Respondent, United Health Group, he was encouraged to apply for a more senior role, which he was offered after seven rounds of interviews. Then, Respondent rescinded Complainant’s offer of employment because, four years earlier, he was a registered sex offender. The Commission made a probable cause finding, and Respondent paid Complainant $30,000 in emotional distress damages and a $15,000 civil penalty. Respondent also brought its hiring policies in line with the NYCHRL’s protections for people with criminal records and trained its staff on the NYCHRL’s provisions. 

Aon Risk Services Pays $80,000 to Resolve Per Se Violations of the Fair Chance Act

As a result of testing, a Commission-initiated complaint was filed against Respondent Aon for posting numerous employment advertisements on its site saying candidates are subject to a background check, which may include criminal and credit history. LEB’s investigation revealed that nearly 13,000 people responded to ads that likely had illegal language, using applications also containing the illegal language. Additionally, Aon’s background check process appeared to mix criminal and non-criminal information—instead of examining criminal history information last—meaning that Aon likely conducted illegal, pre-conditional offer criminal history inquiries for all of these applicants. . To resolve the complaint following a probable cause finding, Aon paid an $80,000 civil penalty, agreed to train 1,300 employees (including more than 1,200 based in New York City) on the NYCHRL, and brought its employment policies in line with the NYCHRL. 

Former Management Company Advantage Management Property, its Successor Wavecrest Management, and Housing Providers Northern Manhattan Equities LLC and Hurston Place Equities LLC Settle Disability Discrimination and Source of Income and Retaliation Case for $25,000 in Emotional Distress Damages, Two Years of Rent Credit, $5,000 in Civil Penalties, Affirmative Relief, and Agree to Provide Complainant a Reasonable Accommodation

Complainant, a Section 8 recipient who uses a wheelchair for mobility, alleged that his disability was not reasonably accommodated by Respondents Advantage Management, Northern Manhattan Equities LLC, and Hurston Place Equities LLC, the management company and housing providers affiliated with Advantage. Complainant lived in a top-floor rent-stabilized apartment with frequent elevator outages which would leave him stranded for weeks at a time. He repeatedly requested to transfer to an accessible unit. Respondents denied the allegations, and the Law Enforcement Bureau reached a determination of probable cause in this matter. Prior to conciliation, Respondents transferred Complainant to a first-floor accessible, rent-stabilized apartment at his previous rental amount in his neighborhood. Respondents agreed to pay Complainant $25,000 in emotional distress damages, to provide Complainant with a two (2) year rent credit for his monthly portion of rent, and to pay $5,000 in civil penalties to the City of New York. Wavecrest Management, who took over management of Respondents’ buildings, agreed to: ensure that their policies regarding reasonable accommodations comply with the NYCHRL, including by appointing a specific employee to handle reasonable accommodation requests and creating a formal policy regarding waitlists for apartment transfers; provide training to employees; and display postings outlining their obligations under the NYCHRL. The Law Enforcement Bureau will monitor all reasonable accommodation requests at the buildings owned by the housing providers for one year.