2019 Press Releases

NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces Gains in Combating Workplace Sexual Harassment in Two Years Since Launch of #MeToo, 11/27/19

In the two years since the #MeToo movement launched, the New York City Commission on Human Rights announces significant achievements in combating workplace sexual harassment. A multi-faced approach to the issue has led to record high damages and civil penalties, the launch of the Gender-Based Harassment Unit within the Commission's Law Enforcement Bureau, comprehensive business outreach and engagement, and hundreds of thousands of completions of the Commission's online sexual harassment prevention training since its launch earlier this year.

Mayor de Blasio Appoints Rockwell Chin, Guillermo Chacón and Reverend Terry Troia to the City Commission on Human Rights, 11/18/19

“I enthusiastically welcome Rocky, Guillermo, and Reverend Terry to the Commission as true examples of community servants,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “Our new appointees are venerated and respected members of their communities who have worked in coalition across diverse issue areas. They will bring exactly the kind of diversity of experience and thoughtfulness the Commission relies on to tackle issues of discrimination in this City. I look forward to working with them as we continue to make the New York City Commission on Human Rights a venue for justice for all New Yorkers.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces First Hair Discrimination Case Resolution Since Issuing Landmark Legal Enforcement Guidance, 11/12/19

“Since the start of my tenure in 2015, one of my goals has been to reimagine the approach government takes when seeking justice for communities affected by discrimination,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “Releasing our legal enforcement guidance on hair discrimination, which built on efforts of advocates, lawmakers, and scholars, was one of the steps we have taken to dismantle institutional racism and provide momentum for other jurisdictions to follow. This resolution is another step towards ensuring that racist notions of professional appearance standards are not applied in New York City. The restorative justice components incorporated into the resolution demonstrate the Commission’s commitment to repairing and re-investing in the communities impacted by discriminatory practices. These restorative remedies move beyond punishment to focus on repairing harm and achieving lasting justice and equity.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces New Legal Enforcement Guidance and Actions Against Discrimination Based on Immigration Status And National Origin, 09/25/19

“The New York City Human Rights Law is one of the most protective in the nation,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “It protects everyone, regardless of their immigration status. In the face of increasingly hostile national rhetoric, we will do everything in our power to make sure our treasured immigrant communities are able to live with dignity and respect, free of harassment and bias. Today’s guidance makes abundantly clear that there is no room for discrimination in NYC.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces Highest Damages For Complainants Ever Recorded in Agency History, 09/17/19

“Since being appointed as Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, I have made it my goal to establish the Commission as a credible venue for justice for all New Yorkers, said Carmelyn P. Malalis. “These numbers reflect the progress we have made toward that goal. I am incredibly proud of the hard work of the Commission's dedicated staff who have made this our most impactful year in its history. While we are pleased to have continued to break our previous records and have increased the amount of damages and penalties every year since I joined the agency in 2015, we know there is more work to be done. With communities under relentless attack, and with racism, transphobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and misogyny on the rise, the Commission will continue its efforts to make New York City a more equitable and supportive city for all.”

City Joins Opposition Against Trump Administration Proposal to Limit Civil Rights Protections in Health Services, 08/14/19

"The New York City Commission on Human Rights opposes the rollback of these protections,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. “To remove protections based on gender expression, reproductive health care choices, disability, or national origin, as this rule would, is bad enough, but the proposed rule would make healthcare harder or even impossible for people to access based on any number of these factors.  The Commission on Human Rights is committed to ensuring that people can access healthcare without harassment, intimidation or discrimination. We are pleased to be a part of this organized effort on behalf of the City to condemn this proposal.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Issues New Report on Pregnancy and Caregiving Discrimination in the Workplace, 07/24/19

The NYC Commission on Human Rights issued a new report based on testimony from medical experts, workers, and advocates on the issue of pregnancy and caregiver discrimination in the workplace. The report, which summarizes over three hours of testimony, and 17 written submissions, outlines current protections on the federal, state, and city level and includes stakeholders’ recommendations as to how local laws and Commission enforcement can better protect its pregnant and caregiving workers.  “Whether you are pregnant, a new parent, or caring for your own parents, everyone deserves to meet their caregiving obligations without fear of reprisal at work,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. “No one should have to choose between their job and their family.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights, the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies, and 20 human rights agencies across the nation sign open letter condemning human rights abuses at US-Mexico border, 07/12/19

“The United States has a long and storied history of providing hope, safety, and security to people from every part of the world, and the families arriving at our southern border are no exception,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “Our country has long been a refuge for those suffering abuse and persecution. However, the treatment of people in U.S. immigration detention today is nothing short of state sanctioned bigotry. As a human rights official, a lawyer, a daughter of immigrants and a mother, I am outraged by the conditions of detention at our southern border. The federal government is capable of treating every person in immigration detention with dignity and respect. There is no reason for people to be denied potable water, medicine, food, and necessities for basic hygiene like soap and toothbrushes. There is no reason for minor children to be taking care of other children. There is no reason to separate newborn babies from their parents or to tear families apart. If cruelty is the point, point taken.  The eyes of the world are upon us. We will not look away from this humanitarian crisis.”

New York City Holds 4th Annual Iftar In The City, 05/15/19

“At a time when Muslim communities face an increased amount of discrimination and anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Iftar in the City offers a place where our vibrant NYC community can come together and honor our strength in diversity,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “Now is the time that we double down on recognizing and celebrating the people who build, maintain, and nurture our city.”

NYC Commission On Human Rights Unveils Mural By Public Artist In Residence Tatyana Fazlalizadeh at Daniel O’Connell Park in St. Albans, Queens, 04/12/19

“We are thrilled to celebrate the installation of Tatyana’s large-scale mural in St. Albans, Queens, inspired by local community activists,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “The central themes of Tatyana’s work, centering the images, experiences, and voices of Black people and women, to examine systemic racism and misogyny, inspire us at the Commission to think about creative ways to challenge systems and paradigms of oppression, whether it be through law, art, storytelling, or other means. We are grateful that DCLA gave us the opportunity to work with such a talented visual artist through the Public Artist in Residence program and look forward to sharing more of Tatyana’s work throughout the summer.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Launches Free, Online Anti-Sexual Harassment Training for Employees Citywide, 04/01/19

“Combating gender-based harassment has been a Commission priority since I began my tenure in 2015. From wide-ranging and thorough investigations, to comprehensive settlement agreements to make victims whole, to issuing the Commission’s highest ever civil penalty in a sexual harassment case, we are demonstrating that the Commission is using every tool at our disposal to combat sexual harassment.  This new, groundbreaking training is another, complementary step the Commission is taking to shift workplace culture and expectations,” says Commissioner and Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “Public awareness and enforcement are both critical, but education and outreach are also fundamental to this work.  The Commission will continue its work to make sexual harassment a thing of the past. This training provides the tools and knowledge necessary to identify and report sexual harassment and those who perpetrate it.”

NYC Commission On Human Rights and Legal Aid Society Announce Largest-Ever Civil Penalty Levied in Commission History in Affirmation From NY Supreme Court, 03/26/19

The NYC Commission on Human Rights and the Legal Aid Society announce that the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, affirmed Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis’ decision in Commission of Human Rights ex rel. Cardenas v. Automatic Meter Reading Corp. and the Estate of Jerry Fund ordering $422,670.26 in damages to the victim for sustained and egregious sexual harassment, and, for the first time, ordering the maximum civil penalty of $250,000 allowable under the NYC Human Rights Law.

New York City Commission On Human Rights Publish Lactation Accommodation Requirements For New York City Employers, 03/20/19

The New York City Commission on Human Rights has released a new lactation policy in compliance with a 2018 law requiring that employers provide employees with lactation accommodations, including a designated private space and reasonable time to pump. Employers are also required to have a written lactation policy and provide it to all new employees. The Commission has developed three model policies to reflect different types of workplaces that can be adapted for employers’ use, a model request for accommodations form, and an extensive FAQ document to help employers comply with the law.

NYC Commission On Human Rights Launches New Campaign to Combat Anti-Black Racism in New York City, 03/15/19

“In New York City and the nation as a whole, there is a long and painful history of discrimination against Black people, and efforts to limit their rights and activities,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights.  “This campaign references the deep connections between the fight against anti-Black racism and the fight for human rights.  It affirms the experiences of Black people who have been targeted for discrimination, harassment and intimidation while simply going about their day-to-day lives, and puts those who would seek to discriminate, harass or intimidate Black New Yorkers on notice that bigotry and bias will not be tolerated in our city.”

NYC Commission On Human Rights Announces New Protections and Enforcement Actions Against Discrimination Based On Natural Hairstyles In Employment, Education, And Public Accommodations, 02/18/19

“Policies that limit the ability to wear natural hair or hairstyles associated with Black people aren’t about ‘neatness’ or ‘professionalism’; they are about limiting the way Black people move through workplaces, public spaces and other settings,” said NYC Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis. “This new legal enforcement guidance will help school administrators, employers, and providers of public accommodations to understand that Black New Yorkers have the right to wear their hair however they choose without fear of stigma or retaliation. We’re excited to take this step because every New Yorker deserves to be treated with the dignity and respect that the City Human Rights Law is designed to ensure.”

Mayor's Grant for Cultural Impact to Support 10 Partnerships Between City Agencies and Cultural Organizations, 01/31/19

NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl announced the selection of ten new and expanded partnerships for funding under the Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact (MGCI). Each grant supports a programming partnership between a non-profit cultural organization and a New York City agency. The Society for the Preservation of Weeksville & Bed-Stuyvesant History will work with the New York City Commission on Human Rights to create Meals as Collective Memory: Black-owned Restaurants in a Changing Central Brooklyn. Food is a significant and distinctive cultural marker of Central Brooklyn and its people. Through the collection of oral history interviews, this project seeks to document, share and debate what happens to a community’s cultural identity when gentrification threatens the primacy and viability of local restaurants, particularly those owned by African Americans, long the largest segment of this region’s residents.