The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination based on a person’s disability and promotes independent and equal access for people with disabilities who live in, work in, or visit New York City. The Law protects people with disabilities from discrimination at work, in their homes, and in public spaces. The NYC Commission on Human Rights enforces the Law and is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are able to enjoy all that our city has to offer.
Fostering environments of inclusivity and accessibility allow people with disabilities to be full participants in New York City life, engage with their communities, access fundamental services, enter and remain in the workforce, and meet their most basic and critical needs. Our city is at its best when it draws on the abilities of all its residents. Providing reasonable accommodations and creating accessible spaces also benefits all New Yorkers, including business owners, residents, and employees, because providing equal access for people with disabilities is an investment that will yield long-lasting economic and societal gains. New York City is dedicated to advancing accessibility and giving all New Yorkers a chance to thrive.
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.
Housing providers, employers, and business owners must engage in a conversation with a person with a disability to help determine what type of accommodation the person with the disability may need. Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
Our factsheet gives a snapshot of rights and responsibilities under the NYC Human Rights Law. (Adobe download required).
Guidance on discrimination against people with disabilities, including, but not limited to, clarification on discriminatory policies and practices, best practices on how to assess and provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities, and examples of reasonable accommodations.
Our brochure includes frequently asked questions about disability protections under the Law. (Adobe download required).
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.
When a person with disability contacts the Commission, a member of the PEA team first advises the complainant to make a formal request in writing to their landlord or building manager. If the complainant has already 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.
The Commission released short videos to detail actual resolutions accomplished by Project Equal Access and highlight the impact that such resolutions have on everyday New Yorkers.
In 2023, the Commission rolled out a series of reels/shorts titled "Human Rights Minute" to give New Yorkers a snapshot of their protections under the NYC Human Rights Law. In July 2023, in recognition of Disability Pride Month, the "Minutes" focused on the protections for people with disabilities.
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.
To request assistance in obtaining reasonable accommodations for your disability, please call the Commission at (212) 416-0197 or fill out our online form.