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The New York City Human Rights Law, in place since 1955, offers city residents the most significant enforcement of human rights protection in the country. Even stronger than federal human rights regulations, New York’s law has been amended over the years to establish and optimize a wide variety of anti-discrimination and harassment statutes.

Protected classes

Certain classes of persons are protected against discrimination in housing and employment. There is an extensive list of classes protected by law including:

  • Disability
  • Gender identity
  • Conviction record
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation, and many more

In addition, employers must provide reasonable accommodations at work, including accessibility and schedule modifications for employees that need them.

Sexual harassment law

New York City’s human rights law also covers sexual harassment. It does not allow any excuses when it comes to harassing behavior in the office, on the street or at businesses. The definition of sexual harassment includes creating a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment by:

  • Jokes, comments and gestures of a sexual nature
  • Display of sexual pictures or graffiti
  • Asking for dates or sexual favors in exchange for favorable work conditions, promotion or retention of employment
  • Physical contact of a sexual nature

Take action

There are steps to take when you believe that you are a victim of sexual harassment. First, if you are not in imminent danger, tell the perpetrator that the behavior is not appropriate and is unwanted. Then, you can file a report with the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

The law forbids retaliation against reporters of harassment. In addition, you can explore your legal options to compensation for emotional, employment and punitive damages.