New York Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

New York Discrimination: What you need to know

The New York Human Rights Law prohibits employment discrimination based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, or domestic violence victim status (NY Exec. Law Sec. 290 et seq.).
The law covers all employers of four or more persons. However, all employers, regardless of size, are liable for sexual harassment.
Effective February 8, 2020, the law covers all employers, including the state and all political subdivisions.
Nonemployees. Effective October 11, 2019, employers may be liable for an unlawful discriminatory practice against a nonemployee in the employer’s workplace (NY Exec. Law Sec. 296-d). An employer may liable to nonemployees such as contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, or others providing services under a contract, or to their employees, when the employer knew or should have known that a nonemployee was subjected to an unlawful discriminatory practice. The extent of the employer’s control and any other legal responsibility the employer may have regarding the conduct of the person who engaged in the unlawful discriminatory practice will be considered.
Religious organizations. The law does not prohibit religious organizations, including educational institutions, from discriminating in employment in favor of members of a particular religion (NY Exec. Law Sec. 296 (11)).
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Effective July 12, 2019, the term “race” includes traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles. The term “protective hairstyles” includes hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists (NY Exec. Law Sec. 292(37)).
“Gender identity or expression” means a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including the status of being transgender (NY Exec. Law Sec. 292).

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