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NYC Human Rights Law Amended to Prohibit Discrimination Against Uniformed Servicemembers and Veterans

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed into law an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) adding current or prior service in the uniformed services as a protected class under the law.  The amendment will take effect on November 19, 2017.

As we previously reported, the bill gives veterans and active military personnel protection against discrimination in employment, as well as in public accommodations, housing and lending.  The bill defines “uniformed service” as including current or prior service in the:

  • United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard (including the Reserves);

  • Army or Air National Guard;

  • Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Services;

  • organized militia of the state of New York or any other state, territory or possession of the United States; and

  • any other service designated as part of the “uniformed services” under federal law.

Employers, employment agencies and labor organizations will be prohibited from discriminating against any person on the basis of his or her current or past uniformed service by:

  • representing that employment or a position is not available when it is in fact available;

  • refusing to hire or employ or barring or discharging such person from employment or labor organization membership; or

  • discriminating against such person in compensation or in the terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

The amendment further provides that it would not be an unlawful discriminatory practice to afford a preference or privilege based on uniformed service in employment, housing, lending or public accommodation.

Employers should be aware that current servicemembers and veterans are also protected from discrimination under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), as well as the New York State Human Rights Law. And while this amendment to the NYCHRL does not address accommodations for servicemembers, both USERRA and state law provide for certain leave, benefit maintenance and reinstatement rights in connection with military service.

© 2017 Proskauer Rose LLP.

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About this Author

Evandro Gigante, Labor Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law FIrm
Senior Counsel

Evandro Gigante is a Senior Counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, defamation, and breach of contract. Evandro also counsels employers in connection with reductions in force and wage-and-hour issues, and advises clients on restrictive covenant issues, including, for example, confidentiality, non-compete, and non-solicit agreements. 

212.969.3132
Laura M. Fant, Labor & Employment Attorney, Proskauer Law Firm
Associate

Laura M. Fant is an Associate in the Labor & Employment Department, resident in the New York office. She is a member of the Accessibility and Accommodations Practice Group, and frequently counsels on matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state public accommodation law, as well as disability accommodation in the workplace. She has experience conducting accessibility audits and providing ADA and accessibility training for clients in a variety of sectors, including retail, sports, and not-for-profit. Her practice also focuses on wage and hour and class and collective action litigation, and she is a frequent contributor to the Proskauer on Class and Collective Actions blog.

212-969-3631