Employment Discrimination in New York

Avoid employment discrimination against protected classes in New York.

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What are the protected classes in New York?

In all 50 states, federal law makes it illegal to discriminate based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • Disability
  • Age (40 and older)
  • Citizenship status
  • Genetic information

In addition, New York state law also prohibits discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • Disability: physical or mental
  • Age (18 and older)
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation (includes perceived sexual orientation)
  • Lawful use of any product or lawful recreational activities when not at work
  • Military status or service
  • Observance of Sabbath
  • Political activities
  • Use of service dog
  • Criminal accusation
  • Domestic violence victim status

How many employees must a company in New York have to be subject to antidiscrimination laws?

Under federal law, companies with 15 or more employees are covered by Title VII, the primary law prohibiting employment discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination based on genetic information. Companies with 20 or more employees are subject to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the federal law that prohibits discrimination against employees 40 years or older. Companies with four or more employees must comply with the employment discrimination provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of citizenship status. And all companies of any size must pay men and women equally for doing equal work, by virtue of the Equal Pay Act.

In New York, companies with four or more employees are subject to the state's antidiscrimination law.

What government agency regulates workplace discrimination in New York?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that regulates workplace discrimination. You can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by calling 800-669-4000 or check out its website at www.eeoc.gov. The website will help you locate an EEOC field office in New York.

The Division of Human Rights enforces state antidiscrimination law in New York. You can contact the Division of Human Rights at 718-741-8400.

For more information on employment discrimination, see The Manager's Legal Handbook, by attorneys Lisa Guerin and Amy DelPo (Nolo).

Last updated on 2/22/13.

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