Employment Discrimination in New York

Avoid employment discrimination against protected classes in New York.

By , J.D. · UC Berkeley School of Law

Federal and state law prohibit New York employers from discriminating against employees based on certain characteristics, such as race or religion. (To learn more, see our page on employment discrimination and harassment.)

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)
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • disability (physical or mental)
  • age (40 and older)
  • citizenship status, and
  • genetic information.

In addition, the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), which applies to all employers, prohibits discrimination based on:

  • marital status
  • familial status (being pregnant, caring for a child under 18, or seeking to adopt a child under 18)
  • lawful use of any product or lawful recreational activities when not at work
  • military status or service
  • observance of Sabbath
  • oolitical activities
  • use of service dog
  • prior arrests or criminal accusation
  • prior convictions (unless certain requirements have been met)
  • domestic violence victim status

Protected Categories in New York City

Several cities in the U.S. have their own laws protecting additional characteristics or extending protection to more employees. For example, in New York City, it is illegal to discriminate based on certain other categories, including:

  • credit history
  • sexual and reproductive-health decisions
  • employment status
  • credit history, and
  • caregiver status.
Contact your local government to learn more.

Which New York Employers Must Comply With the Antidiscrimination Laws?

Employers with 15 or more employees are covered by federal antidiscrimination laws, with the following exceptions:

  • age discrimination (employers with 20 or more employees)
  • citizenship status discrimination (employers with four or more employees), and
  • equal pay for men and women (all employers).

The state of New York's antidiscrimination law applies to all employers.

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. The website will help you locate an EEOC field office in New York. (For more information, see our article on how to file an EEOC claim.)

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

Contact an Attorney

If you've been the victim of workplace discrimination or retaliation in New York, contact an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your legal options.

Get Professional Help
Talk to an Employment Rights attorney.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you