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NYS Human Rights Law

New York State Human Rights Law

The New York State Human Rights Law is Article 15 of the Executive Law (Chapter 18 of the New York Consolidated Laws). The law and corresponding regulations prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, marital status or disability in employment, housing, education, credit, and access to public accommodations[1] The law was originally passed in 1945 as the Law Against Discrimination, and was the first of its kind in the United States. It is enforced by the New York State Division of Human Rights.

The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act passed in 2002 added "sexual orientation"; the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act is a bill proposed to add "gender identity or expression".

Laws and Regulations


New York State Executive Law Article 15, Human Rights Law, §§290 - 301

§ 290. Purposes of article
§ 291. Equality of opportunity a civil right
§ 292. Definitions
§ 293. Division of human rights
§ 294. General policies of division
§ 295. General powers and duties of division
§ 296. Unlawful discriminatory practices
§ 296-a. Unlawful discriminatory practices in relation to credit 
§ 296-b. Unlawful discriminatory practices relating to domestic workers
§ 296-c. Unlawful discriminatory practices relating to interns
§ 297. Procedure
§ 298. Judicial review and enforcement
§ 298-a. Application of article to certain acts committed outside the state of New York
§ 299. Penal provision
§ 300. Construction
§ 301. Separability


General Regulations 466.1 to 466.10 and 466.12 (Printable Version)

466.1 Employers, employment agencies, labor organizations and labor management committees
466.2 Places of public accommodation, resort or amusement 
466.3 Housing accommodations and commercial space
466.4 Volunteer fire departments and companies
466.5 Submission of plan to increase employment of members of minority groups
466.6 Access to personal information
466.7 Public access to records 
466.8 Discrimination on the basis of sex or marital status in extension of credit 
466.9 Index of interested persons
466.10 Procedure for declaratory rulings 
466.11 Reasonable Accomodation [separated as an Appendix document from rest of general regulations]
466.12 Payment of civil fines and penalties in installments
466.13 Discrimination on the basis of gender identity 

Also available here: 9 NYCRR §466.13 Discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

References to Best Practices and Other Supplemental Materials

New York State Division of Human Rights

The New York State Division of Human Rights was created to enforce the New York State Human Rights Law.  Their mission is to ensure that “every individual . . . has an equal opportunity to participate fully in the economic, cultural and intellectual life of the State" through the vigorous prosecution of unlawful discriminatory practices; through the receipt, investigation, and resolution of complaints of discrimination; through the creation of studies, programs, and campaigns designed to, among other things, inform and educate the public on the effects of discrimination and the rights and obligations under the law; and through the development of human rights policies and proposed legislation for the State.

The Division of Human Rights website includes Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Guidance, including:

NYSDHR Sexual Harassment Guidance for Employers
Guidance provides descriptions of conduct considered to be sexual harassment, how and under what circumstances employers will be held liable for sexual harassment, and how employers can minimize their exposure to sexual harassment suits.

NYSDHR Pregnancy Guidance Document
Guidance describes pregnancy discrimination, and discusses which accommodations are reasonable for a pregnancy-related conditions.

NYSDHR Guidance on Attorney’s Fees
Guidance discusses award of plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees pursuant to the Human Rights Law, and in what scenarios attorney’s fees are available.

NYSDHR Guidance on Familial Status Discrimination
Guidance describes Familial status as a protected category in employment, what family status is, what rights are afforded through this new protection added to the New York State Human Rights law in January 2016, and what conduct will be considered discrimination on the basis of family status.  

NYSDHR Guidance on Pay Equity for Employers in New York State 
Guidance clarifies Labor Law Section 194 which makes it is unlawful for an employer to pay an employee less than an employee of the opposite sex for equal work. Employers are also prohibited from restricting its employees’ ability to inquire or discuss wages with their co-workers.

NYS Governor Press Releases

Governor Cuomo Announces New Regulations Protecting Transgender New Yorkers from Discrimination

SUNY Guidance and Resources

Summary of 2016 Changes to NYS Human Rights Laws Prepared by the SUNY Office of General Counsel and Compliance Office, May 2016