On April 20, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed two new bills into law that authorize the New York City Commission on Human Rights to increase the number of employment discrimination investigations. 

The first law (Intro. No. 421-A, 2014) requires the Commission to report annually to the New York City Council and Mayor de Blasio on the numbers and types of investigations initiated, and how many investigations resulted in civil actions.

The second law (Intro. No. 690-A, 2015) requires the Commission to conduct at least five investigations each year using a pair of test applicants who submit similar credentials in applying for a job. The Commission is instructed to use similarly qualified testers who differ in one or more of the categories protected by the New York City Human Rights Law (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin). The Commission is required to report the results of the tests and to refer any incidents of alleged discrimination to the New York City Law Enforcement Bureau for assessment. The Commission’s investigations are required to begin no later than October 1, 2015.

With these new laws, employers operating in New York City should ensure that their hiring and other employment practices comply with the New York City Human Rights Law, which is broader in many respects than federal and state anti-discrimination laws. The text of the new laws can be found here (Intro No. 421-A, 2014) and here (Intro No. 690-A, 2015).

Aaron Warshaw is an associate in the New York City office of Ogletree Deakins.

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