Uniformed Service Members To Become a Protected Class Under the New York City Human Rights Law
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed into law an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (the “NYCHRL”) prohibiting discrimination on the basis of uniformed service. The amendment takes effect on November 19, 2017.
The term “uniformed service” is defined in the amendment to mean current or prior service in:
The United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Services, Army National Guard, or the Air National Guard;
The organized militia of the State of New York;
Any other service designed as part of the “uniformed services” pursuant to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act;
Membership in any reserve component of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard; or
Being listed on the state reserve list or the state retired list as described in certain military laws or the state equivalent.
The amendment gives both veterans and active military personnel all protections afforded under the NYCHRL, including safeguarding against employment discrimination. Specifically, these protections include representing that a position is not available when it actually is, refusing to hire or employ, or to bar or discharge from employment, someone in the uniformed services, or to discriminate against uniformed service members in the compensation, terms, and conditions of their employment. Likewise, the amendment prevents employers from discriminating against uniformed service members in matters of public accommodation, housing, real estate, and lending. The Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis, cogently stated that: “Veterans and active military and other uniformed personnel routinely put their lives on the line for people in this country. The least we can do is guarantee them the same freedom, respect and opportunities as everyone else. This law will give veterans and active military and other uniformed personnel direct protection under the New York City Human Rights law.” Please click here to view the full article.
New York based employers are encouraged to review their human resources and hiring policies to ensure compliance with the amendment to the NYCHRL prior to its November 19, 2017 effective date.
As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.