File a Complaint

Overview:

Under the Human Rights Law in New York, every citizen has an “equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life.”

This law protects you from discrimination in areas such as employment, education, credit, and purchasing or renting a home or commercial space based on your:

  • Race
  • Creed
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Military status
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Domestic violence victim status
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy-related condition
  • Predisposing genetic characteristics or prior arrest or conviction record
  • Familial status
  • Retaliation for opposing unlawful discriminatory practices

If someone feels they have been discriminated against they can file a complaint with the Division of Human Rights.  Once a complaint is filed, the Division of Human Rights will investigate and may present the case in a public hearing.

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What is Covered

What is Covered:

The Human Rights law prohibits discrimination in:
  • Employment
  • Apprenticeship and training
  • Purchase and rental of housing and commercial space
  • Places of public accommodation
  • Non-sectarian, tax-exempt educational institutions
  • All credit transactions

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How To

How To

Follow this step by step process to file a complaint with the Division of Human Rights.
  1. Fill out the complaint form, answering all of the questions. If possible, type the form. If you are filling out the form by hand, please print.
  2. After you fill out the form, have it notarized. Notary services are available at the Division free of charge.
  3. Attach copies of any documents that you think will help the Division investigate the case (pay stub, letter of termination, performance evaluation disciplinary notice, etc).
  4. Return the complaint form to the regional office closest to you.
  5. Keep a copy of your complaint and copies of any documents you attach for your own records.

For more information read our Frequently Asked Questions.

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Investigative Procedure

Investigative Procedure

Once a regional office receives your complaint the investigation by the Division of Human Rights will begin.
  1. The first step will be to notify the respondent(s). A respondent is a person or entity who  you believe discriminated against you.
  2. Next, the Division will resolve any questionable issues of jurisdiction.
  3. If applicable, a copy of your complaint will be forwarded to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  4. An investigation will be conducted using methods like written inquiry, field investigation and investigatory conference.
  5. In most cases the investigation will be completed within 180 days.
Once the investigation is complete, the Division will determine if there is probable cause that an act of discrimination has occurred, and will notify the complainant and respondent in writing.

If there is a finding of no probable cause, or lack of jurisdiction, the matter is dismissed.  A complainant may appeal to the State Supreme Court within 60 days.

If it is determined that there is probable cause your case will be presented in a public hearing. Visit our public hearing section to learn more about that process.

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File

File

To file a complaint, download the form and mail to the nearest regional office.



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Contact

Contact

If you are unable to access the complaint form, please call at 1-888-392-3644.

If you are blind or visually handicapped, you can contact John Herrion at 718-741-8332 or jherrion@dhr.ny.gov to receive the form in Braille in English or Spanish.