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.” Please look at the below for information on filing a complaint. If you have a question, please Opens in a new windowfeel free to contact us.

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
  • Prior arrest or conviction record
  • Gender Identity or Expression
  • Familial status
  • Lawful source of income (in housing only)
  • 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
  • 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 and sign the form. If possible, type the form. If you are filling out the form by hand, please print.
  2. 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).
  3. Return the completed complaint form to the Division. You may return the complaint by postal mail to the regional office nearest you, email your complaint to [email protected], or fax it to (718) 741-8322.
  4. Due to restrictions imposed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you may return the complaint form without notarization. Division staff will resolve notarization after the investigation commences. Please note that all complaints must be signed before submission.
  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. Download PdfInformation on temporary change to the complaint process in response to COVID-19 is available here..
  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 a Complaint

File a Complaint

Employment

Use this complaint form if you are an employee filing a complaint against your employer, or if you are an intern or a volunteer filing against an employer. This form can also be used by non-employees who experience discrimination while working at an employer’s worksite. This includes independent contractors, persons working for a contractor, temp workers, vendors, consultants, delivery persons, and service providers such as electricians, janitorial workers, and so on. Use this form also to complain about the denial of a license by a licensing agency. Use this form to complain of discrimination by a union or by an employment or temporary agency. (If you are filing against an employer and a union or agency, please file a separate complaint against each.)
Domestic workers may file an employment complaint against a placement agency (regardless of who directly pays the wages), but should use the Domestic Workers form below to file a complaint against the person(s) to whom they provide the domestic services.



Housing

Use this form to file a complaint if you experienced housing discrimination. You can file against a landlord, management company, property seller, or anyone having the right to sell, lease or rent housing, or against anyone working for one of these entities who personally discriminated against you. This form is also for filing against a real estate professional. This form is also for complaints about discriminatory denial of housing-related credit (such as mortgages). This form can also be used for a complaint of discrimination with regard to land or commercial space.



Public Accommodation

Use this form to file a complaint if you experienced discrimination as a customer or client of any establishment offering goods or services to the public (for example: stores, theatres, restaurants, transportation services, public buildings, salons, medical offices, day care services, parks, fitness and recreation facilities, etc., including any such facilities owned or operated by a governmental entity). Use this form also to complain of discriminatory denial of credit (but use the housing complaint for denial of a mortgage or any housing-related credit) or insurance (but use the employment complaint for issues about insurance benefits provided by your employer).


Education

Use this form to file a complaint as a current or former student, or as an applicant, against any public school (including public school districts, charter school, BOCES, public colleges and universities, universal Pre-K, Head Start or other publicly funded pre-kindergarten program), or any private school at any education level, excluding those which are for-profit, or run by a religious organization. (If you are not sure of the for-profit or religious nature of a school, you may file a complaint and we will investigate the status of the school as a preliminary matter.)
Use the Employment complaint to file a complaint against a school as your employer.
Use the Public Accommodation form to file a complaint against a daycare center.



Domestic Workers

A domestic worker is someone who works for someone providing such personal services cleaning, food service, childcare, shopping, driving, etc. Domestic workers are protected from being harassed by the persons for whom they provide the personal services. Use this domestic worker form to file a complaint against the person for whom the personal services are performed.
Domestic workers may also file an employment complaint (see form above) against any agency that placed them, regardless of who directly pays the wages.



Boycott or Blacklisting

Use this form to complain about a business or organization that refuses to buy from, sell to, or trade with, or otherwise refuses to do business with any person, business or organization for a discriminatory reason. If you are unsure whether to use this form or another form that also seems to apply, you can call the Division for further information on which form would be best. Generally, the boycott or blacklisting category is for discriminatory business dealings that do not fall under any of the other types of complaints listed above.

Volunteer Firefighters

Use this form if you are filing a complaint as a volunteer firefighter.

Violation of a conciliation agreement

If you previously filed a complaint with the Division which was settled with a Pre-Determination Conciliation Agreement, use this form to file a complaint if the entity you filed against has not complied with the agreement.

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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 a person with a vision disability, you can contact John Herrion at 718-741-8332 or [email protected] to receive the form in an alternative format, including Braille in English or Spanish.