Protections in Places of Public Accommodation under the New York State Human Rights Law
The New York State Human Rights Law
The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation on the basis of several “protected characteristics.” It is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of one of these protected characteristics:
- Gender Identity or Expression
- Marital Status
- Military Status
- National Origin
- Sexual Orientation
What Are Places of Public Accommodation?
Places of public accommodation can include but are not limited to:
- Health clinics and hospitals
- Hotels and motels
- Movie theatres and music halls
- Public buildings and government offices
- Restaurants and barrooms
- Retail stores
- Places of public accommodation are prohibited from discriminating based on any of the characteristics listed and must make their goods and services accessible
- Places of public accommodation cannot deny goods or services to individuals based on any of the characteristics listed
- Places of public accommodation are prohibited from publishing or circulating any written materials that would indicate a denial of accommodations, advantages or privileges based any of the characteristics listed
The Human Rights Law also prohibits participating in discrimination or retaliation against someone for helping to enforce the law.Where Can I FIle a Complaint?
The New York State Division of Human Rights enforces this important law for the people of the State of New York. If a person feels they have been discriminated against based on one of these traits or characteristics, they can file a complaint with the Division. To file a complaint:
- Download a complaint form. Completed complaints must be signed before a notary public, and returned to the Division (by mail, email, fax, or in person).
- Stop by a Division office in person. Notary services are available at the Division free of charge.
- Contact one of the Division’s offices, by telephone or by mail, to obtain a complaint form and/or other assistance in filing a complaint.