New “Sheriff” Coming to New York City Commission on Human Rights

In a blog post from March 2014, I discussed the pros and cons of filing a claim with the New York City Commission on Human Rights. That post focused on the election of remedies aspect of filing an employment discrimination claim and the potential risk of a Commission’s finding of no probable cause. This finding can often act as a bar to filing a discrimination lawsuit in New York State Court.

Aside from this apparent negative, there are others (which I have detailed below); but with the appointment of a new commissioner to lead the Commission, the tide may be turning.

Ms. Malalis, a former plaintiff’s employment attorney, has vowed to enforce the New York City Human Rights law and to invigorate the habitually underfinanced agency, which primarily serves residents who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers.

With that said, the current statistics speak volumes. New York City only finances 11 positions at the Commission, while the federal government provides funding for an additional 55 positions. This is highly concerning and may explain why most claims that get processed through the commission take well over the one-year timeframe.

Additionally, according to city statistics, the Commission received 4,975 inquiries from the public in 2014, but formally opened only 633 cases. Of the cases resolved that year, only 10 percent were found to have probable cause to move forward. This is a vastly underwhelming number and that is why I urge prospective clients to carefully measure whether they should pursue their claim via the Commission. It’s always best to discuss these matters with a qualified employment attorney before proceeding.

As always, if you believe you or your family member was and/or has been discriminated against in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact the employment discrimination attorneys at Risman & Risman, P.C. at (212) 233-6400 or contact us online.

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