LIEB BLOG

Legal Media Analysts

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

New Housing Discrimination Notice on Source of Income Discrimination Proposed - Comment Period Open

On May 25, 2022, the NYS Division of Human Rights proposed 9 NYCRR 466.16, which will require any entity that administers any public housing program or assistance to provide a detailed notice of rights from source of income discrimination. The enabling statute, Executive Law 170-e, explains that an entity that administers includes "any state, county, municipal or other governmental entity. . . or any agency or instrumentality of such an entity, and any public or private non-profit entity authorized to administer any public housing program or assistance."


Specifically, "[t]he notice is to advise individuals of their right to nondiscrimination based on lawful source of income in housing pursuant to Human Rights Law section 296.2-a (publicly-assisted housing) or Human Rights Law section 296.5 (private housing)" pursuant to the regulation. 


The notice must be provided as follows:

  • Current recipients must receive notice within 30 days after the effective date of the regulation;
  • Future recipients must receive notice "upon notification such individual qualifies for the voucher or assistance"; 
  • "In writing, and in 14 point... font";
  • Electronically is permissible by a link to the notice; &
  • On all websites administered by the entity. 

The required notice will look like this:

KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AS A RECIPIENT OF HOUSING ASSISTANCE

By law, you are protected from housing discrimination.

The New York State Human Rights Law makes it unlawful to discriminate in housing on the basis of your source of income. This includes all forms of housing assistance (like Section 8 vouchers, HUD VASH vouchers, New York City FHEPS and others), as well as all other lawful sources of income including: Federal, state, or local public assistance, social security benefits, child support, alimony or spousal maintenance, foster care subsidies, or any other form of lawful income.

Housing providers who are covered by the Human Rights Law include landlords, property managers, real estate professionals like brokers, tenants seeking to sublet, and anyone working on their behalf.

Housing providers are not allowed to refuse to rent to you because you receive housing assistance. They are also not allowed to charge you higher rent, or offer you worse terms in a lease, or deny you access to facilities or services that other tenants receive.

Housing providers are not allowed to make any statement or advertisement that indicates housing assistance recipients do not qualify for the housing. For example, a housing provider cannot say they do not accept housing vouchers or that they do not participate in a program such as Section 8.

It is lawful for housing providers to ask about income, and about the source of that income, and require documentation, but only in order to determine a person’s ability to pay for the housing accommodation or eligibility for a certain program. A housing provider must accept all lawful sources of income equally. It is unlawful to use any form of screening of applicants that has the intent or result of screening out those receiving housing assistance.

If you believe that you have discriminated against by a housing provider with regard to your lawful source of income, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights.

How to File a Complaint
A complaint must be filed with the Division within one year of the alleged discriminatory act or in court within three years of the alleged discriminatory act. To file a complaint, download a complaint form from www.dhr.ny.gov. For more information or assistance in filing a complaint, contact one of the Division’s offices, or call the Division’s toll-free HOTLINE at 1 (888) 392-3644. Your complaint will be investigated by the Division, and if the Division finds probable cause to believe discrimination has occurred, your case will be sent to a public hearing, or the case may proceed in state court. There is no fee charged to you for these services. Remedies in successful cases may include a cease-and-desist order, provision of housing that was denied, and monetary compensation for the harm you suffered. You can obtain a complaint form on the website, or one can be e-mailed or mailed to you. You can also call or e-mail a Division regional office. The regional offices are listed on the website. 


If you have thoughts about this notice or this regulation, you have until July 24, 2022 to comment by emailing: caroline.downey@dhr.ny.gov with I.D. No. HRT-21-22-00001-P in the subject line. 



Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Adult Sex Offense Victims Granted More Time to Sue for Damages in NYS

Sex offense victims can now bring lawsuits in New York State even if they were previously outside of the statute of limitations or otherwise barred from not timely filing notices, etc. 


Stated otherwise, expired sex offense claims have been revived by S66A, the Adult Survivors Act.


The legislation applies to survivors of sexual offenses who were adults (i.e., 18 or older) at the time of the alleged sexual offense.


It is important that victims realize that they will only have a ONE YEAR window to bring claims so they must contact an attorney immediately and get the ball rolling now. Of note, that one year window starts on November 24, 2022 so there is time for your attorney to get all their ducks in a row and bring a strong case.




Monday, May 23, 2022

Housing Discrimination FAQs

Is real estate discrimination illegal?

Yes. Discrimination in real estate is illegal throughout the United States. In some states, like New York, there are even greater protections, rights, and damages available to victims of housing discrimination. You are entitled to compensation whether you were discriminated against by a seller, landlord, tenant co-op, condo, HOA, lender, real estate broker, salesperson, or property manager.

 

Does real estate discrimination only apply to housing?

No. Real Estate discrimination laws apply to both housing and places of public accommodation. Examples include shopping centers, professional offices, retail stores, recreational facilities, service centers, and educational institutions.

 

Can I sue for housing discrimination?

Yes. Not only is it possible to sue for real estate discrimination, but Lieb at Law, P.C.  has helped countless individuals recover compensatory damages and punitive damages for the emotional distress inflicted by this unlawful act. If you or a loved one were discriminated against because of your protected status or class, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney who will fight to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.  

 

What qualifies as discrimination?

Discrimination is classified as unfair treatment to an individual because of their protected status or class. These statuses/classes vary throughout the United States, but may include race, ethnic background, visible traits (hair texture, hairstyle, donning of religious garments or items), color, national origin, citizenship status, alienage status, immigration status, lawful source of income (subsidy recipient status), occupation, religion, creed, marital status, partnership status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression (transgender status), domestic violence victim status, stalking victim status, sex offense victim status, familial status, pregnancy, presence of children, handicap (disability), age, military status, uniformed service, veteran status, first responder status, arrest record, and sealed conviction record.

 

Can a real estate / housing provider change the terms of a lease or contract based on my protected class?

No. The law prevents real estate / housing providers from changing the terms, conditions, privileges, and/or availability of property based on your protected class status. It requires real estate brokers / salespersons to give you written disclosures that advise you of your rights. It prevents you from being treated differently from others where only the terms of your offer matter, not who you are.

 

Are handicapped individuals entitled to housing accommodations?

Yes. If you are handicapped or disabled, you are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications to allow you to equally use and enjoy the property. Your actual diagnosis does not need to be revealed and can remain confidential if you seek an accommodation or modification. In addition, the cost of the accommodation cannot be charged to you. In places like New York City, the cost of modifications cannot be charged to you either.

 

What are common examples of disability cases concerning housing discrimination?

The most common handicap and disability cases that we see involve service animals or emotional support animals in no pet properties. Other types of cases include parking issues, egress ramps for mobility impairments, and additional failure-to-accommodate cases. When it comes to accommodating the rights of handicapped and disabled individuals, providing access is essential.

 

Can I be discriminated against based on my source of income?

Whether you receive subsidies, like Section 8 (Housing Choice Vouchers), or are unemployed and receive child support, disability, spousal support, or have a trust fund, your source of income cannot impact your housing choices. The law protects you from offensive signage, improper applications, and/or wrongful questionnaires if they inquire about your employment status, request your W-2, or solicit a letter of employment. Where you get your rent money is your business and yours alone.

 

Can I be retaliated against if I proceed with a discrimination lawsuit?

Don't be afraid to speak-up. If you are advancing a fair housing and/or anti-discrimination right, you are protected from retaliation. Even if it is ultimately found that you were not discriminated against, you can be compensated for facing unlawful coercion, intimidation, threats, or other types of interference with your anti-discrimination rights. It also applies if you are an ally who is aiding and/or encouraging someone else to exercise their rights to be free from discrimination.

 

What happens if I win my housing discrimination case?

As the victim, you can recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, and your attorneys’ fees. The perpetrator can lose their license (if applicable), be required to take trainings, be made to pay fines, and be ordered to stop their offensive behavior. Working with a top discrimination attorney affords you the best possible chance at a successful outcome to your case. If you or a loved one has been treated unfairly and is in need of legal assistance, contact our team today.




*Attorney Advertising

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Education Discrimination FAQs

Is discrimination in school illegal?

 

Yes, discrimination in education is illegal in the United States. Depending on the state you live in, there may be even greater protections, rights, and damages available to victims and their parents. A student cannot be denied a right to learn.

 

Who can be a perpetrator of discrimination in education?

 

When it comes to education, you and your child have a right to be free from harassment, bullying and other forms of wrongful discrimination that is perpetrated by teachers, the administration, or even other students. This applies to public schools, non-religious private schools, career schools, colleges, and universities.

  

Does discrimination have to be intentional to warrant compensation?

 

Anti-discrimination laws in education apply regardless of whether the discrimination is explicit or implicit. It is the administration's duty to make education equally accessible to all and this failure can result in a lawsuit.  

 

What are the most common types of discrimination at school?

 

Types of discrimination at school include bullying of minorities, the failure to give testing accommodations to disabled students, and the failure to extend days off to religious observers. Additional types of discrimination include equal access to sports between the sexes / genders, and teachers having sex with their students.

 

What are the federal protections available for discrimination at school?

 

Title IX of the Educational Amendments protects against sex discrimination while Title VI of the Civil Rights Act addresses race, color, and national origin discrimination, and finally Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects against disability discrimination. However, these federal laws on education discrimination were limited by the Supreme Court in 2022 and can, mostly, no longer result in victims receiving emotional distress or punitive damages.

 

What are New York State protections available for discrimination at school?

 

New York provides victims with the right to recover for their emotional distress and punitive damages. Additionally, New York adds protections by covering victims of discrimination with respect to more categories, such as race, color, religion, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, age, and marital status. New York even makes clear that its own public school districts can be held accountable for discrimination based on an amendment to its laws from July 25, 2019, A3425.

 

How long do I have to sue for education discrimination in New York?

 

If you or your child were a victim of education discrimination, it is important to act quickly and file your claim after hiring a lawyer. In New York State, claims against public school districts must be filed within 3 months after the discriminatory event. While the State's anti-discrimination laws otherwise provide up to 3 years for lawsuits against non-public schools (i.e., private schools / colleges / universities), it's important to act quickly to preserve all the discriminatory evidence (i.e., audio / video), which is done by immediately sending what is known as a spoliation notice.

 

What can victims of education discrimination in New York recover in compensation?

 

Discrimination victims, in New York, can recover compensatory damages (being made whole with emotional distress damages), punitive damages (punishment damages), and your attorneys' fees. The perpetrator can lose their license (if licensed as educators or otherwise), be required to take trainings, and be ordered to stop their offensive behavior. There are fines and more.

 

Can I be retaliated against for speaking out against discrimination at school?

 

Don't be afraid to speak-up. If you are advancing an anti-discrimination right for yourself or your child, you are protected from retaliation. Even if it is ultimately found that you or your child was not discriminated against, you both can nonetheless be compensated for facing unlawful coercion, intimidation, threats, or other types of interference with your anti-discrimination rights. Again, this is not just true if you are advancing your own rights, it also applies if you are raising your child's rights, or another student's rights, because anti-retaliation laws protect anyone who aids and/or encourages someone else in exercising their rights to be free from discrimination. Give us a call.



*Attorney Advertising

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Major New RE Landlord / Tenant & Brokerage Regulatory Law in NYS - BOOM

New York tenants will be receiving new notices about their rights to reasonable modifications and accommodations for persons with disabilities as of today


The Division of Human Rights has officially adopted 9 NYCRR 466.15 - see our prior blog on the topic here


The new law places a tremendous onus, with awesome exposure, on the following people: "the owner, lessee, sub-lessee, assignee, or managing agent of, or other person having the right to sell, rent or lease a housing accommodation, constructed or to be constructed, or any agent or employee thereof." The law applies to both private property and publicly-assisted housing. 


There is a special section in the law just for real estate brokers, who are now obligated to provide the notice at the first point of substantive contact.


Plus, every obligee must also prominently and conspicuously display a link to the notice "on the homepage of such website." Unfortunately, the link, which is supposed to "be made available by the Division," is not so available. 


Nonetheless, here is the official notice and it's language (if you haven't realized it yet, housing providers and their real estate brokers better get up to speed on providing reasonable accommodations and modifications today. Failure-to-accommodate lawsuits are about to be filed with record speed / frequency): 


NOTICE DISCLOSING TENANTS’ RIGHTS TO REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES Reasonable Accommodations The New York State Human Rights Law requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations or modifications to a building or living space to meet the needs of people with disabilities. For example, if you have a physical, mental, or medical impairment, you can ask your housing provider to make the common areas of your building accessible, or to change certain policies to meet your needs.


To request a reasonable accommodation, you should contact your property manager by calling ______________ or ______________, or by e-mailing ______________. (note: brokers may delete "by calling ______________ or ______________, or by e-mailing ______________.)


You will need to inform your housing provider that you have a disability or health problem that interferes with your use of housing, and that your request for accommodation may be necessary to provide you equal access and opportunity to use and enjoy your housing or the amenities and services normally offered by your housing provider. A housing provider may request medical information, when necessary to support that there is a covered disability and that the need for the accommodation is disability related. 


If you believe that you have been denied a reasonable accommodation for your disability, or that you were denied housing or retaliated against because you requested a reasonable accommodation, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights as described at the end of this notice.


Specifically, if you have a physical, mental, or medical impairment, you can request:

  • Permission to change the interior of your housing unit to make it accessible (however, you are required to pay for these modifications, and in the case of a rental your housing provider may require that you restore the unit to its original condition when you move out);
  • Changes to your housing provider’s rules, policies, practices, or services;
  • Changes to common areas of the building so you have an equal opportunity to use the building. The New York State Human Rights Law requires housing providers to pay for reasonable modifications to common use areas.

Examples of reasonable modifications and accommodations that may be requested under the New York State Human Rights Law include:

  • If you have a mobility impairment, your housing provider may be required to provide you with a ramp or other reasonable means to permit you to enter and exit the building. 
  • If your healthcare provider provides documentation that having an animal will assist with your disability, you should be permitted to have the animal in your home despite a “no pet” rule.
  • If you need grab bars in your bathroom, you can request permission to install them at your own expense. If your housing was built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 and the walls need to be reinforced for grab bars, your housing provider must pay for that to be done.
  • If you have an impairment that requires a parking space close to your unit, you can request your housing provider to provide you with that parking space, or place you at the top of a waiting list if no adjacent spot is available. 
  • If you have a visual impairment and require printed notices in an alternative format such as large print font, or need notices to be made available to you electronically, you can request that accommodation from your landlord.


Required Accessibility Standards 

All buildings constructed for use after March 13, 1991, are required to meet the following standards:

  • Public and common areas must be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities;
  • All doors must be sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons in wheelchairs; and 
  • All multi-family buildings must contain accessible passageways, fixtures, outlets, thermostats, bathrooms, and kitchens.


If you believe that your building does not meet the required accessibility standards, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights.


How to File a Complaint

A complaint must be filed with the Division within one year of the alleged discriminatory act or in court within three years of the alleged discriminatory act. You can find more information on your rights, and on the procedures for filing a complaint, by going to www.dhr.ny.gov, or by calling 1-888-392-3644. You can obtain a complaint form on the website, or one can be e-mailed or mailed to you. You can also call or e-mail a Division regional office. The regional offices are listed on the website.




Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Workplace Discrimination FAQs

Is employment discrimination illegal?

 

Yes, discrimination in employment is illegal in the United States. Depending on the state you live in, there may be even greater protections, rights, and damages available to victims of workplace discrimination.

 

What qualifies as employment discrimination?

 

The laws enforced by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and your individual state, entitle victims to sue for compensation in the event of unfair treatment based on their protected status or protected class.

 

While these vary from state-to-state, they may include the following: race, ethnic background, visible traits (hair texture, hairstyle, donning of religious garments or items), color, national origin, citizenship status, alienage status, immigration status, lawful source of income (subsidy recipient status), occupation, religion, creed, marital status, partnership status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression (transgender status), domestic violence victim status, stalking victim status, sex offense victim status, familial status, pregnancy, presence of children, handicap (disability), age, military status, uniformed service, veteran status, first responder status, arrest record, and sealed conviction record.

 

Does discrimination have to be intentional to warrant compensation?

 

No. Regardless of whether the discrimination was unintentional or caused by implicit biases, you are entitled to fair compensation.

 

What is the most common workplace discrimination?

 

The most common types of discrimination in the workplace include racial discrimination, age discrimination, sex or gender discrimination, and disability discrimination.

 

Can an independent contractor sue for discrimination?

 

In many places, you can sue for workplace discrimination whether you are an employee, a domestic worker, or an independent contractor. If you are unsure of whether or not this applies in your state or locale, it’s best to consult with a skilled employment discrimination lawyer.

 

Who do workplace discrimination laws apply to? 

 

You have a right to compensation if you are discriminated against by anyone in the workplace. This could include a boss, coworker, vendor, client, patron, temp agency, or franchisor. 


Where can discrimination occur?


While workplace discrimination often occurs in the office, it can happen anywhere—over a conference call, in a meeting, at a holiday party, or at a work lunch—so long as you were fulfilling your work responsibilities at the time of the discriminatory incident. 

 

How do I know if I have been discriminated against at work?

 

Federal and state laws prevent hiring managers from changing available compensation, rates of pay, hours, or availability of employment based on your protected class status. Wages must be substantially equal between genders and, in cities like New York City, wage transparency will be required when jobs are advertised.

 

If you have been treated unfairly in any of these ways, have been spoken to in a demeaning way, or have been subjected to offensive jokes or comments based on your protected class status, then you may have a case for workplace discrimination and should consider reaching out to an experienced New York discrimination lawyer.

 

Can I be fired for speaking out against discrimination?

 

Not legally, no. If you are speaking out against discrimination in the workplace, you are protected from retaliation. This is true regardless of whether you are speaking out for yourself or on behalf of someone else. If you or a loved one have been fired or treated unfairly for speaking out against discrimination at work, we would love to take on your case and ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve. Give us a call.

 

Can you sue for workplace discrimination?

 

Yes. Not only is it possible to sue for workplace discrimination, but Lieb at Law, P.C. has helped countless individuals recover compensatory damages and punitive damages for the pain inflicted by this unlawful act. Workplace discrimination is a violation of your rights and should never be tolerated.

 

How long do I have to sue for workplace discrimination?

 

Typically, federal law requires that you make a filing within 300 days of the discrimination (this may be cut down to 180 days based on your state’s laws, or even to 3 months if you work in education in places like New York).  However, certain state law claims can be brought up to 3 years after the incident. So, you should call right away and let us determine if you still have time to bring your case. 

 

What can I recover if I sue for workplace discrimination?

 

Employment discrimination claims can result in very high awards because they are designed to compensate victims for lost back-pay, lost front-pay, and experiencing emotional distress / loss of dignity. Additionally, the law provides that victims can recover other forms of compensatory damages, punitive damages, and their attorneys’ fees. In fact, the perpetrator can lose their license (if licensed), be required to take trainings, and be ordered to stop their offensive behavior. There are fines and more. However, we are ethically required to advise you that our prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. So, you should contact us today and get a tailored evaluation of your specific situation.



 *Attorney Advertising

Monday, May 16, 2022

New NYS Discrimination Law Enacted - Victims of Domestic Violence Protected

On May 13, 2022, NYS protected victims of domestic violence from discrimination in credit, housing, educational institutions, employment agencies, and labor organizations. Even real estate brokers are subject to this law and everyone needs to know that they must treat victims with the respect and support that they need and deserve. 


While domestic violence victims have been protected from employment discrimination since 2019, within the state, the new law, S8417B, even expands this category by now making employment applications and advertisements subject to the law. 


Simply, if you are a victim of domestic violence, you have rights. This applies to the "1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men [who] will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime" according to CDC reports. Simply, you are not alone and if you experience discrimination you have the right to be compensated. 






Friday, May 13, 2022

AI Employment Decisions Cause Disability Discrimination Per EEOC / DOJ

Many employers utilize artificial intelligence or algorithms to select new employees, monitor performance, and determine pay or promotions. There are scored tests and resume analysis that are both common place in the big business world. However, the EEOC and DOJ just shot a cannon across the bow of big business' boat by stating that "[t]hese tools may result in unlawful discrimination against people with disabilities in violation of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)."


To determine if discrimination has occurred, consider the following questions:

  1. Was there an accommodations policy available and made known to employees / applicants?
    1. If not, there likely was discrimination.
  2. Does the AI / algorithm ask about the precise nature of the disability / medical condition? 
    1. If so, there likely was discrimination. 

If either of these questions ring true, or if you are working with such AI / algorithms with employment decisions, you should consult with a discrimination attorney and/or review the EEOC / DOJ Guidance Here



Monday, May 09, 2022

NYS Studying Protections in Payroll Services Industry under New Law

Does your company blindly outsource HR to your payroll company? Aren't you concerned whether they are getting it right? You do know that you remain liable even if you outsource?   


In acknowledging that many NYS employers blindly outsource their payroll services, the Governor signed, A7786 into law on May 6, 2022, and ordered the Superintendent of Financial Services to review the industry. 


Specifically, the law requires a review of:

  1. Employee protections in the industry;
  2. Small business employer protections in the industry;
  3. Incidence of fraud or misappropriation of payroll funds; 
  4. Number of NYS small businesses that use payroll services;
  5. Number and size of NYS payroll service providers;
  6. Specific causal or facilitative facts regarding instances of fraud or misappropriation by providers;
  7. Feasibility & advisability of requiring providers to obtain insurance, post bonds, or utilize other risk management tools to address potential situations in which payroll monies owed to employees on behalf of businesses are stolen, misappropriated, or otherwise rendered unavailable after being transmitted from an employer to a provider; &
  8. Feasibility & advisability of the DFS having regulatory oversight over third-party payroll service providers.
A report is coming by September 3, 2022. Do you think the industry is about to get regulated? Should it be regulated? 

Remember, employers are liable for not paying wages. 

In fact, a second violation within 6 years is a felony. Plus, under the state's Wage Theft Prevention Act, an employee can recover double what they are owed if the employer violated the law in bad faith. 





Friday, May 06, 2022

NYC Salary Transparency in Job Advertisements Law Updated