LIEB BLOG

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Showing posts with label anti-discrimination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anti-discrimination. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Housing Discrimination - Updated Protected Classes List - As Applicable to Downstate New York

We are always updating our CE courses at Lieb School because the law is constantly changing. 


While the law changes on every topic, there is no field that seems to be evolving today more than anti-discrimination law. So, we thought it important to share our updated definitive lists of protected classes within downstate New York for Fair Housing and Discrimination Law.


Note - While these lists are similar for employment discrimination law, there are minor differences in protections between the two fields and you should consult with an attorney should you have any questions.


Fair Housing Act:

  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. National origin
  4. Religion
  5. Sex
  6. Familial status
  7. Handicap

New York State Human Rights Law
  1. Race
  2. Creed
  3. Color
  4. National origin
  5. Sexual orientation
  6. Gender identity or expression (transgender)
  7. Military status
  8. Sex
  9. Age
  10. Disability
  11. Marital status
  12. Lawful source of income
  13. Familial status
  14. Arrest / sealed conviction record
  15. Domestic violence victim status (lease / occupancy only)

New York City Human Rights Law
  1. Race
  2. Creed 
  3. Color 
  4. National origin 
  5. Gender 
  6. Age 
  7. Disability 
  8. Sexual orientation 
  9. Uniformed service
  10. Marital status 
  11. Partnership status 
  12. Immigration or citizenship status
  13. Lawful source of income 
  14. Presence of children 
  15. Occupation
  16. Victim of domestic violence, stalking or sex offenses

Westchester Fair Housing Law:
  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Religion
  4. Age
  5. National origin
  6. Alienage or citizenship status
  7. Ethnicity
  8. Familial status
  9. Creed
  10. Gender
  11. Sexual orientation
  12. Marital status 
  13. Disability 
  14. Source of income
  15. Status as victim of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or stalking

Nassau County Fair Housing (Open Housing)
  1. Race
  2. Creed
  3. Color
  4. Gender
  5. Disability
  6. Age 
  7. Religion
  8. Source of income
  9. Veteran status 
  10. Sexual orientation
  11. Familial status 
  12. Marital status
  13. Ethnicity  
  14. National origin
  15. First responder status
  16. Visible traits of an individual such as natural hair texture, protective hairstyles & donning of religious garments or items and shall include segregation

Suffolk County Human Rights Law:
  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Creed
  4. Age
  5. National origin
  6. Alienage / citizenship
  7. Gender
  8. Sexual orientation 
  9. Disability
  10. Marital status 
  11. Sex
  12. Familial status
  13. Military status 
  14. Visible traits of an individual, such as natural hair texture, protective hairstyles & donning of religious garments or items
  15. Lawful source of income
  16. Veteran status
  17. Victim of domestic violence

To remind everyone, the federal law is the floor under which states and locales may not fall. Plus, there are often city / town / village anti-discrimination laws that are also relevant and must be respected in housing.

Discrimination is wrong and should be eliminated through trainings, policies, and lawsuits. As a society, we have to utilize all of the tools in our arsenal to make housing available to everyone irrespective of demographics.

Help us to get the word out on this one. It's important because unless everyone knows the protections, no one is really protected.





Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Planning to Profit Off the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill? You Better Start Your Anti-Discrimination Trainings Today

According to the current version of the INVEST in America Act, which passed the Senate on August 10, 2021, all "contractors and subcontractors utilized in carrying out activities funded under title 23, United States Code, should institute respectful workplace policies and provide effective, ongoing workplace training to create safe, respectful work sites that are free from bullying, hazing, discrimination, or harassment." 

For clarity, title 23 of the United States Code is the law about highways. So, if you plan on working on the highways, anti-discrimination trainings must start now!


Do you think that this should be part of the law?


Is anti-discrimination training needed?


Either way, this is a signal that discrimination lawsuits are happening with increased frequency. So, protect yourself today and learn the law. 




Wednesday, July 28, 2021

John Oliver Tackles Fair Housing - Newsday's Long Island Divided is on HBO

If you still don't understand that housing discrimination happens or if you are confused about the long term impacts of discrimination, you need to watch this great explanation of housing discrimination on HBO by John Oliver - it's a must watch for anyone who doesn't understand that housing discrimination from yesterday impacts lives today. 


Alternatively, here is The Lieb Cast tackling the same issue on our podcast back on January 31, 2021. 


Who does the topic better; Lieb or Oliver?


Shouldn't John have Lieb on his show?


What do you think?




Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Filing a Discrimination Complaint with the NYS Division of Human Rights Just Got Easier

As of July 16, 2021, discrimination victims need not have their discrimination complaints notarized before filing them with the NYS Division of Human Rights, per a change to Executive Law 297(1)


This applies to both victims of employment discrimination and housing discrimination.


According to the laws justification, the notarization requirement "discourage[d] people from filing complaints" and the Division nonetheless received over 6,000 complaints annually. 


How many complaints will the Division receive now? 


Do you think that this new law makes sense? 


Does it matter if a document is notarized? 


Shouldn't preventing discrimination be as easy as pie? 





Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Attention Landlords - Source of Income Discrimination Lawsuits are Coming as of 9/14/2021

On July 16, 2021, new Executive Law 170-e was signed into law and requires that all administrators of housing assistance (governmental / nonprofits) ensure that "individuals who have applied for and are eligible to receive such assistance, payment, subsidy or credit are informed, in writing, of their rights and remedies available under law, with regard to lawful source of income discrimination.”


The law is effective as of September 14, 2021 and that is an important deadline for landlords, brokers, and property managers to get up to speed on the rules to avoid source of income discrimination in their ranks.


To illustrate, a housing provider who requests a credit score from a voucher recipient could be discrimination, a housing provider who demands a minimum income from a voucher recipient could be discrimination, and a housing provider who makes receipt of a voucher a precondition to seeing units could be discriminating.


Do you have policies in place to avoid your team discriminating and subjecting you to a major lawsuit??


More so, those policies better include the forthcoming regulations that the State Division of Human Rights is going to promulgate to particularize this new law.


Are you ready? 






Monday, July 19, 2021

Attention Mom & Pop Landlords & Tenants - New Anti-Discrimination Law

Ever see a landlord renting the second unit in their two-family residence who posted a sign in the window stating "whites only," or what about a landlord asking a prospective tenant for their religious affiliation with the intention of refusing to rent to persons of a particular creed? 


Effective July 16, 2021, that is illegal in the State of New York. 


Previously there was an exemption to anti-discrimination laws that permitted this despicable behavior when a landlord was renting an owner-occupied two-family unit, known as Mrs. Murphy Law.


Now, under Executive Law 296, all property in this state is subject to the same law for discriminatory advertising - it is unlawful to print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any statement, advertisement or publication, or to use any form of application, or to make any record or inquiry which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, age, disability, marital status, or familial status, or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination.


Are you happy that New York State is increasing accessibility and equality for all; or, do you miss the good old days when you could be a miserable bigot? 




Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Increased Fair Housing Enforcement is Coming Per President

According to today's White House Press Release, "President Biden issued a memorandum directing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address discrimination in our housing market." 

In doing so, the President has charged the Secretary of HUD to lead an "interagency initiative to address inequity in home appraisals" while citing to a study that found "homes in majority-Black neighborhoods are often valued at tens of thousands of dollars less than comparable homes in similar—but majority-White—communities."

Next week, HUD is publishing a new disparate impact discrimination rule in the federal register to address neutral housing policies that have a discriminatory impact on marginalized groups. 

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? 



Thursday, May 27, 2021

Suing a Town for Discrimination? Case Says That You Better Notice Them Quickly or Your Case Will Be Dismissed

In a recent case of interest, Elco v. Aguiar (Supreme Court, Suffolk County), a town public safety dispatcher asserted that she was discriminated against by the town in her job when the town injected itself into her child custody dispute with another town police department employee. She alleged discrimination because of her gender/sex, disability, & familial status while also alleging that she was subject to a hostile work environment. 

Some specific factual allegations that she made of discrimination were as follows:
  1. Refusal to accept domestic incident reports concerning child custody or family court orders;
  2. Reassigned shifts; 
  3. Harassment or stalking campaign against her;
  4. Accusations levelled at her regarding her fitness as a mother;
  5. Denied opportunities of earning overtime;
  6. Denied an opportunity to participate in interviewing new hires & supervisees; &
  7. Failure to process her insurance buyback forms.
That being said, the town moved to dismiss on a technicality in arguing that its "municipal notice of claim requirement residing in Town Law §67, [requires] the filing of a notice of claim within three months after her claim arose []as a condition precedent to the maintenance of this action against the defendants."

The Court agreed and granted dismissal. 

Moving forward, town employees better file a notice of claim within three months of the alleged discrimination or they will be out of luck in bringing an employment discrimination lawsuit.

Do you think that it's fair that town employees have three months to file whereas private employees have three years to file the same employment discrimination lawsuits? 




Monday, February 08, 2021

Implicit Bias Discrimination Trainings in the Face of EO 13950 Restriction

Anti-discrimination trainings start with learning that we all have implicit biases. However, President Trump had blocked training this topic by Executive Order in many different situations. Well, the federal courts took none of that and have permitted implicit bias trainings again. Andrew Lieb provides an update in the Suffolk Lawyer, Law Journal.

Read the full published article HERE.



Wednesday, January 27, 2021

NYS Senate Report on Fair Housing - Changes Coming to RE Brokerage - Get Ready NOW

A 97 page report was just issued by the NYS Senate on persistent racial and ethnicity-related housing discrimination and this report is going to change the real estate brokerage industry in NYS forever. 


Are you ready? 


According to the report, housing discrimination has changed over the last hundred years from being overt to subvert. However, housing discrimination clearly still exists and something has to be done about it now. 


Would it surprise you to learn that in 2019 there were 28,880 reported complaints of housing discrimination in the USA? Again, twenty-eight thousand complaints!!!


Did you know that the precursor to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) required its members to discriminate as follows:

A Realtor should never be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood a character of property or occupancy, members of any race or nationality or individuals whose presence will clearly be detrimental to property values in that neighborhood. 

While this overt discrimination is less prevalent today, the report explains that: 

Today, bad actors often use subtler forms of discrimination; they direct homebuyers of different apparent backgrounds toward different communities, impose more stringent financial requirements on people of color, and provide unequal services to clients based upon their race or ethnicity.

[S]ome real estate agents utilize subtle ways to discriminate, like racially coded guidance and disparate treatment in services offered.


In acknowledging that real estate brokers and agents are the gatekeepers for neighborhoods, the report makes the following categories of recommendations:

  1. Develop a NYS Fair Housing Strategy
  2. More Proactive Enforcement of Fair Housing Laws (i.e., testing, more funding, & data collection)
  3. Licensing & Renewal Training Requirements (i.e., more training from better instructors for licensing & continuing education with a focus on implicit bias trainings)
  4. Increased Penalties & Broader Accountability (i.e., $2K fines increased from $1K & managers responsible like brokers with increased experience requirements to qualify)
  5. Standardized Broker Policies with Public (i.e., prospect identification, exclusive broker agreement requirements, & pre-approval for mortgages)
  6. Internal Brokerage Policies (i.e., brokerages need updated policy manuals with fair housing statements & explanations of the consequences for violations)
  7. State & Local Governments to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (i.e., enforcement is everyone's responsibility) 
  8. Brokers Must Open Offices in Communities of Color (i.e., 12 firms control 50% of listings, but only about 20% to 33% of the listings in minority communities)
  9. More Diverse Brokerage Workforce (i.e., NAR's members are 80% white; need Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiatives to attract talent to the industry) 
The report also suggests, that brokers fund these recommendations by charging between $10 & $30 for license renewal to the 130,578 real estate brokerage licensees in NYS.

Are you ready yet? 

There are eleven new pieces of legislation supported in this report and because our state has a one-party controlled government, they are likely going to pass quickly.

Brokers, Salespersons, and other industry participants, like landlords, property managers, and attorneys need to get ahead of this now and make proactive changes to their practices today. The alternative is defending the next wave of enforcement initiatives. 

In reminding everyone of this salient fact, the report quoted Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in saying:

There is very little truth in the old refrain that one cannot legislate equality. Laws not only provide concrete benefits, they can even change the hearts of men some men, anyhow for good or evil.

It's time to change from being part of the problem to being part of the solution. Are you ready?





Wednesday, December 23, 2020

NYS Proposes Regulations that Require Appraisers to Learn Fair Housing / Anti-Discrimination

On 12/23/2020, the NYS Department of State proposed mandating fair housing education as a condition of license renewal for appraisers and assistant appraisers.  


The proposed regulations would be at 19 NYCRR 1107.2(b), 19 NYCRR 1107.33(a), (b), and (c), and 19 NYCRR 1107.34. 


In substance, the regulations would require that every licensed or certified appraiser complete an approved course of study in Fair Housing and Fair Lending every two years with the following course topics: 

a) 7 Hour Introduction to Fair Housing and Fair Lending Instruction

b) 4 Hour Update on Fair Housing and Fair Lending Instruction


Now, we are in the public comment period until 02/21/2021. To make your comments, email the regulator at david.mossberg@dos.ny.gov


While we are very encouraged by increased fair housing and anti-discrimination trainings being required in NYS, we are concerned with how specific the subtopics of education are and how they offer no explanation as to what exactly the government is looking for within each subtopic. We are also concerned about how this requirement will impact federal government contractor appraisers who must follow Executive Order 13950 on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping and are therefore restricted on engaging in trainings on unconscious bias or implicit bias to the extent that "it teaches or implies that an individual, by virtue of his or her race, sex, and/or national origin, is racist, sexist, oppressive, or biased, whether consciously or unconsciously," per the US Department of Labor. We hope that these issues will be addressed before this regulation is finalized. 


To the specific subtopic requirements, under topic a), the subtopics are as follows:

(1) Fair housing, fair lending requirements, and the history of lending 2 hours

(a) What is fair housing?

(b) What is fair lending?

(c) Roadblocks to fair housing/lending

(d) Federal laws Civil Rights Act of 1866

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Fair Housing Act of 1968

Supreme Court

The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974

The Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988

Other legislation

- Community Reinvestment Act

- Equal Credit Opportunity Act

- Home Mortgage Disclosure Act

- Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act American Disabilities Act

(ADA)

(e) New York State Law - Executive Law includes the Civil Rights

Law of the State (NY Human Rights Law - Article 15)

- Additional protected classes; age and marital status

- Includes residential property, land commercial property and credit

transactions

(f) Local Regulations

(g) Exemptions and Exceptions

- Senior Citizen Housing

- Drug users and alcohol abusers

- Two family exemption

(h) USPAP/FIRREA

(i) Enforcement and Duties

-U.S. Department of Justice

-Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

-New York State Department of State, Division of Licensing

-New York State Division of Human Rights

-Administrative Law Judges

-Federal and State Courts

-Responsibilities of individual appraisers

(j) Penalties New York State Federal Government

(2) Development of appraisal (Standard 1 USPAP) 1.5 hours

(a) Bias and discrimination in the analysis in development

(b) Documentation of sources

(c) Secondary market guidelines Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD,

VA

(3) Reporting of appraisal results (Standard 2 USAP) 1.5 hour

(a) Bias and discrimination in the report

(b) Documentation of sources

(c) Secondary market guidelines Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD,

VA

(4) Case studies 2 hours

(a) Neighborhood issues

(b) Improvement issues

(c) External obsolescence

(d) Conscious and Unconscious bias


Under topic b), the subtopics are as follows:

(1) Fair housing, fair lending requirements, and the history of lending 1 hour

(a) What is fair housing?

(b) What is fair lending?

(c) Roadblocks to fair housing/lending

(d) Federal laws Civil Rights Act of 1866

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Fair Housing Act of 1968

Supreme Court

The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974

The Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988

Other legislation

- Community Reinvestment Act

- Equal Credit Opportunity Act

- Home Mortgage Disclosure Act

- Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act American Disabilities Act

(ADA)

(e) New York State Law - Executive Law includes the Civil Rights

Law of the State (NY Human Rights Law - Article 15)

- Additional protected classes; age and marital status

- Includes residential property, land commercial property and credit

transactions

(f) Local Regulations

(g) Exemptions and Exceptions

Senior Citizen Housing

Drug users and alcohol abusers

Two family exemption

(h) USPAP/FIRREA

(i) Enforcement and Duties

-U.S. Department of Justice

-Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

-New York State Department of State, Division of Licensing

-New York State Division of Human Rights

-Administrative Law Judges

-Federal and State Courts

-Responsibilities of individual appraisers

(j) Penalties New York State Federal Government

(2) Development of appraisal (Standard 1 USPAP) 1 hour

(a) Bias and discrimination in the analysis

(b) Documentation of sources

(c) Secondary market guidelines Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD,

VA

(3) Reporting of appraisal results (Standard 2 USAP) 1 hour

(a) Bias and discrimination in the report

(b) Documentation of sources

(c) Secondary market guidelines Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD,

VA

(4) Case studies 1 hour

(a) Neighborhood issues

(b) Improvement issues

(c) External obsolescence

(d) Conscious and Unconscious bias


 




Friday, December 11, 2020

NYS Human Rights Event on Discrimination & COVID-19

On Tuesday December 15, 2020 at 12:30PM, the NYS Division of Human Rights is hosting a virtual event about discrimination and COVID-19. 


The event will discuss "unjust targeting and attacks against Asian Americans, systemic health care disparities in Black and Brown communities, and the challenges, particularly in workplaces, for people with disabilities." 


As discrimination litigators and trainers we will be attending, will you?