N.Y.: NYC Law Requires Detail on HRC’s Discrimination Investigations

By Rosemarie Lally Jun 9, 2015

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law legislation requiring the city’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) to report additional information related to its investigations of discrimination.

The legislation, Intro 421-A, was intended to strengthen the transparency of the Human Rights Commission in its efforts to enforce the Human Rights Law, which protects New Yorkers from discrimination.

The new law requires the commission to submit an annual report to the mayor by March 1 of each year, detailing the commission’s activities in the prior year. The new information required includes: inquiries received by the commission from the public; the number of complaints filed with the commission; the number of investigations initiated by the commission; the number of investigations that resulted in civil action; and education and outreach efforts undertaken by the commission.

The annual report will be published each March in the City Record.

Information regarding questions received from the public must include the total number of inquiries; the number of inquiries made by people with limited English proficiency, specifying their native language; the subject matter of inquiries broken out by the category of alleged unlawful discriminatory practice and the protected class of person; and the number of inquiries resolved by pre-complaint intervention.

The legislation also requires the report to include information on complaints filed with the commission, detailing the category of unlawful discriminatory practice alleged and the protected class of the complainant. The report must also state whether the complaint was resolved by mediation and conciliation, a determination of no probable cause, or a hearing. Additional required information includes the number of days the complaint was outstanding when it was resolved and whether a fine was imposed.

With regard to investigations initiated by the commission, the report must include: the total number of investigations initiated by the commission broken out by the category of alleged unlawful discriminatory practice and the protected class; the number of commission-initiated complaints filed after an investigation finding that a person or group of persons may be engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination; the number of investigations referred to the corporation counsel to pursue civil action; and the number of reports of investigations published to reduce discrimination.

The law will go into effect March 1, 2017.

Rosemarie Lally, J.D., is a freelance legal writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.

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