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Legal Update - September 2019 Newsletter

David Lloyd - Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on sweeping changes in New York State to 1) Human Rights Law and 2) Landlord-Tenant Law

Expansive Amendments to NYS Human Rights Law
Earlier this year and again this month, Governor Cuomo signed into law a vast array of changes to the New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL") designed to expand protections for employees against discrimination. The overall goal of the updates is to bring the NYSHRL in line with the more progressive New York City Human Rights Law, directing courts to take a more liberal and broad interpretation of the NYSHRL and lowering the standard of proof for establishing a claim for discrimination or harassment. The statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims was increased from 1 to 3 years and employers are now restricted in their ability to include confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements with employees over sexual harassment claims without the employee's consent. Additionally, under the updated NYSHRL, claimants will be able to recover punitive damages and an award of attorneys' fees against private employers. Finally, non-employees will be able to recover against companies they provide services to for any form of discrimination. Employers should consult with counsel to ensure their policies and procedures are in line with the myriad of changes and employees should learn more about their new protections under state law.


Sea Change In Landlord-Tenant Law
This past June, state lawmakers passed legislation that radically changed a multitude of laws in an effort to provide greater security and protection for tenants. The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) not only made rent regulation permanent (the old statute was set to expire), but it also severely limited the ways in which and the amounts that landlord could increase regulated rents. Previously, where the legal rent for a regulated apartment exceeded a certain threshold, landlords could remove the apartment form regulation; this is no longer the case as the "high-rent vacancy" deregulation provision has been eliminated. Additionally, where tenants are receiving "preferential rents" (rents that are lower than the maximum a landlord could legally charge), tenants will now be entitled to pay a preferential rent for the duration of their tenancy, subject to lawful increases. Previously, landlords could raise the rent back up to the legal maximum any time the lease was renewed.


Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.

 

 

 

New York City Commission on Human Rights Announces Huge Increase in Discrimination Awards in 2015

Erin Lloyd - Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The New York City Human Rights Law applies to most employees working in the five boroughs, and it expands the anti-discrimination protections found in New York State and Federal law. Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, newly appointed Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis, and the current City Council, the New York City Commission on Human Rights—the agency responsible for enforcement and implementation of that law—has stepped up its efforts, and the results are beginning to become clear.

The Commission recently announced that it doubled the average amount collected in damages and civil penalties assessed in employment discrimination claims filed with it, collecting nearly $1.4 million in 2015 alone.

The work of the agency has also increased, with 755 investigations opened in 2015, a 20 percent increase from the prior year. Of those investigations, disability-related complaints comprised the highest proportion of complaints filed, at 31 percent, followed by race-related complaints at 20 percent, and gender-related complaints at 18 percent. National origin discrimination complaints accounted for 15 percent of the complaints filed in 2015.

The New York City Human Rights Law also prohibits discrimination in housing against individuals receiving government assistance with their rent, and complaints of this nature made up 11 percent of the Commission’s cases last year. According to the Commission, their investigations of these types of complaints quadrupled in 2015, from 23 investigations in 2014 to 86 in 2015.

The Commission was able to resolve more than 100 of their cases by settlement or agreement, rather than trial, including both employment and housing complaints, but that leaves a substantial number of investigations that resulted in or are still waiting for trial with the Commission.

Claims that fall under the New York City Human Rights Law can be either filed in court or filed with the Commission, but once a claim is filed in either venue, a plaintiff cannot change his or her mind and file it in the other venue. For that reasons, and many other reasons, consulting with an attorney prior to filing any claims is important. Our attorneys represent employees in a wide variety of employment matters and would be happy to schedule a consultation to discuss your particular situation.

For more information, contact us here

 

Legal Update - February 2016 Newsletter

Yogi Patel - Monday, February 08, 2016

 

Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on: (1) Updates and developments under New York State Human Rights Law and guidelines issued by the New York City Commission on Human Rights and (2) recent developments at Lloyd Patel LLP.


New York State Human Rights Law Developments
Employers and employees are advised that several new protections for employees under New York State Human Rights Law passed by the State Assembly last year went into effect on January 19, 2016.

One amendment expands on existing prohibitions against paying women less than their male colleagues for performing similar work and clarified what criteria would be appropriate for differential in pay not based on gender/sex. The same amendment also made it easier for women to find out of they are being paid equally and protects them from retaliation for sharing wage information with other employees. Additionally, New York State Human Rights Law now requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees in the form of schedule adjustments or alterations in job duties. Other amendments prohibit discrimination against employees based on their familial status (specifically against single mothers); allow victims of employment and/or credit discrimination based on sex/gender to recover attorney's fees when they file claims; and expand protections to all employees, including those previously exempt, against sexual harassment.

The Assembly also made two amendments to New York State Human Rights Law unrelated to employment. One such amendment protects individuals against discrimination and eviction based on their status as domestic violence victims. Another amendment augmented the state's human trafficking laws by increasing the penalties for traffickers, providing training to law enforcement officers, and allowing trafficking victims to sue for damages, including attorney's fees. Individuals and employees should familiarize themselves with these new developments to ensure that they know their rights and that all parties are in compliance with New York State Human Rights Law.

New York City Commission on Human Rights
Employers and Employees are advised that the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued legal enforcement guidelines on the protections against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on gender identity and expression under New York City Human Rights Law. The guidelines rebuke acts and omissions that intentionally refuse to use an individual's preferred pronoun or title; require that individuals be allowed to use whatever bathroom is consistent with their expressed gender; and prohibit the imposition of uniforms or grooming standards based on sex or gender. The Commission's mandate includes other protections, including health care-related protections for transgendered people, it makes clear that the guidelines are a floor, not a ceiling, and that there is an overall intent to prohibit any form of gender identity-based discrimination.

Employers are advised to analyze and implement their policies and procedures accordingly.

Development at Lloyd Patel LLP
We are pleased to announce the re-location of our main office to 65 Broadway, 7th Floor. New York, NY 10006.
And we are also excited to announce expansion plans and the opening of a satellite office in Long Island City, which we anticipate to be operational by March 1, 2016. Additional details will be forthcoming on Facebook, here on our website and next months's newsletter.

Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.

 


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