NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed into law an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) adding current or prior service in the uniformed services as a protected class under the law.  The amendment will take effect on November 19, 2017.

As we previously reported, the bill gives veterans and active military personnel protection against discrimination in employment, as well as in public accommodations, housing and lending.  The bill defines “uniformed service” as including current or prior service in the:

  • United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard (including the Reserves);
  • Army or Air National Guard;
  • Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Services;
  • organized militia of the state of New York or any other state, territory or possession of the United States; and
  • any other service designated as part of the “uniformed services” under federal law.

Employers, employment agencies and labor organizations will be prohibited from discriminating against any person on the basis of his or her current or past uniformed service by:

  • representing that employment or a position is not available when it is in fact available;
  • refusing to hire or employ or barring or discharging such person from employment or labor organization membership; or
  • discriminating against such person in compensation or in the terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

The amendment further provides that it would not be an unlawful discriminatory practice to afford a preference or privilege based on uniformed service in employment, housing, lending or public accommodation.

Employers should be aware that current servicemembers and veterans are also protected from discrimination under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), as well as the New York State Human Rights Law. And while this amendment to the NYCHRL does not address accommodations for servicemembers, both USERRA and state law provide for certain leave, benefit maintenance and reinstatement rights in connection with military service.

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Photo of Evandro Gigante Evandro Gigante

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of…

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, defamation and breach of contract. Evandro also counsels employers through reductions-in-force and advises clients on restrictive covenant issues, such as confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicit agreements.

With a focus on discrimination and harassment matters, Evandro has extensive experience representing clients before federal and state courts. He has tried cases in court and before arbitrators and routinely represents clients before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as state and local human rights commissions.

Photo of Laura Fant Laura Fant

Laura Fant is a special employment law counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-administrative leader of the Counseling, Training & Pay Equity Practice Group. Her practice is dedicated to providing clients with practical solutions to common (and uncommon) employment concerns…

Laura Fant is a special employment law counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-administrative leader of the Counseling, Training & Pay Equity Practice Group. Her practice is dedicated to providing clients with practical solutions to common (and uncommon) employment concerns, with a focus on legal compliance, risk management and mitigation strategies, and workplace culture considerations.

Laura regularly counsels clients across numerous industries on a wide variety of employment matters involving recruitment and hiring, employee leave and reasonable accommodation issues, performance management, and termination of employment . She also advises on preparing, implementing and enforcing employment and separation agreements, employee handbooks and company policies, as well as provides training on topics including discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Laura is a frequent contributor to Proskauer’s Law and the Workplace blog and The Proskauer Brief podcast.