Has the standard for discrimination claims truly changed for NYC employers and employees? The New York City Human Rights Law is significantly more lenient than both state and federal law


In 2005, New York City passed the Civil Rights Restoration Act amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). Given the language and legislative history of these amendments, many courts have since recognized that the burden on an employee to establish discrimination under the NYCHRL is significantly more lenient than under both federal and state law. In Williams v. New York City Housing Authority, for example, the NYCHRL was interpreted to require an independent and broader construction than its federal and state counterparts, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL).

The First Department went on to hold that in harassment cases, as in other terms and conditions cases, the burden on an employee is to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that she has been treated less well than other employees because of her protected status. The court then recognized an affirmative defense that the “conduct complained of consists of nothing more than what a reasonable victim of discrimination would consider ‘petty slights and trivial inconveniences.’” The Williams court granted the defendant summary judgment because it determined that the complained-of harassment—which consisted of a supervisor’s remark to the plaintiff when she requested shower facilities that “you can take a shower at my house,” coupled with a second incident in which the plaintiff witnessed sex-based remarks directed at another employee—were petty slights or trivial inconveniences.

Originally published in InsideCounsel on May 13, 2013.

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© JAMS | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


JAMS on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.