Workplace Rights in Rochester, New York (Part 1 of 3)
New York State has the distinction of being the first state in the nation to enact a Human Rights Law. In doing so, New York also became the first state to establish a permanent agency to enforce such legislation. This law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, credit, places of public accommodations, and non-sectarian educational institutions, based on age, race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, military status, and other specified classes.
How do I File a Workplace Claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights in Rochester, New York?
You may file a state claim of workplace discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation up to one year after the most recent alleged incident occurred by contacting the New York State Division of Human Rights and explaining your case.
How do I contact the New York State Division of Human Rights in Rochester, New York?
The New York State Division of Human Rights has an office in Rochester, New York located at
One Monroe Square,
259 Monroe Ave., Suite 308
Rochester, New York 14607
You can call the Rochester, New York office at (585) 238-8250, visit their website: http://www.dhr.ny.gov/
You can also email the Rochester, New York Office at: InfoRochester@dhr.ny.gov
What If I Do Not Speak Fluent English?
The New York State Division of Human Right provides free languages service by calling1-888-392-3644.
What If I Have Problems Accessing Documents?
Division of Human Rights’ documents are available in alternative format upon request. Complaint forms in Braille are also available upon request. If you have any problems accessing the documents published on this website or any other questions regarding accessibility, or need for reasonable accommodation please contact the NYS Division of Human Rights ADA Coordinator:
Director, Disability Rights
NYS Division of Human Rights
One Fordham Plaza, Fourth Floor
Bronx, NY 10458
Who Do I File My New York State Division of Human Rights Against?
You may file a claim against your employer if it was aware of the discrimination but did nothing about it, or if it actively participated in the discrimination, harassment or retaliation against you. Additionally, you may bring claims against individual co-workers who subjected you to the discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation.
When I File a Claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights, What is Expected of Me?
It is expected that you have all the names, titles, addresses, and phone numbers of the persons who you feel have discriminated, harassed and retaliated against you. Also, provide any documentation of such discrimination, harassment and retaliation and, if possible, any information on witnesses or individuals who might be able to provide evidence of your discrimination claim.
How Long Will the Process Take?
After filing a claim with the Division, it will attempt to negotiate or reconcile with your employer within 180 days. Unfortunately, the process of filing a claim and being awarded the damages you feel you are entitled to is not always an easy or quick process.
Do I Need an Attorney?
It is not necessary to hire an attorney if you file a claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights. However, you may hire an attorney outside of the Division should you choose to do so.
Where Do I Find an Attorney?
It is not necessary to contact a lawyer if you choose to file a claim through the New York State Division of Human Rights. However, if you would like to seek outside legal help, the Division may be able to locate a lawyer for you.
Who Will Investigate My Complaint?
If you choose to file with the Division, an investigator will respond to your claim by performing fact-finding measures. The investigator will use the evidence gathered in the investigation to determine whether there is appropriate jurisdiction and sufficient probable cause to continue with your claim.
What Happens After I File My Complaint?
After the filing of your complaint, the Division will promptly serve a copy on the employer and all persons it deems to be necessary parties and make prompt investigation in connection to the complaint. The Division will determine whether it has jurisdiction and, if so, whether there is probable cause to believe that the employer has engaged in or is engaging in an unlawful discriminatory practice.
What Happens if the Investigators Determine that No Probable Cause Exists?
If the Division finds no probable cause on your claim, it only means that it will not assist you with your claim. By no means are you barred from bringing a claim against your employer, but you must seek outside assistance. If you feel like you have been harassed or discriminated against at work but the Division believes otherwise, don't be discouraged. Contact a lawyer familiar with employment law and explain your case to him or her. You may appeal to the State Supreme Court within 60 days after a finding of no probable cause by the Division.
What happens if the investigator determines that "reasonable" or "probable" cause exists on which to base a claim?
If probable cause is found, the Division will notify you and the employer of the time and place of a public hearing. A successful conciliation or public hearing between you and the employer can serve as the means through which you may be entitled to relief (compensatory damages, back pay, front pay, reinstatement). If the administrative law judge finds that discrimination occurred, the employer will most likely also be required to stop its discriminatory behavior.
Can I File a Federal Claim of Employment Discrimination as Well?
At your request, and assuming you meet the minimum requirements of federal coverage (i.e. your employer employs at least fifteen employees), the Division will send the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) a copy of your complaint. By notifying the EEOC of the alleged discrimination, you are entitled to bring a federal claim of employment discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. vTo qualify for federal protection under Title VII, your employer must have at least 15 employees, compared to 4 under New York law.