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Legal Statutes: New York

UPDATED August 17, 2016

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Article 15. Human Rights Law

back to topSec. 292. Definitions

When used in this article:

1. The term “person” includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, or receivers.

2. The term “employment agency” includes any person undertaking to procure employees or opportunities to work.

3. The term “labor organization” includes any organization which exists and is constituted for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms or conditions of employment, or of other mutual aid or protection in connection with employment.

4. The term “unlawful discriminatory practice” includes only those practices specified in sections two hundred ninety-six, two hundred ninety-six-a and two hundred ninety-six-c of this article.

5. The term “employer” does not include any employer with fewer than four persons in his or her employ except as set forth in section two hundred ninety-six-b of this article, provided, however, that in the case of an action for discrimination based on sex pursuant to subdivision one of section two hundred ninety-six of this article, with respect to sexual harassment only, the term “employer” shall include all employers within the state.

6. The term “employee” in this article does not include any individual employed by his or her parents, spouse or child, or in the domestic service of any person except as set forth in section two hundred ninety-six-b of this title.

7. The term “commissioner”, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, means the state commissioner of human rights; and the term “division” means the state division of human rights created by this article.

8. The term “national origin” shall, for the purposes of this article, include “ancestry.”

9. The term “place of public accommodation, resort or amusement” shall include, regardless of whether the owner or operator of such place is a state or local government entity or a private individual or entity, except as hereinafter specified, all places included in the meaning of such terms as: inns, taverns, road houses, hotels, motels, whether conducted for the entertainment of transient guests or for the accommodation of those seeking health, recreation or rest, or restaurants, or eating houses, or any place where food is sold for consumption on the premises; buffets, saloons, barrooms, or any store, park or enclosure where spirituous or malt liquors are sold; ice cream parlors, confectionaries, soda fountains, and all stores where ice cream, ice and fruit preparations or their derivatives, or where beverages of any kind are retailed for consumption on the premises; wholesale and retail stores and establishments dealing with goods or services of any kind, dispensaries, clinics, hospitals, bath-houses, swimming pools, laundries and all other cleaning establishments, barber shops, beauty parlors, theatres, motion picture houses, airdromes, roof gardens, music halls, race courses, skating rinks, amusement and recreation parks, trailer camps, resort camps, fairs, bowling alleys, golf courses, gymnasiums, shooting galleries, billiard and pool parlors; garages, all public conveyances operated on land or water or in the air, as well as the stations and terminals thereof; travel or tour advisory services, agencies or bureaus; public halls, public rooms, public elevators, and any public areas of any building or structure. Such term shall not include kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, high schools, academies, colleges and universities, extension courses, and all educational institutions under the supervision of the regents of the state of New York; any such kindergarten, primary and secondary school, academy, college, university, professional school, extension course or other education facility, supported in whole or in part by public funds or by contributions solicited from the general public; or any institution, club or place of accommodation which proves that it is in its nature distinctly private. In no event shall an institution, club or place of accommodation be considered in its nature distinctly private if it has more than one hundred members, provides regular meal service and regularly receives payment for dues, fees, use of space, facilities, services, meals or beverages directly or indirectly from or on behalf of a nonmember for the furtherance of trade or business. An institution, club, or place of accommodation which is not deemed distinctly private pursuant to this subdivision may nevertheless apply such selective criteria as it chooses in the use of its facilities, in evaluating applicants for membership and in the conduct of its activities, so long as such selective criteria do not constitute discriminatory practices under this article or any other provision of law. For the purposes of this section, a corporation incorporated under the benevolent orders law or described in the benevolent orders law but formed under any other law of this state or a religious corporation incorporated under the education law or the religious corporations law shall be deemed to be in its nature distinctly private.

No institution, club, organization or place of accommodation which sponsors or conducts any amateur athletic contest or sparring exhibition and advertises or bills such contest or exhibition as a New York state championship contest or uses the words “New York state” in its announcements shall be deemed a private exhibition within the meaning of this section.

10. The term “housing accommodation” includes any building, structure, or portion thereof which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings.

11. The term “publicly-assisted housing accommodations” shall include all housing accommodations within the state of New York in

(a) public housing,

(b) housing operated by housing companies under the supervision of the commissioner of housing,

(c) housing constructed after July first, nineteen hundred fifty, within the state of New York

(1) which is exempt in whole or in part from taxes levied by the state or any of its political subdivisions,

(2) which is constructed on land sold below cost by the state or any of its political subdivisions or any agency thereof, pursuant to the federal housing act of nineteen hundred forty-nine,

(3) which is constructed in whole or in part on property acquired or assembled by the state or any of its political subdivisions or any agency thereof through the power of condemnation or otherwise for the purpose of such construction, or

(4) for the acquisition, construction, repair or maintenance of which the state or any of its political subdivisions or any agency thereof supplies funds or other financial assistance,

(d) housing which is located in a multiple dwelling, the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of which is, after July first, nineteen hundred fifty-five, financed in whole or in part by a loan, whether or not secured by a mortgage, the repayment of which is guaranteed or insured by the federal government or any agency thereof, or the state or any of its political subdivisions or any agency thereof, provided that such a housing accommodation shall be deemed to be publicly assisted only during the life of such loan and such guaranty or insurance; and

(e) housing which is offered for sale by a person who owns or otherwise controls the sale of ten or more housing accommodations located on land that is contiguous (exclusive of public streets), if (1) the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of such housing accommodations is, after July first, nineteen hundred fifty-five, financed in whole or in part by a loan, whether or not secured by a mortgage, the repayment of which is guaranteed or insured by the federal government or any agency thereof, or the state or any of its political subdivisions or any agency thereof, provided that such a housing accommodation shall be deemed to be publicly assisted only during the life of such loan and guaranty or insurance, or (2) a commitment, issued by a government agency after July first, nineteen hundred fifty-five, is outstanding that acquisition of such housing accommodations may be financed in whole or in part by a loan, whether or not secured by a mortgage, the repayment of which is guaranteed or insured by the federal government or any agency thereof, or the state or any of its political subdivisions or any agency thereof.

12. The term “multiple dwelling”, as herein used, means a dwelling which is occupied, as a rule, for permanent residence purposes and which is either sold, rented, leased, let or hired out, to be occupied as the residence or home of three or more families living independently of each other. A “multiple dwelling” shall not be deemed to include a hospital, convent, monastery, asylum or public institution, or a fireproof building used wholly for commercial purposes except for not more than one janitor's apartment and not more than one penthouse occupied by not more than two families. The term “family,” as used herein, means either a person occupying a dwelling and maintaining a household, with not more than four boarders, roomers or lodgers, or two or more persons occupying a dwelling, living together and maintaining a common household, with not more than four boarders, roomers or lodgers. A “boarder,” “roomer” or “lodger” residing with a family means a person living within the household who pays a consideration for such residence and does not occupy such space within the household as an incident of employment therein. Within the context of this definition, the terms “multiple dwelling” and “multi-family dwelling” are interchangeable.

13. The term “commercial space” means any space in a building, structure, or portion thereof which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied for the manufacture, sale, resale, processing, reprocessing, displaying, storing, handling, garaging or distribution of personal property; and any space which is used or occupied, or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied as a separate business or professional unit or office in any building, structure or portion thereof.

14. The term “real estate broker” means any person, firm or corporation who, for another and for a fee, commission or other valuable consideration, lists for sale, sells, at auction or otherwise, exchanges, buys or rents, or offers or attempts to negotiate a sale, at auction or otherwise, exchange, purchase or rental of an estate or interest in real estate, or collects or offers or attempts to collect rent for the use of real estate, or negotiates, or offers or attempts to negotiate, a loan secured or to be secured by a mortgage or other incumbrance upon or transfer of real estate. In the sale of lots pursuant to the provisions of article nine-a of the real property law, the term “real estate broker” shall also include any person, partnership, association or corporation employed by or on behalf of the owner or owners of lots or other parcels of real estate, at a stated salary, or upon a commission, or upon a salary and commission, or otherwise, to sell such real estate, or any parts thereof, in lots or other parcels, and who shall sell or exchange, or offer or attempt or agree to negotiate the sale or exchange, of any such lot or parcel of real estate.

15. The term “real estate salesperson” means a person employed by a licensed real estate broker to list for sale, sell or offer for sale, at auction or otherwise, to buy or offer to buy or to negotiate the purchase or sale or exchange of real estate, or to negotiate a loan on real estate, or to lease or rent or offer to lease, rent or place for rent any real estate, or who collects or offers or attempts to collect rent for the use of real estate for or in behalf of such real estate broker.

16. The term “necessary party” means any person who has such an interest in the subject matter of a proceeding under this article, or whose rights are so involved, that no complete and effective disposition can be made without his or her participation in the proceeding.

17. The term “parties to the proceeding” means the complainant, respondent, necessary parties and persons permitted to intervene as parties in a proceeding with respect to a complaint filed under this article.

18. The term “hearing examiner” means an employee of the division who shall be assigned for stated periods to no other work than the conduct of hearings under this article;

19. The term “discrimination” shall include segregation and separation.

20. The term “credit”, when used in this article means the right conferred upon a person by a creditor to incur debt and defer its payment, whether or not any interest or finance charge is made for the exercise of this right.

21. The term “disability” means (a) a physical, mental or medical impairment resulting from anatomical, physiological, genetic or neurological conditions which prevents the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques or (b) a record of such an impairment or (c) a condition regarded by others as such an impairment, provided, however, that in all provisions of this article dealing with employment, the term shall be limited to disabilities which, upon the provision of reasonable accommodations, do not prevent the complainant from performing in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held.

21-a. “Predisposing genetic characteristic” shall mean any inherited gene or chromosome, or alteration thereof, and determined by a genetic test or inferred from information derived from an individual or family member that is scientifically or medically believed to predispose an individual or the offspring of that individual to a disease or disability, or to be associated with a statistically significant increased risk of development of a physical or mental disease or disability.

21-b. “Genetic test” shall mean a test for determining the presence or absence of an inherited genetic characteristic in an individual, including tests of nucleic acids such as DNA, RNA and mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins in order to identify a predisposing genetic characteristic.

21-c, 21-d. Repealed.

21-e. The term “reasonable accommodation” means actions taken which permit an employee, prospective employee or member with a disability, or a pregnancy-related condition, to perform in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held and include, but are not limited to, provision of an accessible worksite, acquisition or modification of equipment, support services for persons with impaired hearing or vision, job restructuring and modified work schedules; provided, however, that such actions do not impose an undue hardship on the business, program or enterprise of the entity from which action is requested.

21-f. The term “pregnancy-related condition” means a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth that inhibits the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques; provided, however, that in all provisions of this article dealing with employment, the term shall be limited to conditions which, upon the provision of reasonable accommodations, do not prevent the complainant from performing in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held; and provided further, however, that pregnancy-related conditions shall be treated as temporary disabilities for the purposes of this article.

22. The term “creditor”, when used in this article, means any person or financial institution which does business in this state and which extends credit or arranges for the extension of credit by others. The term creditor includes, but is not limited to, banks and trust companies, private bankers, foreign banking corporations and national banks, savings banks, licensed lenders, savings and loan associations, credit unions, sales finance companies, insurance premium finance agencies, insurers, credit card issuers, mortgage brokers, mortgage companies, mortgage insurance corporations, wholesale and retail merchants and factors.

23. The term “credit reporting bureau”, when used in this article, means any person doing business in this state who regularly makes credit reports, as such term is defined by subdivision e of section three hundred seventy-one of the general business law.1

24. The term “regulated creditor”, when used in this article, means any creditor, as herein defined, which has received its charter, license, or organization certificate, as the case may be, from the department of financial services or which is otherwise subject to the supervision of the department of financial services.

25. The term “superintendent”, when used in this article, means the head of the department of financial services appointed pursuant to section two hundred two of the financial services law.

26. The term “familial status”, when used in this article, means:

(a) any person who is pregnant or has a child or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of eighteen years, or

(b) one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of eighteen years) being domiciled with:

(1) a parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals, or

(2) the designee of such parent.

27. The term “sexual orientation” means heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived. However, nothing contained herein shall be construed to protect conduct otherwise proscribed by law.

28. The term “military status” when used in this article means a person's participation in the military service of the United States or the military service of the state, including but not limited to, the armed forces of the United States, the army national guard, the air national guard, the New York naval militia, the New York guard, and such additional forces as may be created by the federal or state government as authorized by law.

29. The term “reserve armed forces”, when used in this article, means service other than permanent, full-time service in the military forces of the United States including but not limited to service in the United States Army Reserve, the United States Naval Reserve, the United States Marine Corps Reserve, the United States Air Force Reserve, or the United States Coast Guard Reserve.

30. The term “organized militia of the state”, when used in this article, means service other than permanent, full-time service in the military forces of the state of New York including but not limited to the New York army national guard, the New York air national guard, the New York naval militia and the New York guard.

31. Repealed by L.2015, c. 141, § 1, eff. Aug. 13, 2015, deemed eff. Dec. 29, 2014.

32, 33. Repealed by L.2014, c. 536, § 1, eff. Dec. 29, 2014.

34. The term “domestic violence victim”, when used in this article, means an individual who is a victim of an act which would constitute a family offense pursuant to subdivision one of section eight hundred twelve of the family court act.

(L.1951, c. 800. Amended L.1952, c. 284, § 1; L.1952, c. 285, §§ 3, 4; L.1955, c. 340, § 2; L.1956, c. 563, §§ 1, 2; L.1960, c. 779; L.1961, c. 414, §§ 2, 3; L.1962, c. 165, § 1; L.1962, c. 370; L.1963, c. 481, § 1; L.1965, c. 851, § 2; L.1968, c. 958, § 3; L.1969, c. 359, §§ 3, 4; L.1969, c. 388; L.1974, c. 173, §§ 3, 4; L.1974, c. 565, § 1; L.1974, c. 988, § 1; L.1976, c. 632, § 1; L.1979, c. 594, § 1; L.1983, c. 902, § 1; L.1991, c. 368, § 2; L.1994, c. 262, § 1; L.1996, c. 204, §§ 2, 3; L.1997, c. 269, §§ 1, 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1998;L.1999, c. 405, pt. D, § 1, eff. Aug. 6, 1999; L.2000, c. 166, §§ 1 to 6, eff. July 18, 2000; L.2002, c. 2, § 3, eff. Jan. 16, 2003;L.2003, c. 106, § 11, eff. July 1, 2003; L.2005, c. 75, § 1, eff. Aug. 29, 2005; L.2007, c. 133, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2007; L.2009, c. 80, § 2, eff. July 7, 2009; L.2010, c. 481, § 4, eff. Nov. 29, 2010; L.2011, c. 62, pt. A, § 104, eff. Oct. 3, 2011; L.2012, c. 155, § 51, eff. July 18, 2012; L.2014, c. 97, § 2, eff. July 22, 2014; L.2014, c. 536, § 1, eff. Dec. 29, 2014; L.2015, c. 89, § 1, eff. Nov. 22, 2015;L.2015, c. 141, § 1, eff. Aug. 13, 2015, deemed eff. Dec. 29, 2014; L.2015, c. 363, § 1, eff. Jan. 19, 2016; L.2015, c. 369, § 1, eff. Jan. 19, 2016.)