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Under the New York Human Rights Law (NYHRL), it’s illegal to subject people to differential treatment based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics or marital status.

The law prohibits discrimination in employment and access to places of public accommodation. Employers may not discriminate against any member of the protected classes listed above in hiring/firing decisions, compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

The law is New York’s version of the federal Civil Rights Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Equal Pay Act and the ADA all rolled into one. While those federal laws cover employers with 15 or more employees, the state law covers employers with as few as four employees. Further, unlike the ADEA, it protects all workers over age 18 from discrimination, not just those over 40.

As under the federal ADA, the NYHRL requires every place of public accommodation to make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices or procedures to ensure access for people with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations may include providing auxiliary aides and making physical changes to ensure paths of travel.

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Excerpted from New York's 10 Most Critical Employment Laws, a special bonus report available to subscribers of HR Specialist: New York Employment Law

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