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How to File a Discrimination Claim

Discrimination is Against the Law!

Federal and New York State laws protect people from discrimination by:

  • Employers
  • State agencies that provide services to you

These laws make it illegal to discriminate against a person or a group of people, as a job applicant or as an employee.

It is also illegal to discriminate against people because they:

  • Filed a discrimination complaint
  • Participated in an investigation or lawsuit

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination means to act based on a preference or prejudice.

Under Federal & New York State laws, discrimination occurs when you are treated differently in a way that causes an adverse impact to you, based on your: race, gender, age, disability, religion, national origin, political, affiliation or belief, genetics, arrest and conviction record, marital status, genetic, predisposition and carrier status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or retaliation.

For Labor Department customers this also includes the following categories of discrimination:

  • Citizenship or status to work legally in the US (lawfully admitted immigrant)
  • Being part of any program that gets a certain "financial assistance" from the Federal government under the Workforce Investment Act (programs or services provided through our New York State Career Centers)

For details, see the USDOL Civil Rights Center website.

For Example:

  • You are not hired or promoted, due to one of the factors listed above
  • You were denied or delayed services, due to one of these

For details about the types of discrimination you may have encountered, see the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website.

You may file a discrimination complaint if you think:

  • A program of this business, organization, or office has discriminated against you or against any specific group of people
  • The type of discrimination you think happened is listed above

Know Your Rights: "Equal Opportunuity is the Law"

We offer the "Equal Opportunity is the Law" Poster in:

For discrimination by your Employer

If you got your job through a NYS Department of Labor (DOL) referral from a New York State Career Center:

  • Contact the NYS DOL, Division of Equal Opportunity Development. (See Contact Information)

If you did not get your job through a NYS Department of Labor referral:

  • Contact the following agencies:
    • The New York State Division of Human Rights
      One Fordham Plaza 4th Floor
      Bronx, New York 10458
      Phone: (718) 741-8400
      TDD: 1-718-741-8300
      Website: www.dhr.state.ny.us
    • US Equal Opportunity Commission
      131 M Street
      NE Washington, D.C. 20507
      Phone: 1-800-669-4000
      TYY: 1-800-669-6820
      Website: www.eeoc.gov

For discrimination by the Labor Department

If you have a complaint against a NYS Department of Labor program or a service provided by a New York State Career Center, you have two choices. You may:

  • File your complaint through the NYS Dept. of Labor, Division of Equal Opportunity Development
  • Go directly to the US Department of Labor Civil Rights Center.
You must file your complaint in writing.

What Should Your Discrimination Complaint Contain?

  • Your name, address and phone number
  • If you are filing a complaint for someone else, include that person's name, address and phone number
  • The name and address of the agency or person you believe discriminated against you
  • How, why and when you (or the person on whose behalf you are filing the complaint) believe the discrimination took place
  • The types of discrimination you think are involved in the case (for example, race, sex, disability, age)
  • The names of any people who were involved in the discrimination, including any witnesses
  • You must also explain what happened, and why you think discrimination took place
  • Your signature and or your representative's signature and the date (month,day,year)
  • Any other information that would help us understand your complaint

Is there a time limit for filing a complaint?

Yes. You must file discrimination complaints within 180 days of the day on which the discrimination took place.

Do I have to file the complaint myself?

You may file the complaint through a "representative." Your representative may be:

  • A lawyer
  • A family member
  • A social worker
  • A union steward
  • Anyone else you choose to file the complaint for you

If a representative files your complaint for you, it must include these three things:

  • Your representative's name
  • That your representative is filing the complaint for you
  • Your signature and the date

Do I need to use a special form to file the discrimination complaint?

You do not have to use a special form to start the process. We just need to make sure you send all of the information on the list above in the "What should the complaint include?" You may also contact the Division of Equal Opportunity Development who will assist you in obtaining a form

Contact Information for NYSDOL, Division of Equal Opportunity Development Offices:

The NYSDOL Contact Center will direct you to the appropriate office to file your complaint. For assistance, you can contact:

  • (518) 457-9000
  • (888) 4-NYS DOL (888-469-7365)
  • (800) 662-1220 (TTY/TTD)

People with Disabilities may contact NYSDOL DEOD offices through the NYS Relay services:

  • NYC - dial 211
  • All other parts of New York State - dial 711

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