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New York Extends Discrimination Protections to Out-of-State Job Seekers

By Douglas Lipsky

In a landmark decision that broadens the scope of workplace equality, New York’s top court has set a precedent ensuring that the state’s anti-discrimination laws protect job seekers, regardless of their residency. The unanimous ruling is a significant step in the fight against workplace discrimination. 

The court held that New York City and state laws that prohibit discrimination extend their protection to individuals applying for jobs within New York, even if they reside elsewhere. This decision highlights New York’s commitment to maintaining an inclusive and equitable working environment for everyone.

Expanding New York’s Anti-Discrimination Laws

The case centered on Nafeesa Syeed, a journalist of South Asian descent, who alleged race and sex bias after being denied a job in New York while living in Washington, D.C. Four years after starting with Bloomberg in 2014, Syeed sought and was denied a post as a United Nations correspondent in New York.

According to Syeed, Bloomberg hired a less qualified male candidate because the position was not designated as a “diversity slot.” This rejection spurred a legal battle challenging the scope of New York’s anti-discrimination laws and questioning whether they applied to nonresident job applicants. 

The New York Court of Appeals answered with a resounding “yes,” stating that denying employment based on discriminatory reasons affects not only the individual but also the integrity and inclusiveness of New York’s workforce.

The Ruling

The appellate court expanded the reach of the state’s anti-discrimination laws, setting a new precedent for workplace equality. Here are the key points from the ruling:

  • New York City and state anti-discrimination laws now protect nonresident job seekers applying for positions in the state. 
  • Discriminatory employment practices affect the integrity and inclusiveness of New York’s workforce.

This decision reinforces New York’s commitment to ensuring a fair and unbiased job market, signaling a significant step forward in the fight against workplace discrimination.

Understanding Your Protections as a Job Seeker in New York

For job seekers, this ruling is a game-changer. New York’s anti-bias laws, known for their comprehensive protection against discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, and more, now unequivocally apply to all applicants vying for positions within the state, irrespective of where they currently live. This ensures that out-of-state applicants are evaluated on their merits and qualifications rather than prejudicial biases.

Key Takeaways and Action Steps

This ruling is not just a win for Syeed but a victory for all prospective employees looking to work in New York. It sends a clear message to employers to uphold fairness and equality in their hiring practices. For job seekers, this means that New York State and City law protect their rights the moment they apply for a position in the state. Should they face discrimination, it’s vital to know that they have legal recourse.

This is a critical reminder for employers to review and, if necessary, update hiring protocols to ensure compliance with New York’s anti-discrimination statutes. Ignorance of the law is no defense, and adherence promotes a more diverse and dynamic workforce.

Job Seekers Turn To Lipsky Lowe

The New York Court of Appeals reiterated the state’s dedication to fostering an inclusive work environment free from discrimination. This landmark ruling reinforces New York’s position as a leader in protecting workers’ rights and sets a new standard for employment equality across the country. 

At Lipsky Lowe LLP, we are committed to championing the rights of all employees and job seekers. We are well-versed in New York’s employment laws and dedicated to ensuring that justice prevails in the workplace. Contact us today if you believe you have been discriminated against in your job search or employment. Let us assess your situation, explore your options, and fight for your rights.

About the Author
Douglas Lipsky is a co-founding partner of Lipsky Lowe LLP. He has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, unpaid overtime, and unpaid tips. He also represents clients in complex wage and hour claims, including collective actions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and class actions under the laws of many different states. If you have questions about this article, contact Douglas today.