How to File a Discrimination Claim

Overview

Federal and New York State laws protect people from discrimination by employers and 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 retaliate against people because they:

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

What is Discrimination?

Under Federal & New York State laws, discrimination occurs when you are treated differently in a way that causes an adverse impact to you. It includes:

  • Unfair treatment because of your protected status (race, color, religion, sex, etc.)
  • Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in your workplace because of your protected characteristics.
  • Denial of a reasonable workplace change that you need because of your religious beliefs, disability, or domestic violence victim status.
  • Improper questions about or disclosure of your genetic information or medical information.
  • Retaliation because you complained about job discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination proceeding, such as an investigation or lawsuit.

For Department of Labor customers, discrimination may also occur based on:

  • Citizenship or status to work legally in the US (lawfully admitted immigrant)
  • Participation in any program or activity that receives "financial assistance" from the federal government under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (programs or services provided through our New York State Career Centers)

 

For information on Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act complaints, see the USDOL Civil Rights Center website.

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

Discrimination by Your Employer

File a complaint directly with the United States Department of Labor, Civil Rights Center to:

Director
Civil Rights Center (CRC) 
Attention:  Office of External Enforcement
US Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Room N-4123
Washington, DC 20210
Fax:  202-693-6505 (Attention: Office of External Enforcement)
Email:  [email protected]

 

Discrimination Complaints that do not Involve the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL):

If you have a discrimination complaint against your employer but you got your job on your own and without assistance from a New York State Career Center, you can file your complaint with:

  •  New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR)
     One Fordham Plaza, 4th Floor
    Bronx, NY 10458
    Phone:  1-888-392-3644
    TDD/TTY:  718-741-8300
    Email:  [email protected]
  • US Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
    131 M Street, NE
    NE Washington, D.C. 20507
    Phone: 1-800-669-4000
    TTY: 1-800-669-6820
    ASL Video Phone:  1-844-234-5122
    Website: www.eeoc.gov

Discrimination by NYSDOL

Discrimination Complaints Involving the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL):

If you have a discrimination complaint against your employer and you got your job through a NYSDOL referral from a New York State Career Center, OR you have a complaint against a NYSDOL program or service based on discrimination, you may:
File a complaint with the NYS DOL, Division of Equal Opportunity Development (DEOD) by completing the NYSDOL Complaint Form and mailing it to:

  • Division of Equal Opportunity Development
    Harriman State Office Campus, Building 12, Room 540
    Albany, NY 12226
    Phone:  (518) 457-1984
    TDD/TTY:  (800) 662-1220
    Email:  [email protected]

People with Disabilities may contact DEOD through the NYS Relay services:
NYC – dial 211
All other parts of New York State – dial 711

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 complaint 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

  • A statement clarifying that your representative is filing the complaint for you

  • Your signature and the date

 

Contact Information

For more assistance, you may contact the Division of Equal Opportunity Development at the address or phone number above. You may also contact the NYSDOL Contact Center at:

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

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

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