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New City Law Requires City Human Rights Commission To Send Out Discrimination “Testers”

The mayor recently signed legislation establishing a one-year testing program that will commence on or before October 1, 2015, requiring the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”) to utilize a process called “matched-pair testing” in which it sends out pairs of “testers” to apply for, inquire about, or express interest in the same job.  The testers will be assigned similar credentials, but will differ in one of the various “protected characteristics” (such as race, color, creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, marital or partnership status, criminal history, unemployment status, and status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sex offenses).


This bill directs the Commission not simply to use testers to investigate complaints of discrimination received from aggrieved applicants, but affirmatively to seek out discrimination where there is no existing complaint. Incidents of actual or perceived discrimination that occur during the investigations will be referred to the Commission’s law enforcement bureau.


Recommendations to prepare for this new Commission initiative include:

  • review existing application and hiring policies and practices;
  • retrain managers who have interviewing and hiring responsibilities;
  • eliminate any inappropriate interview questions that focus on protected characteristics; have counsel present on-site awareness programs for personnel with hiring responsibilities.
  • scrutinize job advertisements to ensure they are gender-neutral; and
  • have counsel present on-site awareness programs for personnel with hiring responsibilities