The number of discrimination lawsuits filed by New York City employees rose during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s first two terms, according to The New York Times.
During Bloomberg’s first two terms as mayor, the number of lawsuits by employees accusing the city of discrimination was 12 percent higher than the number during Rudolph W. Giuliani’s two terms as mayor, according to government data furnished to The New York Times under Freedom of Information Law requests.
Under Bloomberg, “the city settled over 400 employee discrimination cases for more than $69 million.” One city employee even got two different discrimination settlements out of the city.
David Perecman understands that the Bloomberg administration paid many settlements on discrimination claims, rather than letting the cases to go to trial.
The discrimination claims came from employees in a wide range of departments and reflected a diverse array of alleged civil rights violations: in one six-week period from December 2008 to January 2009, the city paid $225,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim from a secretary at the Department for the Aging; $300,000 to settle a claim from a male police officer who alleged that his female supervisor had sexually harassed him; and a total of $316,500 in seven settlements for civil rights violations that included alleged racial bias and age discrimination.
During the Bloomberg administration, the highest amount paid to a plaintiff in a case alleging discrimination was $917,000, to settle bias allegations by female police detectives that they had been denied promotions because of their sex.
Other data available to New York civil rights violation lawyers shows that discrimination cases initiated under Giuliani made up one-third of all discrimination cases settled during Bloomberg’s first two terms. There remains five Giuliani era cases alleging discrimination in New York.
Discrimination complaints by city employees have gone up in number even as many workplaces have reduced civil rights violation complaints by emphasizing training and enforcing equal-opportunity policies. Those initiatives were prompted, in part, by changes to the employment discrimination laws in the early 1990s, which made it easier for workers to pursue claims of civil rights violations like gender discrimination, age discrimination, and other issues.
The backlog of civil rights violation cases involving discrimination still hovers around 300 and city lawyers anticipate more sizable payouts, including some related to a Justice Department lawsuit alleging bias in the entrance exam for the New York Fire Department.
Discrimination is illegal in New York and New York City laws are some of the most comprehensive civil rights laws in the U.S. New York City law protecting employees from discrimination in the workplace prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, creed, age, national origin, citizenship status, gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and partnership status.