Coronavirus and Discrimination

It has been reported (see, e.g., here and here) that Chinese and Asian American persons are experiencing hardships and discrimination relating to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Such discrimination – which can arise in several contexts, such as employment, housing, education, and places of public accommodation – may be actionable under federal, state, and/or New York City law.

For example, the New York City Human Rights Law provides, in part:

It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice:
(a) For an employer or an employee or agent thereof, because of the actual or perceived age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, caregiver status, sexual and reproductive health decisions, sexual orientation, uniformed service or alienage or citizenship status of any person:
(1) To represent that any employment or position is not available when in fact it is available;
(2) To refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment such person; or
(3) To discriminate against such person in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

N.Y.C. Admin. Code ยง 8-107 [emphasis added].

Such discrimination may exist if, for example, an employer treats an Asian employee who exhibits flu-like symptoms differently (worse) than a similarly-situated non-Asian with who exhibits the same symptoms.

If you believe you have been subjected to unlawful discrimination because of your race or national origin, contact us today to discuss your rights.

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